The best thing about stew? When making one, it’s essential to build flavor every step of the way—which is exactly what this Mexican-inspired version does. Onions are first softened with smoky-sweet spices, then layered with bell pepper, tomato, and chiles for a touch of heat. Corn and black beans add heartiness, while fluffy quinoa provides a perfect base for soaking up every last drop.
When dicing spicy chiles like poblano, avoid touching the inside, and immediately wash your knife, cutting board, and hands afterward.
⅔ cup quinoa
1 cup black beans
1 red bell pepper
⅛ ounce cilantro
1 yellow onion
1 poblano chile
⅛ teaspoon ancho chile powder
¼ teaspoon cumin
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon Mexican oregano
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons diced green chiles
½ cup corn
¼ cup queso fresco
6″ small pot with lid
10″ medium high-sided pan
In a small pot, combine quinoa, 1⅓ cups water, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until water is evaporated and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes (see Recipe Tip). Remove pot from heat and set aside, still covered, for 10 minutes. Then, fluff quinoa with a fork, and set aside with lid slightly ajar for steam to escape.
While quinoa cooks, rinse black beans. Rinse all produce. Halve bell pepper lengthwise, discarding seeds and stem, and cut into ½-inch dice. Cut tomatoes into ½-inch dice. Roughly chop cilantro leaves, discarding stems. Peel onion and cut into small dice. Halve poblano lengthwise. Using a knife tip, discard seeds and stem, then cut into ½-inch dice (see Recipe Tip).
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium high-sided pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add spice mix and onion and sauté, stirring, until onions are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Then, season with ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired.
Add bell pepper and poblano to pan with onions, still over medium-high heat. Sauté, stirring, until peppers begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Then, add diced green chiles and tomatoes and cook to warm through, about 2 minutes more. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired.
Add ½ cup water to pan with vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until flavors have melded, 8-10 minutes. (P.S. This is a great time to set the table, or pour yourself a glass of something refreshing.) Once stew has simmered, stir in corn and black beans to warm through, about 2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat, and taste and add more salt and black pepper as needed.
Halve avocado and discard pit. Using a spoon, carefully scoop out flesh, discarding skin. Cut into small dice. Divide quinoa between serving bowls and spoon over stew. Garnish with queso fresco, cilantro, and diced avocado, and dig in!
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