Spicy Vegetable Stew with Baked Tortilla Strips
Spicy Vegetable Stew with Baked Tortilla Strips

I'm all about spice this week, what with the kicked up beef and potato burritos of yesterday and this zingy veggie stew today, almost as if I can will it to be warmer by amping up the peppery heat in our food and hey, it seems to be working. Temps for today are predicted to be above freezing and we're actually supposed to hit 50º by the weekend!!! You're welcome!

Seriously guys, the pictures do not do justice to just how unbelievably tasty this stew is. All of us LOVED it and I've had a request for a repeat performance before one of my home judges leaves for his down under adventure. Even tried and true meat lovers will adore this. Part of that is due to the incredible combinations of flavors, what with the onion, red pepper, jalapeño, tomatoes, black beans and rice all melding together to produce a hearty, yet still somehow light concoction that is an explosion for the senses.

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The other part of what makes this a keeper are the addictively crispy baked tortilla chips that you lay on top, pick-up sticks style. Can you eat the stew without them? Sure. But why would you want to when they are so easy to make and so wonderfully crunchy and flavorful? In fact, whenever I make them I always make far more than the recipe calls for because I know that they have a funny way of disappearing as soon as they emerge from the oven.

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Nourishing, hot, easy to make and loaded with flavor and things that are good for you--what are you waiting for? I'm thinking that if we all collectively throw together a pot, we can definitely go a long way to melting all of this pesky snow!!

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Spicy Vegetable Stew with Baked Tortilla Strips

Makes 6 servings
Prep Time:  About 1 hour (but most of that is not active)


For the stew

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, minced (if you want less heat get rid of the seeds before mincing)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2-3 shakes cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (store bought or this homemade version)
  • Two 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • Two 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked rice

For the tortilla strips

  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Pinch or two of salt and black pepper

The Recipe

1.  For the stew:  Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until very hot. Add the onion, red pepper and jalapeño and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the veggies are softened and the onion is starting to look a bit golden. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add in the broth, tomatoes and beans and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes.

2.  While the stew is cooking put up a pot of rice unless you've already done this ahead of time.

3.  To make the tortilla strips:  Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut the tortillas into thin strips and place on a baking sheet. Toss with the oil, salt and pepper and then lay them out in a single layer. Bake for about 5 minutes, turn them over and then back for another 4-5 minutes, until crispy and golden. Remove from oven and set aside. By the way, you can easily double or triple this. Just use two pans and a bit more oil and spices.

4.  Once stew has cooked for 30 minutes, add the cooked rice and let simmer for another 15 minutes or so to allow stew to thicken. Ladle stew into bowls and top with tortillas strips. Serve immediately. 

5.  This can definitely be made a day or two, covered and chilled and reheated. The tortilla strips can be made several days and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Note:  Recipe adapted from Cravings by Chrissy Teigen. I subbed in a red pepper for the green, left out the cumin, doubled the amount of rice and made baked tortillas strips instead of fried.

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