Last week, Serious Eats' own Jen Maiser mentioned the Mexican dish calabacitas in her Cooking with a Friend column. I'd never heard of calabacitas before then, even though it's plastered all over the internet, on every website from All Recipes to this somewhat intense film discussion from 2004. (And boy, were those guys right about the "supernatural heaviosity" of Kiyoshi Kurosawa, or what? I mean, seriously.)
Anyway, Jen? Thank you. Because calabacitas is seriously good, outrageously healthy, and a fantastic way to use up a pile of produce. Plus, it tastes even better in burrito form.
This particular version is a mishmash of different preparations. I kept the onion, garlic, zucchini, and summer squash often used in the dish, but added corn and black beans for bulk. A poblano pepper supplied the heat, though I suppose a jalapeno or canned green chiles would have done the job just as well. There is no tomato, though many recipes include it for color and variety.
After all was said and done, I piled the mixture in a whole-wheat tortilla, added a little cheese, and dug in. Dang, it was good--even better for lunch the next day, if I do say so myself. Add a little brown rice, plus a side of mashed pinto beans, and you have a near-vegan meal that will knock the socks off even the most ardent carnivore. At the very least, they'll be impressed by its supernatural heaviosity.
- Yield:serves 4
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large or 2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
- 1 large or 2 small yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
- 1 poblano pepper, chopped
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 14.5-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 whole wheat burrito wraps
- Grated cheddar or cotija cheese
Heat oil over medium-high and cook onions for 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add zucchini and squash and cook another 4 minutes. Add poblano pepper and cook 8 to 10 more minutes. Add corn and cook until warmed, 2 minutes. Add black beans and cook until heated through and squash is tender enough for your taste, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Scoop calabacitas into burrito wrap, top with grated cheddar or cotija, and serve.