Photo by: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Melanie J. Clarke and Jan Gautro

Calabaza and Poblano Stew

Redolent with honey, cinnamon, and aniseed, this stew highlights mild but exotic flavors typically associated with European cuisine, but which are also commonly used in Mexico. Calabaza is a pumpkinlike winter squash. Butternut squash is a good substitute. If you prefer a smoother consistency, use a potato masher to break up the squash.

  • Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups stew, about 2 teaspoons crema mexicana, and 1 tablespoon pumpkinseeds)


  • 5 none poblano chiles (about 1 pound)
  • 1 teaspoon aniseed
  • 1 none (3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 3 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 none garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 cup (2-inch) pieces peeled calabaza squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons Crema Mexicana
  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkinseed kernels


Preheat broiler.

Cut poblano chiles in half; discard seeds and membranes. Place the chile halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 5 minutes or until blackened. Place in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel chiles; discard skins. Chop chiles.

Place aniseed and cinnamon in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add cinnamon mixture to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add chopped chiles, squash, broth, water, honey, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until squash is tender.

Drizzle each serving with Crema Mexicana; sprinkle with pumpkinseeds.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 266none
  • Calories from fat: 35%
  • Fat: 10.4g
  • Saturated fat: 2.6g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.7g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 3.4g
  • Protein: 9g
  • Carbohydrate: 40.7g
  • Fiber: 8.4g
  • Cholesterol: 8mg
  • Iron: 4mg
  • Sodium: 669mg
  • Calcium: 118mg

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Calabaza and Poblano Stew Recipe