Please Name This Recipe!!

I make this recipe (or an incarnation thereof) once every 2-3 weeks.  It’s yummy, and as always, gluten-free.  Currently, I have a crock o’ pinto beans simmering on a back burner of the stove top to accompany dinner tonight, and I’ll make some white rice, as well, to go with.

This dish is Mexican-inspired, but just saying “Mexican Crock-Pot Dinner” sounds really lame, so will someone please help me with a better title?  I should probably offer a prize for naming this recipe.  I don’t have one to offer.  Maybe you could suggest a prize, too.  🙂  Once named, I’ll add this to my permanent page of GFCF recipes.

A note on the meat:  As with most Crock-Pot dishes, a less expensive, fattier cut of meat works best for slow cooking.  For best flavor and extra nutrition, I like bone-in meat, but then, you’ll be fishing the bones out as you serve it.  I suggest chicken thighs or drumsticks (not chicken breasts), or just about any cut of pork, except sirloin.  If the bones bother you, stick with boneless pork country-style ribs (which are not ribs at all) or boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  I have also made this recipe with beef, but I think chicken or pork works best.

“Mexican Crock-Pot Dinner”
serves 8

  • 3 – 4½ lbs. chicken or pork (see note above)
  • 2 medium or 3 small onions, cut into eighths
  • I cook with Mexcian Grey Squash every week. Use like zucchini, but Mexican Grey has none of the bitterness that zucchini often has.

    3 medium or 4 small Mexican Grey Squash or zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into ¾” pieces

  • 8 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 – 28 oz can petite-diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 – 7 oz can diced green chile peppers
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp dried Mexican oregano (MUST be Mexican)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 – ¼ tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • Optional:  4 oz crumbled Mexican Cotija cheese

In a medium or large Crock-Pot or other slow cooker (mine is 6 quarts), combine all ingredients except meat.  Add the meat, gently tossing to coat meat with some of the spices and juices.  Set cooker to “low.”  Gently stir once per hour, if possible, until the mixture has cooked 6-8 hours, or until meat is tender and falling off of the bone.

If you care to go through the trouble, you can use a slotted spoon to remove bones before serving.  Or, just do what we do, and plunk the removable crock onto the dinner table next to the “bone dish.”

Serve over cooked white rice, sprinkled with Cotija cheese (or feta), if desired, with a side of pinto beans.

Other suggestions:

  • For a Cuban twist, add the zest and juice of one orange before cooking, and serve with rice and black beans.
  • If you have a very large Crock-Pot, add 1-2 lbs of soaked pinto or black beans to the bottom of the slow cooker.  Mix the veggies & spices in a separate bowl and gently spoon the mixture on top of the beans.  Top with the meat.  The moisture from the meat and veggies should provide plenty of water in which the beans can cook, but if you want to be on the safe side, add an extra 1-2 cups of water.
  • For added heat, try adding 1-4 minced canned chipotle peppers.


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on May 23, 2011, in Clean Eating, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Dairy-free, GF Recipes, GFCF, GFCF Recipes, gluten-free. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Spicy Chicken and Squash Stew?

  2. Very similar to this dish that we make in our family often… As soon as I read your recipe I instantly thought of it, but had to look it up for the name to spell it exactly. 🙂 There are many ways to “change” it up.
    (Found your blog through our mutual friend Daja, your blog was on her side bar and it caught my attention because I love finding new recipes) 🙂

  3. Oh and we just usually call it “Calavasas” I like how it sounds too 🙂

    • Leona ~ I’m so glad you came to visit. 🙂 Anyone who is a friend of Daja’s is a friend of mine; I love her so!!

      I like the sound of “calavasas”, too! Do you make yours really similar to mine? I totally made up the recipe here, but I guess it’s not surprising that there might be a “real” recipe out there, similar. I looked up sopa de calavasa/calabaza — it’s usually made with a pumpkin-like squash, and all the recipes I found are creamy. And they have corn. Sometimes, I add hominy to the soup/stew/Crock-Pot dish, especially if I’m not going to serve it with rice. For some reason, I don’t like the mixture of hominy and rice. 🙂

  4. This sounds so delicious… I think that I will have to try it out sometime this week. I really should use my crock pot so much more than I do. BUT, there is no way on earth that I will be able to get my hands on Mexican oregano. Will it be ruined if I just use regular oregano??

    • Yeah, you might have a hard time finding Mexican oregano in Canada. 🙂 I don’t think it would be ruined; it’s just a completely different flavor. Mediterranean (“normal”) oregano and Mexican oregano aren’t even related! I find that Mexican oregano gives a true Mexican flavor to dishes that no other spice or herb can reproduce.

      There is an eBay seller who has some very reasonably priced, with reasonable shipping….

      • Since the two oreganos are not related at all, is there a substitute spice that might taste more like Mexican oregano? I clicked on the eBay link, and I had to laugh… It kind of looks like they are selling small bags of suspicious “herbs,” and I wondered if it would cause a bit of a kerfluffle at the border, haha.

        • Hahaha! I never thought about that. “Herbs.” Ack!

          I’m certain that regular oregano wouldn’t spoil it or anything. I think you’d want to use less, as Mediterranean oregano is stronger. One site I saw said that marjoram might be a workable substitute.

          I found this quite an interesting read:

          • I did some of my own searching for substitute spices, and I actually came across that same link. I did end up ordering that Mexican Oregano off eBay. It was only something like $4.39 US with shipping, which is around what I pay for a jar of spice here, so it was worth it. I will wait till it comes before I attempt the recipe.

          • My Mexican oregano finally came!! I ordered it a couple of months ago and it wasn’t coming and still didn’t come and I wondered where it was, and then we had a postal strike and I figured it had gotten stuck in the system, and then I forgot about it. Then, we went on holidays and when we got to my parents’ house, there it was… I guess I had forgotten to change my address on my eBay account (can you tell I don’t use eBay much?), and it had been sent there. Now I can try this super yummy sounding recipe just as soon as my zucchinis get big enough in a few weeks.

  5. I would call it Tia’s Stew (Auntie’s Stew)…..Recipes like these are generally from my aunt on my father’s side…..

  6. Yum! Even the veggies. 🙂

  7. I’d call it Sopa Loca. (Crazy soup)


    Fun to say, too. 🙂

  8. I FINALLY made this (well, minus the hot chilis… my parents were over and they don’t do hot) using zucchinis from my own garden. It was really good! I LOVE the flavour of the Mexican oregano.

  9. OK… I WAS right, it was a chicken recipe, haha… This is the one I made. 🙂

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