The Bush Family’s Zuni Stew
1 1/4 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, cut in 1/4-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons red chile powder, or more, to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (drain if canned)
2 ancho chiles, deveined and seeded and cut in narrow strips
1 pound mixed summer squash, cut in 1-inch pieces
4 ears corn, kernels cut from cob (about 2 cups kernels)
8 ounces fresh green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
4 ounces jack or Muenster cheese, grated
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (reserve some whole leaves for garnish)
Place beans, bay leaf, and oregano in a saucepan, cover with plenty of water, and cook over medium heat for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. Remove from heat when beans are soft but not mushy. Add salt. Drain beans, saving broth.
Heat oil in large skillet and sauté onions over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Lower heat, add garlic and spices, and stir. Add a little bean broth so chile powder doesn’t scorch. Cook until onions begin to soften, about 4 minutes, then add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in chiles and remaining vegetables, along with cooked beans and enough broth to make a moist stew. Cook at a high simmer until vegetables are done, about 20 minutes.
Stir in cheese and chopped cilantro, and garnish with whole leaves of cilantro. Serve with cornbread or tortillas. Serves 6.