Friday, June 21, 2013

Calabaza and Pork Stew

   This is a recipe that takes me back to my youth.  I am pretty sure anyone of a Latino persuasion has eaten some variety of this dish.  Of course, we know as Calabaza con Puerco.  It also works with chicken in which case, it is known as Calabaza con Pollo.  What exactly is a calabaza?  The word itself is just the Spanish term for gourd or squash.  However, I am referencing one particular type of squash.  It is also known as Mexican, calabacita or tatuma squash. You can usually find it hanging around with the zucchini and yellow squash.  It is mainly green and white flesh and has a very mild flavor not unlike the two aforementioned vegetables.  In fact, in a pinch  or if you can't seem to find the calabaza you can use zucchini. 

   The great thing about this dish is that it is fairly easy to make, very hearty, and will give you great bang for your buck.  Using some simple ingredients you can make this delicious recipe.  For this dish you will need:

1lb pork (which cut is up to you)
1 onion diced
1-2 cloves garlic minced
1 can beans (I prefer black, but any will do)
1 can tomatoes
1 can corn or about 1-2 cups frozen corn
2-3 good sized squash
1 bell pepper diced
1/2 bag baby or matchstick carrots
2-3 cups of cooked rice (white or Mexican)

   The first step to the perparation is to dice your pork.  You want to cut it into bite size pieces, big enough to coexist on a spoon with other ingredients.  One chef I worked under always told me the key to a successful dish is to have everything fit on a spoon.  The other advantage of cutting your pork to this size is that it will cook quickly and even if it is a touch cut of pork it will have time to braise and become tender.

   The next step is to cut your vegetables.  Dice your onion and bell pepper into small pieces.  The calabaza can usually just be quartered then cut into pieces.

If you are using baby carrots, this would be the time to cut them into smaller pieces.  If you are using matchstick carrots, you don't really have to do anything to them.

   The next step is to start cooking.  First start to cook your onions and garlic in a pan large enough to hold everything.

After the onions and garlic become translucent, add your pork and allow it brown.

While the meat is browning take advantage and open your cans and or packages.

As you can tell, we had to use black eyed peas.
After the meat is mostly brown add your vegetables and allow them to start cooking.  Next add your tomatoes, corn and beans.  Drain your beans as you will get plenty of liquid from the tomatoes and other vegetables.

 Stir it around and season with salt and pepper.  If you want you can add dried oregano.  Next slap on the lid and allow it to simmer for about 20 minutes.

 Now would be the perfect time to cook your rice if you have not done so already.  It works out perfectly because the stew will be done by the time the rice is also fully cooked.

   Once everything is done, serve it in a bowl having the rice topped with the stew.  Some great options for this are to add a little queso fresco or avocado to it.  Picante sauce is also a great condiment for this dish.

Que Disfruten!


  1. You forgot one of the important ingredients in mexican/hispanic cuisine. Cumin.. you can't make this lovely dish without cumin.....

  2. I disagree. I think cumin is an over used spice in Latino cooking, especially here in the US. I remember growing up and my mom rarely used cumin. If it is something you like then by all means, add some cumin.