Fresh Tomato, Pinto Bean, and Ancho Chile Stew

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Slow Cook Modern

Slow Cook Modern

By Liana Krissoff

Published 2017

  • About

This is a simplified version of Deborah Madison’s famous Zuni Stew, a big pot of pinto beans and vegetables, with handfuls of shredded cheese stirred in just before serving. Her stew also includes chunks of zucchini or yellow squash, but I prefer to leave those out so the flavors are more pure and clear. If you’d like, though, feel free to sauté some squash and fold it into the stew in the evening.


  • 1 pound (455 g) dried pinto beans
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 2 cups (290 g) fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon dried epazote (see Note)
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 dried ancho chiles, seeded
  • Salt
  • ½ cup (20 g) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup (115 g) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, or more, if you’d like



    Rinse the beans in a sieve under running water, then dump them into the slow cooker. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and puree them in a blender (or in a deep container using an immersion blender), then pass them through a food mill set over the cooker, discarding the seeds and bits of peel (or peel the tomatoes—a serrated peeler works well—and puree them, but don’t bother with the food mill). Add the corn, epazote, chile powder, coriander, cumin, several grindings of black pepper, and 5 cups (1.2 L) water. With kitchen shears, snip the ancho chiles into small pieces into the cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.


    Season with salt to taste (about 2 teaspoons) and more pepper, if needed. Stir in the cilantro and cheese and serve.