Casa M Calabacitas
I honestly can't believe I'd never had this before I met Manny. In fact, this was the first thing I ate that Manny's mom cooked. I loved it so much, I asked for the recipe (several times) and am super excited to share it here so everyone can enjoy it. There are many different approaches to recipes for calabacitas, of course, but in our opinion this one hits that perfect balance between accessible side dish and full-on comfort food. Eternal thanks to doña Victoria Hernandez for sharing this recipe and, more importantly, Manny with me and for such a great introduction to the family many years ago.
Key to making sure everything cooks at the same rate is getting the pieces of zucchini and squash cut up to about the same size. When you quarter the zucchini, most of the time they're uniform shape so just cut the quarters about the same thickness. The summer squash is a little more challenging since it's crook-neck and fat bottom are not usually anywhere close to a uniform size or shape. Use your best knife skills to try to get the final bite-size pieces about the same size as the zucchini. If you are successful at this, you'll end up with a finished dish that is all uniformly cooked. If not, you might have some soft squash and some crunchy squash. If you want more cheese, feel free to add a second bag of Mexican 4-cheese blend. We love our garlic here at Casa M, so feel free to pair the garlic back if you're not into that bold a flavor. We do use canned corn and some of the liquid in the recipe (it adds liquid that has starch in it already that acts a little as a thickener for the sauce once it develops), but you can also use frozen or fresh corn and a little chicken stock. Finally, if you have the chance to make this dish during the end of Summer when Hatch green chiles are in season, we can't recommend that highly enough! This dish is outstanding with the poblanos and jalapeños all year long, but when you can get your hands on some roasted Hatch green chiles, it just takes this dish up to another level.
As always, from our table to yours... #SpiceConfidently #EssenceOfFlavor #ChemistryInTheKitchen #CasaMSpice
— Mike Hernandez
For the Calabacitas:
- 3 yellow summer squash, quartered, cut into bite-size pieces
- 3 zucchini, quartered, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 2 poblano chiles, seeded, diced
- 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans sweet corn, liquid drained, but reserved
- 2 cups shredded Mexican 4-cheese blend
- 1 stick butter
- 1 package cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon chicken stock
- 1 Tablespoon Casa M Spice Co® Chain Reaction®
- 1 Tablespoon Casa M Spice Co® Uncontrolled Cattle Drive®
There are many different recipes for calabacitas, of course, in our opinion this one hits that perfect balance between accessible side dish and full-on comfort food.- Mike Hernandez
LET’S GET COOKING
In a large sautee pan over medium-high heat, add the butter and melt it before adding the onion, garlic, poblanos, and jalapeños (if using). Sautee until the onions are soft and start to get translucent.
Add the Chain Reaction®, Cattle Drive®, cream cheese, and Better Than Bouillon chicken stock and stir into the sauteeing vegetables until the cream cheese melts.
Add the corn, squash, and zucchini as well as a little of the reserved liquid from the corn then reduce the heat to medium, cover, and let the squash and zucchini steam and release liquid for about 10 minutes, stirring every couple minutes to keep the cream cheese from sticking on the bottom and the squash and zucchini coated with the sauce that will develop. Add more of the reserved corn liquid as needed, but slowly as the squash and zucchini will give up a decent amount of liquid once they start to steam.
Once the squash and zucchini are tender, but still have some crunch, turn off the heat, add the cheese, and cover to let it start to melt. Stir in the cheese and taste to adjust seasonings. Add Chain Reaction® or Cattle Drive® to taste, then serve while hot.