Bush Family Zuni Stew

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  • 1 1/2 cups pinto beans (soaked overnight and drained)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons corn or vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red chile powder (or more if you'd like)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 dried ancho chile peppers, deveined, seeded and cut into narrow strips
  • 1 pound yellow or zucchini squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 ears corn (cut the kernels off)
  • 8 ounces fresh green beans. cut into about 1-inch pieces
  • 4 ounces Monterey jack or Muenster cheese, grated
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped - reserve a few whole leaves for garnish


  1. Place beans, bay leaf and oregano in a saucepan; cover with plenty of water and cook over medium heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  2. Remove from heat when beans are soft, but not mushy. Add salt. Drain beans, but save the broth.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet; sauté onions over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Lower the heat, then add garlic, spices, and stir.
  5. Add a little bean broth so the chile powder doesn't scorch. Cook until onions begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in chiles and remaining vegetables, along with the cooked beans and enough of the broth to make a moist, thick stew.
  8. Cook at a high simmer until vegetables are done, about 20 minutes.
  9. Stir in cheese and chopped cilantro, and garnish with whole leaves of cilantro.
  10. Serve with cornbread or tortillas.