Even though I grew up in New Mexico, I did not know about Calabacitas until I had it recently with breakfast. Turns out it is a traditional New Mexico side dish. It means squash in Spanish and there are tons of ways to make it but zucchini and/or summer squash are the stars. This version includes cheese which you could leave out to make it a bit more low-calorie. I love the cheese though.
The key here, is to cook the squash in butter so that it caramelizes a bit. Hello flavor. There is no better way to do that than in a large cast iron skillet. Preferably an old one. It needs to be big enough to have the squash pretty much in one layer.
This recipe also includes Flo’s Green Chili Salsa. I have a jar in my fridge most of the time. I add it to eggs, soups, over meats and burritos. It’s sort of like New Mexico ketchup. So head on over to the recipe here and give it a try. Now, if you really have to, you can make this recipe using canned green chilis and fire roasted canned tomatoes or Rotel. It won’t be nearly as good though.
Here is what you will need:
You can use summer squash, zucchini or a combination of the two. For the New Mexico twist, use some Flo’s Green Chili Salsa. Cut up your squash and dice the onions. I used about a cup of frozen corn and good ole Velveeta cheese.
In a large skillet, preferably cast iron, heat equal parts butter and olive oil. Don’t leave out the butter, it really gives this dish richness. Get it sizzling. Add the onion. Cook until they are translucent.
Now add the squash and cook it on medium high heat until it starts to brown a bit. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Now add the corn and stir it around a bit. Let the corn warm through. Add the salsa and the chicken bouillon. Stir to pick up any of those lovely brown bits. You might have to add a bit of water at this stage.
Finally add the cheese and cover. Turn down the heat and let the cheese melt and the vegetables cook a bit more. Once the cheese is all melted add just a pinch of sugar. Stir one last time to mix and then serve nice and hot. And yes this is yet another dish that is better the next day so it’s a great make ahead side.
New Mexico Calabacitas
This traditional Mexican side dish consists of squash, corn, tomatoes and in this case New Mexican Green Chili. A perfect side for any meal.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 to 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 small onion diced
- 2 medium zucchini or summer squash cut up
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup Flo's New Mexican Green Chili Salsa
- 1/4 tsp Chicken "Better than Bouillon" paste
- 2 to 4 oz velveeta cheese broken into small pieces
- 1/4 tsp sugar
Heat olive oil and butter over medium to medium high heat until sizzling. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add squash, stirring occasionally. Cook until squash begins to just turn brown. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add corn and salsa stirring to combine. If mixture is really dry add 1 or two tablespoons of water. Add bouillon and cook for 5 or 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower heat and add cheese. Cover and cook on low until cheese has melted. Add the sugar and stir one last time. Serve hot.