Let me begin by saying that my house has never smelled this good. At least never when I was in the kitchen. Although the dishes are clean and the stew is portioned and in the fridge, the aroma of homemade beef stew lingers in the air. The warmth of the broth punctuated by the high notes of the shallots and onions. Wait. What was I talking about? Oh! Stew! My dietitian says, “food doesn’t have to taste bad to be healthy.” Boy, you better believe it!
As you may have read, I’m on a hybrid meal plan that involves conventional foods plus meal replacements. Each day, I have one small meal, a snack, and 3-4 meal replacements. Since starting this plan, I’ve been working through my proteins. I’ve eaten chicken, salmon, tofu, and pork. Now, it’s time for beef!
I found a recipe for beef stew in a Mayo Clinic diabetes book that I picked up for $8 at Tuesday Morning. At 271 calories, it counts as 1 starch, 4 vegetable, and 1 meat exchange. A little top-heavy on the veggies, it still fits in nicely with my meal plan. The recipe on the Mayo Clinic website for beef stew seems similar to the one in the book, although its yield, exchanges, ingredients, and nutrition information vary. Below, I’ll share the recipe I followed, list the changes I made, and show the step-by-step photos for those who find the visual guidance helpful.
3 tbsp. whole-wheat flour
1 lb. boneless lean beef stew meat, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (or 3 fresh sprigs)
1 bay leaf
3 c. beef or vegetable stock, reduced in sodium or no salt added
1/2 c. red wine (optional)
6 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
6 medium red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
18 small boiling onions, halved (or 1 cup chopped onion)
3 large portobello mushrooms, brushed clean and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 c. celery, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 c. parsley, chopped
1. Place flour onto plate. Dredge meat in flour. In a large saucepan, heat the oil, add the beef, and cook until browned on all sides — about 5 minutes. Remove beef from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Add shallots to the pan and saute until soft and golden. Add salt, half of the pepper, the thyme, and bay leaf. Saute for one minute. Return beef to the pan and add the stock and wine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until meat is tender — about 40 minutes.
3. Add the carrots, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and celery. Cover and simmer gently until vegetables are tender — about 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley and the remaining pepper.
4. Remove the bay leaf and serve.
Protein 17 g
Carbohydrate 35 g
Total fat 7g
Monounsaturated fat 4g
Cholesterol 32 mg
Sodium 388 mg
Exchange list servings:
Nonstarchy vegetables 4
Meat and meat substitutes 1
As I was scanning my pantry before shopping for the items, I already had potatoes, celery, carrots, and an onion on hand. I elected not to add the wine, although I did use the optional salt. I chose low sodium beef broth instead of vegetable stock. In addition to the ingredients listed, I also threw in about 1/4 cup of diced tomatoes that were left over from the tuna salad pita, and 3/4 cup of cooked, unseasoned quinoa leftover from the pork dish. Stew is about cleaning out the pantry, right?
If I learned anything from the many hours of TV Food Network I’ve watched, it’s mise en place. Always arrange and prepare your ingredients before you start cooking. In my case, I had all of my vegetables washed and chopped before the beef ever came out of its tray. In this case, I would advise you not do that. Instead, save the chopping of the carrots, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and celery for the time that the beef is simmering. Do, however, slice your shallots and dredge your beef before you heat the oil.
Once the stew cooled slightly, I portioned it into sealable containers for easy refrigeration, freezing, and transport. I bought a case of these plastic tubs at Sam’s Club a long time ago, and I recently unearthed them when looking for paper towels in my storage room. While plastic bowls have recently gotten a bad reputation for microwave use, they’re awesome for food storage and transport.