What do we do when we prepare a healthy stew recipe?
We mix things. Chop and boil, cook and steam…we do a lot of different tasks and processes in order to prepare a healthy stew recipe.
The preparation of a meal is actually the process of mixing various tastes and nutrients in order to get meals that will satisfy our daily needs for flavor, energy and high-quality nutrients.
And when it comes to food mixing, nothing compares with stews and goulash soup. There are many variations of both, but one thing they all have in common is that there are no limits in what you can put in, as long as it makes sense, and it will taste great. It takes a bit of practice to get to know how all those different ingredients behave and affect each other and the overall taste of the healthy stew recipe.
Most stew recipes combine meat with vegetables. The meat, of course, can be substituted with fish (fish stew), or perhaps beans to achieve a vegetarian or even vegan dish. By choosing the right ingredients we can lead the taste in one direction or another.
Click here to download printable recipe.
Ingredients for a healthy stew recipe
For this one you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 18 oz of grass-fed beef
- 2 medium-sized carrots
- 7 oz of oyster mushroom
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 large tomatoes
- 2 medium-sized potatoes
- 2 medium-sized red peppers
- 2 tablespoons of ground sweet paprika
- 5 tablespoons of grass-fed butter
- Black pepper, sea salt (or sodium/potassium salt), parsley, rosemary
- 2 tablespoon of plain yogurt
Why is grass-fed beef better than “standard” beef?
The beef that is most prevalent in our supermarkets comes from farms where cows are mainly grain-fed. But why does it matter what cows are fed with? Meat coming from grain-fed cows, which also live in confined spaces and fed with antibiotics and growth-hormones (in order to rapidly increase their weight), is much different than the meat coming from the grass-fed cows. This is especially true for those cows actually grazing instead of just being fed with grass, and still living in a confined space.
Grass-fed beef contains fewer calories due to the lower overall fat content. And within this smaller amount of fat, the fatty acids profile is much better in grass-fed beef. It contains 5 times more omega-3 acids than grain fed beef. Omega-3 acids found in beef are alpha-linolenic acids (ALA) which are not found in fish and are essential omega-3 acids.
Beef is an excellent source of high-quality proteins, creatine, carnosine, vitamins B12, B3, B6, and grass-fed beef contains more vitamins B6 and vitamin E than grain-fed.
To sum up, grass-fed beef provides high-quality nutrients with lower calorie intake; a great protein source for healthy stew recipe.
Vegetables are the best source of various vitamins and minerals, especially if eaten raw. But cooked vegetables also add a lot of nutrients to this healthy stew recipe and there are even nutrients which improve with cooking. Lycopene is one such phytochemical which increases with cooking, which is commonly found in tomatoes.
Carrots are the best source of vitamin A. One medium-sized carrot contains 25 calories, almost all from 6 grams of complex carbohydrates, and 2 grams of fiber.
Oyster mushrooms are as available as the common champignons, but are much more tasteful and also are excellent sources of fiber, antioxidants, protein, and a very small amount of fats. A cup of 90 grams of oyster mushrooms contains niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, copper, thiamine, folate, iron, manganese, vitamin B6. There is also a small amount of zinc, selenium and magnesium.
Onions play an essential role in every stew. Their rich taste gives just enough pleasant aroma to every dish. But beside the aroma, onions add phytochemicals to our meal. Onions contain folic acid, vitamin C and dietary fiber. There is also a small amount of iron and calcium. One of the most important phytochemicals in onion is quercetin which is an antioxidant that delays cell and tissue damage.
Garlic is a hero when it comes to health benefits. It is packed with manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorous, iron and vitamin B1. Garlic is often cited as being nature’s strongest antibiotic. This is due to the fact that it is excellent in fighting cold and flu.
A few more vegetables
Adding tomatoes to the diet is always a good idea for a healthy stew recipe because it is a major source of lycopene, the antioxidant linked to the reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. As mentioned earlier, lycopene is one of the few nutrients which actually increases with cooking. Tomatoes are rich in water, and as such, they are low in calories. They are also excellent sources of potassium, but be careful, if you prefer to salt your tomato, do not use plain sodium salt. Sodium will prevent the tomato’s potassium from reaching your cells, therefore either eat a tomato without the salt or use sodium-potassium combined salt. Besides potassium, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, folate, and vitamin K1, beta-carotene, and chlorogenic acid.
Tomatoes also add a depth of flavor and richness to hearty dishes, particularly stews.
Potatoes…we eat potatoes in so many different ways and with such a huge variety of meals. Originating from the Americas, they have spread all over the world. The potato which we consume is actually an underground energy store for the plant. It contains mostly carbs (as starch) and water, which is what new plants need. They are a good source of fiber and contain some protein. Regarding vitamins and minerals, they contain potassium, vitamins C, folate and vitamin B6.
Red peppers and paprika are actually the same things, only paprika is red bell peppers in the form of a powder, and it is usually a sweeter type of pepper.
Bell peppers are a very good choice as a vitamin and mineral source for your healthy stew recipe. This is especially true for vitamin C since one medium-sized red bell pepper contains 169% of the recommended amount of vitamin C. Besides this, they contain vitamin B6, potassium, folate, vitamin E, vitamin K1, vitamin A, as well as phytonutrients like capsanthin, violaxanthin, lutein, quercetin, and luteolin.
As we mentioned before…onions play a major role in the taste of a healthy stew recipe, but we don’t want the “tears-in-the-eyes”, spicy taste. We want their sweet taste for stew. To achieve this, take 1 onion and chop it into small pieces. Warm the grass-fed butter in a deep dish and add the onions. Sauté the onion and stir until it is translucent. If needed, add a bit of water, but don’t let it burn.
While sautéing the onion, prepare the beef. Slice it into ½ inch cubes, and add to the onions when ready. Continue to sauté for a few minutes and then add 1 cup of water before adding further ingredients.
Slice the mushrooms and garlic to thin slices (mushrooms may be diced) and add them to the meat and onions.
Now we need to prepare the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the cores. Slice those halves in half and put in the blender. We are going to use tomato juice rather than tomato chunks. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and blend for a couple of minutes until you have even tomato juice. Don’t worry if it looks a bit pale, it will turn red during cooking. The tomato juice thickens fast, especially when combined with starch from the potatoes, so add 2 cups of water to prolong the cooking time before it thickens.
Peel the potatoes, and dice them into chunks smaller than the beef. Add to the mixture after the tomatoes. And stir.
Cook for at least 30 minutes
At this point, add black pepper, sea salt, parsley and rosemary. Just a pinch of everything.
After some 30 minutes, slice the peppers julienne style, and add them. This will prevent the peppers from totally dissolving into the stew.
The last ingredient is paprika. Add one tablespoon of paprika after all ingredients are already cooked. If you have a problem with the proper mixing of paprika, you can dissolve it in a small amount of water and pour in. This should prevent clumping.
Stir until the stew reaches your desired thickness. If you prefer soup Hungarian goulash style, add a bit of water. If you like a thicker stew, let it boil a bit more. The perfect finish to this dish is a garnish of yogurt and a fresh parsley leaves, or crumbled goat’s cheese.
Here you are…a hearty and healthy stew recipe… the perfect blend of healthy ingredients, that will not only provide everything your body needs to remain healthy, but a dish that you’ll enjoy eating.
Click here to download printable recipe.