Cold, wet weather calls for warming foods. Try one of these three stews for a hearty winter entree; include a spinach salad on the side for a healthy meal that will help you stick to those resolutions to eat right.
The chicken and vegetable stew already is packed with lots of winter produce – leave out the chicken to make a delicious vegetarian entree.
The fish stew is an unusual take on one-pot meals, while the beef stew includes wheat berries, a whole grain, for texture and fiber.
Moroccan fish stew
This one-pan meal is bright, intense and satisfyingly filling, given its ingredients. Using skin-on fish helps the delicate chunks from breaking up during cooking. Serve with something green on the side. Adapted from “Simple, Honest Food: The Best of Bill Granger,” by Bill Granger (Globe Pequot Press, out of print, 320 pages).
1 large onion
One 1-inch piece ginger root
1 large clove garlic
1 1/4 pounds firm, skin-on white-fleshed fish fillets
1/4 cup sliced skin-on almonds
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
Pinch ground cayenne pepper
14 ounces canned, no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 cup water
14 ounces canned, no-salt-added chickpeas
2 teaspoons honey
Fresh ground black pepper
Flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (may substitute cilantro)
Cut the onion into very thin slices. Peel and mince the ginger. Crush the garlic. Use paper towels to pat the fish dry, then cut the fish into bite-size chunks that are on the large side.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (not cast iron) over medium-low heat. Spread the almonds in the skillet; toast them for a few minutes, shaking the pan as needed, until they are fragrant and lightly browned. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Return the skillet to the stovetop; increase the heat to medium. Pour the oil into the skillet. Once it is heated, add the onion and stir to coat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent, then add the garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric and cinnamon stick.
Stir to incorporate, then cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the cayenne pepper, tomatoes and their juices, the water and a pinch of the salt.
Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Gently stir in the fish. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, moving the fish around so it cooks evenly.
Drain the chickpeas, then add to the skillet along with the honey. Season with the black pepper to taste; taste for salt and add accordingly. Discard the cinnamon stick. Garnish with the parsley leaves and toasted almonds. Serve hot.
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Harvest-time vegetable and chicken stew
Tip: To cut and peel the squash, pierce the squash several times with the tip of a sharp knife. Microwave it on high for 1 to 2 minutes; allow to stand 3 minutes. Cut off the stem ends, cut in half and scoop out seeds with your hands or a spoon. You can then peel the squash with a knife or vegetable peeler and cut into the desired size cubes.
For a vegetarian dish, omit chicken and proceed as recipe directs. Recipe from The Kansas City Star.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 to 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups butternut squash cubes (about 1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 red pepper (bell or hot, depending on taste), seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder, or to taste
1 tablespoon minced gingerroot
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cups unsalted vegetable stock
One 15-ounce can reduced-sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Add chicken, onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Add squash and cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes.
Stir in sweet potatoes, carrots, red pepper, curry powder, ginger, red pepper flakes and stock. Cover and cook over low heat 20 minutes. Stir in beans and cook 5 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tablespoons cold water. Stir cornstarch mixture into curry. Cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes or until bubbly and lightly thickened.
Ladle into bowls. Garnish each serving with minced cilantro.
Per serving, using 1/2 pound chicken: 260 calories (16 percent from fat), 5 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 22 milligrams cholesterol, 41 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams protein, 168 milligrams sodium, 7 grams dietary fiber.
Beef wheat berry stew
If you’re just getting back in your running shoes after the holidays, this protein-rich stew is good for repairing torn muscle tissue; there also are plenty of carbs to restock your energy stores for future workouts. It’s also rich in iron, necessary for the production of hemoglobin in your red blood cells, which carries oxygen from the lungs to the muscles.
Cook the stew overnight in a slow cooker then keep on warm so it’s ready when you return from your run, famished. Or have it ready to go in the pot so you can slow-cook it while you’re logging miles. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.
You’ll find wheat berries, a whole grain full of vitamins and fiber, in the organic section of larger groceries stores. Serve with crusty bread or salt sticks.
Recipe from “The Runner’s World Cookbook: 150 Ultimate Recipes for Fueling up and Slimming Down” by the editors of Runner’s World (Rodale, $27.50, 288 pages)
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound cubed beef stew meat
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ribs celery, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 leek, cleaned and sliced 1-inch thick
1 yellow or white onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 carrots, chopped into 3/4-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low-sodium beef broth, divided
1 cup wheat berries
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil.
Meanwhile, place stew meat, flour and a few dashes of salt and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal it and shake until all the meat is coated with flour. Add meat to the hot pan and brown on all sides, in batches if necessary, for 5 minutes. Add the second tablespoon oil, if necessary, to prevent the meat from sticking.
Add the celery, leek and onion to the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add carrots and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Transfer vegetables to a slow cooker.
Add 1/2 cup broth to the skillet and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom. Add broth and scrapings to the slow cooker. Add beef (and any juices that have collected on the plate), wheat berries, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme, pepper flakes and remaining 3 1/2 cups broth to the slow cooker. Cover securely with a lid and cook on low for 6 hours.
After 6 hours, stir the stew, season to taste with salt and pepper, and check for doneness. The meat, veggies and wheat berries should be very tender. If not, cook for another 1 to 2 hours. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
Per serving: 444 calories, 51 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 27 g protein, 12 g fat