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Calabacitas Con Queso (Zucchini with Cheese)

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Southwester Stews


  • 1 1/2 lb Zucchini, unpeeled; cut in 1/4" cubes
  • 1 c Water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tb Vegetable oil
  • 1 lg Garlic clove
  • 1 c Finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 lb Chopped tomato
  • 2 c Corn kernels
  • 2 Poblano peppers; peeled and chopped
  • 5 oz Evaporated milk
  • 1/2 lb Shredded monterey jack cheese


Substitutions: 1/3 cup heavy cream for 5 ounces of canned evaporated milk; cheddar or colby for jack. Approximations: 5 to 6 zucchini; 1 medium onion; 1 large or 2 small tomatoes; 10-ounce bag of corn, or 16-ounce can. It is not necessary to be so precise. It is a home cooking, seasonal cooking.
Place diced zucchini in medium saucepan with water, season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, over medium heat until slightly tender but still crunchy, about 2 minutes. Set aside without draining.
Heat oil in large skillet over high heat until hot but not quite smoking. Reduce heat slightly; add garlic and onion and cook, stirring, until onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato and cook until liquid partly is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in corn and poblanos and simmer 5 minutes.
Add undrained zucchinia and evaporated milk to corn-chili mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, stir in diced or shredded cheese and cook until the cheese melts. Serve hot (from 4 to 6 people). Posted to MC-Recipe Digest V1 #168
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 1996 16:41:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: PatH <> NOTES : 'Calabaza' is Spanish for squash. Is 'calabacitas" Spanish for small squash? No. Rather, it is an affectionate name for a dish made from zucchini, corn and tomatoes -- three vegetables now in season. Say's Orlando Ramirez (Riv PE culture reporter): "No two are alike." Arizona cooks add lots of cheese and milk. Others flavor it with cinnamon and mint. Other's add epazote, a Mexican herb like oregano, that is hard to find stateside. "Agreement: it's a vegetable stew. Team it with warmed tortillas and ice tea for a complete meal."