Sometimes dinner is just something to eat

You can talk all you want about locally sourced ingredients, classic techniques and innovative taste combinations, but sometimes you just have to put dinner on the table. Bodies need fuel and there is likely an expectation that you are the one that will be providing it.

Recipes that are good for you and quick and easy to prepare are an essential part of any cook's repertoire. But sometimes that's not easy to find. Often if something is fast and delicious, it's not very good for you. And if it's delicious and good for you, it's usually not very fast.

But this recipe, Black Bean and Corn Stew, really fits the bill. It's delicious — in fact it's one of those that tastes much better than it reads. It has a wholesome richness that you don't expect from a recipe that basically just requires you dump the contents of a bunch of cans into a pot and stir.

It's fast, just 45 minutes to prepare and cook, and it's good for you: it serves four with just 294 calories per serving (without garnishes and accompaniments).

You can crank up this stew for company by adding some more elaborate toppings and sides, but keep it basic and it's still mighty good. You know, sometimes a meal is a celebration, a moment of soothing nostalgia, or a memory that will last you a lifetime. But usually, dinner is just something to eat, and there's nothing wrong with that.


Black Bean and Corn Stew

4 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 4½-ounce can chopped green chiles

2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

2 14½-ounce cans diced tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

1 10-ounce package frozen corn

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cumin; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.

To the pan, add the chiles, beans, tomatoes and their juice, 2 cups water and ¾ teaspoon of salt. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.

In a blender or food processor (or with an immersion blender), purée 2 cups of the stew. Return the purée to the pan and add the frozen corn; simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Serve hot and garnish with sour cream, shredded cheddar, diced red onion, toasted pumpkin seeds or chopped chives; serve with corn bread or toasted flour tortillas.

Original recipe from a long ago issue of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine.

Jill Blanchette works at night at The Day. Share comments and recipes with her at

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