Like most men, my husband loves his meat and potatoes but since he’s become a statistic – a heart patient – those traditional recipes he loves had to have a healthy makeover. This speedy beef stew is nourishing and satisfying with a good mouth feel but without many of the unhealthy ingredients of other recipes.
Quick and Easy Beef Stew With a Healthy Twist
Mix up a healthy but hearty beef stew quickly for a satisfying lunch or dinner.
Slimmed Down Beef Stew
This healthy version of stew features well-trimmed, lean meat and good-for-you ingredients like coconut oil, tumeric and ginger.
Prep time 10 min - Total time 60 min
Ingredients for 4 servings
2 to 3 large potatoes • 1/2 - 16-ounce bag of cut, peeled baby carrots • 1 large onion • 1/3 cup each chopped celery and green pepper • 3/4 pound beef stew meat • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil • One cup beef broth (homemade, no salt added, or low sodium) • 1/2 cup water • One dried bay leaf • 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour • 1/2 teaspoon lite salt mixture • 1/4 teaspoon each ground black pepper, ginger • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (reduced sodium) • Thickening for sauce: • 1/4 cup cold water • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Browning the meat
Melt the coconut oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven over medium heat. Combine all the seasoning ingredients except the bay leaf and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well with a fork.
Remove all visible fat from the beef and if you haven't already done so, cut it into very tiny chunks. Peel and dice the carrots, peel the onion and chop into rough chunks, and cut the baby carrots in half.
Put seasoning mix into a large zip closure plastic bag and add the beef chunks. Shake well to coat all the pieces and then add the beef to the coconut oil. Cook for about 3 minutes, turning the beef occasionally with tongs, to brown.
Assembling the stew
Add the onions, celery and green pepper and cook until the onion is yellow and slightly translucent (about three minutes). Combine the beef broth, water and Worcestershire sauce and add to pot. Place the carrots and potatoes in the pot, and lay the bay leaf on top of the vegetables.
Let it cook!
Bring to boil and stir a few times. Reduce heat to low (simmer) and cook for one hour. The beef should be tender because you cut it into bite size pieces before cooking it, so it cooked faster than larger chunks would have cooked.
Thick or thin sauce?
Turn the oven to warm, remove the vegetables and meat to a serving dish, and place the dish in the oven to stay warm while you prepare the thickening mixture. Keep the broth simmering over medium heat.
Add the 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to one-fourth cup of cold water. Whisk briskly until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Drizzle it slowly into the hot beef broth, stirring constantly. Bring the broth to a rolling boil, and cook for one minute while stirring constantly.
If you prefer a thinner sauce (more like soup), just skip the step of thickening the broth and serve the stew in the cooking liquid.
Do you like your stew with thick or thin broth?
Nutritional facts you need to know
There is a hearty debate raging in health circles over whether or not coconut oil is a “healthy” oil or a “harmful” oil. The controversy reminds me a time many years ago when the fitness gurus urged us not to eat too many eggs because they were thought to be bad for heart health.
However, that theory has subsequently been disproved and at the time of this writing, the experts at Harvard Health say that eating an egg daily will not endanger your heart health. Choosing a type of oil to use for cooking and baking is a personal decision; we believe in the health benefits of coconut oil and choose to use it.
- If you would prefer to replace the coconut oil with the oil of your choice, it should not keep the recipe from performing well for you.
- If you want to eliminate the oil entirely, simply spray your pan with the non-stick spray of your choice to keep the meat from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Turmeric and ginger are purported to be powerful anti-inflammatory spices. Reducing the inflammation in the body strengthens the immune system and can improve heart health over time.
One of the first instructions from my husband’s cardiologist was to cut the sodium in his diet. This recipe uses low-sodium ingredients that meet his guidelines, and they are used sparingly for flavoring purposes. You may wish to substitute regular salt if sodium is not a concern for you.
Tutorial on Browning Meats
The information provided here is for educational purposes only and was not prepared by a health care professional or dietician. Readers are advised to seek the advice of their personal health care provider before starting, stopping or modifying any health or wellness routine.
Undisclosed author, “Egg Nutrition and Heart Disease,” Harvard Health Publications
Undisclosed author, “What you eat can fuel or cool inflammation, a key driver of heart disease,” Harvard Health Publications
Images Copyright 2012 Donna Cosmato, all rights reserved
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