Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Autumn Vegetable Stew Celebrates the Season

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Autumn Vegetable Stew Celebrates the Season

Article excerpt

THERE IS an art to cooking this time of the year. I want to capture all the glorious colors - the reds and golds - of the market, yet I'm making meals for two. Corn, peppers and squash all beckon, and inevitably I succumb. Then I worry about how we can possibly finish all this food.

Each time my husband opens the refrigerator door and yellow peppers tumble out, or he can't find the eggs because they were evicted from their special section in favor of ears of corn, I get his patented bemused look. (Translation: Do we really need all this food?)

"Well, who could resist?," I sputter. "Do you know how much yellow peppers cost in January?"

But I know the only real answer is to create a marvelous dish, preferably one that frees up the egg rack. Autumn vegetable stew does just that. Not only does it call for fresh corn, but it's chock-full of sweet red and yellow peppers, zucchini, onion and tomatoes. The recipe is flexible and can be adapted to use more of one favorite vegetable, although the stew is prettier if it isn't monochromatic.

Unlike a meat version, this vegetable stew should not be cooked for a long period. The vegetables should retain a slight crispness. The flavor will not improve if the dish is refrigerated overnight and reheated. Autumn vegetable stew is an instant celebration of the season. AUTUMN VEGETABLE STEW

1 tablespoon olive oil

Ancho chile powder (available at specialty stores and spice stores)

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon crushed dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 large zucchini, trimmed and diced

1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

1 medium yellow pepper, cored, seeded and diced

1 cup cooked black beans (rinsed if canned)

1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes (about 2 medium)

Kernels from 1 ear fresh corn (see note)

1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salt

1 tablespoon minced cilantro

Heat oil in Dutch oven or large skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon chile powder, onion, garlic, bay leaf, oregano and cumin. …

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