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Smoky Potato, Corn and White Bean Stew

In the first chilly week of fall, once we'd gotten minestrone out of the way, the idea for a light but satisfying, smoky stew with corn and potatoes came along and wouldn't leave me alone until I cooked it. Winter is the perfect time to reach into the freezer for some starchy vegetables, which double as nutrition and comfort. Cornbread and a simple green salad would make the perfect accompaniments.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 16 ounces frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 15.5 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • A few good grinds black pepper


  • In a large pot (I used a 5 1/2 quart Dutch oven), warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are starting to soften and there's a touch of browning on the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  • Add the cumin, chile powder, and smoked paprika and cook, stirring constantly, one minute more.
  • Stir in the vegetable broth, green chiles and oregano. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and add potatoes. Cook, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Uncover the pot. Add the corn, peas and beans and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the baby spinach and cook until wilted, a few minutes more.
  • Off the heat, stir in the cilantro, lime juice and pepper.
  • Ladle into bowls and serve garnished with sour cream if you like.
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