Eat for Eight Bucks: Quick Squash and Hominy Stew

[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

Shopping List

1/4 pound bacon: $2.00
1 onion: $0.50
1 1/2 cups raw hominy: $1.25
1 cup cooked beans: $1.00
1 pound summer squash: $2.00
2 ounces queso fresco (pro-rated): $1.25

Pantry items: Olive oil, pepper, salt.

Total cost (for 4 portions): $8.00

When my husband gets excited about an almost-vegetarian dinner, you may safely assume two things about the recipe: it involves a small but crucially tasty amount of bacon, and it is going straight into my file of keepers. I had been curious about hominy since I noticed it in the bulk section of my grocery store, so I adapted a side dish recipe from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook to make a hearty one-pot supper.

This combination of summer squash, corn, and beans is nutritious and filling. You can add a squeeze of lemon and some chopped fresh herbs if you happen to have them, but they aren't strictly necessary--bacon and cheese bring plenty of flavor to the stew. Although I boiled the hominy and beans myself, canned would work very well here and would make this a 30-minute meal. Use one 15-ounce can of each for a slightly different but still delicious ratio of hominy to beans; depending on where you shop, you might actually end up paying less for canned hominy and beans than I paid for dried.

Quick Squash and Hominy Stew

About the author: Robin Bellinger is a freelance editor and shameless cookie addict. She lives in San Francisco and blogs about what she feeds her husband and her daughter at home*economics.

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Eat for Eight Bucks: Quick Squash and Hominy Stew

About This Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound good, thick bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups cooked or canned hominy, drained
  • 1 cup hominy- and/or bean-cooking liquid, or water
  • 1 cup cooked beans, preferably pinto, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound zucchini or other summer squash, cut into bite-size pieces 1/4 inch thick
  • Salt
  • Lemon (optional)
  • 2 to 3 ounces crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
  • Chopped parsley or cilantro (optional)

Procedures

  1. 1

    Cook the bacon in a large saucepan or small Dutch oven over medium heat until firm and a bit crisp, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Pour the fat from the pot into a small bowl.

  2. 2

    Put 2 tablespoons of bacon fat back into the pot along with the olive oil. Turn the heat to medium, add the onion, and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the hominy and saute for abut 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cup of liquid (hominy- or bean-cooking liquid or water) and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn the heat to medium low, and simmer for 5 minutes.

  3. 3

    Add the squash and beans to the pot, replace the cover, and simmer until the squash is almost completely cooked, about 5-7 minutes (taste a piece of squash to be sure). Uncover the pot and simmer until the liquid in the pot thickens a bit and the squash is completely cooked, a few minutes more.

  4. 4

    Taste for salt and pepper. If you have a lemon, you might add a squeeze of lemon juice, but the dish is delicious without it. Garnish each bowl of stew with bacon and crumbled cheese. Chopped parsley or cilantro would make nice garnishes, too, but I did not use them.

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