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Last summer (2003), my husband and I saw Rick Bayless give a cooking demonstration at the Lincoln Park Farmer’s Market. He made a very similar dish. My husband commented that he remembered growing up eating this dish. I’ve tried making other Mexican dishes and just can’t compete with my husband’s relatives. But he says he can eat my version of this dish a couple times a week—he says it’s better than he remembered!
Heat oil in a large skillet or nonstick skillet; brown and break up the ground turkey. Remove turkey to paper towel lined plate. Sauté onion until soft. Add garlic and zucchini and cook for a couple minutes. Add the tomatoes, beans, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper, as well as the ground turkey. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is softened and flavors are blended. Add the frozen corn and continue simmering until corn is thawed and heated. Serve with warm corn tortillas.
There are many variations to this dish and I almost never make it the same way twice. I have used turkey Italian sausage (casings removed), but it’s also great with leftover cooked chicken (diced), or sauté a chicken breast (cut into bite-sized pieces). My husband and I prefer ground turkey to ground beef, but ground beef would certainly work. I sometimes make the dish vegetarian and add a chopped bell pepper, sliced button mushrooms, and one potato (cut into ½-inch pieces to cook fast). And during the peak summer months, I take advantage of farmer’s market ingredients—the dish is terrific with diced, fresh tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and peppers. I sometimes add a cup of chicken broth if I want gravy (thicken with cornstarch) and then serve over cooked rice. I have also used homemade leftover salsa instead of canned diced tomatoes (adjusting the other ingredients and spices—onions, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, jalapeno, etc.—since those are core ingredients in the salsa).
And, of course, an important variation in any Mexican dish is heat. If I happen to have a jalapeno, I remove the seeds and part of the membrane and then finely dice and sauté with the onions. If I don’t have a jalapeno on hand, I will add some crushed pepper flakes and/or a few drops of hot sauce.
This recipe is great for using up any leftovers in your refrigerator and tastes great with whatever you have on hand. Let your imagination run wild. This is definitely one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day—if you’re lucky to have any leftovers!
For a low-sodium stew, make sure you choose unsalted canned tomatoes and beans.
This recipe was provided by Nicki Puente from Chicago.