We have been focusing on moist cooking methods because, according to a recent research, they are excellent ways to cook in order to prevent us from getting ill and the bonus is that they are also healthier methods for diabetics to use in food preparation. So far we looked at poaching and steaming. Today we will complete this series by taking a brief look at stewing. I will also share a recipe or two along the way.
What is Stewing?
Stewing is a moist cooking method in which the food is placed in the liquid and allowed to simmer or slow boil. This liquid is usually flavored which is then transferred to the foods being cooked. Seasonings like onions, scallion, thyme, salt pepper, and tomatoes are sometimes used. I also love the flavor and taste of basil, pimento seeds, oregano, coriander, garlic, and ginger.
Meat, fish, and vegetables can be cooked this way. When you place meat in a pot and turn the flame down to its’ lowest, and cover the pot, sometimes the steam alone is enough to cause a water build-up in the pot and stew the meat. Some people say it “cook in its’ own juice.” Note that with stewing, the food is served in the liquid in which it is cooked. This is popularly done with meats.
A stew can sometimes look like a soup, in that the meat, seasoning, and vegetables are stewed in the liquid. It is not uncommon for harder pieces of meat to be stewed. Stewed beef, pork, and chicken are popular stewed meats. Beans are also added to meats and stewed. A popular dish in Jamaica has stewed peas with pigs tail, beef, and rice. Here is a recipe to cook stewed peas, the Jamaican way.
Braising or Stewing?
In my research, I noticed that some people used a little oil in a pot then turn the stove on medium flames to brown the meat or give it a slight color before placing it in the liquid to stew. After giving it some brown color, it can also be placed in the oven with a little liquid. This method is called braising by some professionals in the culinary field. I found a beautiful infographic with some information about stewing beef using this method. My caution here is the reminder that the research proved that diabetics are better off eating mostly plant-based foods in order to control our blood sugar and prevent sudden, high spikes.
For those of you who prefer, or need to eat mostly plant-based foods, you can stew your peas and or beans without meat and it can be just as tasteful, bursting with flavors as it satisfies the palette. Beans can be combined with other beans, requiring a similar cooking time. They can also be combined with vegetables such as carrots and cho cho, to add variety and nutrients to the dish. Please go to this article for a meat-free recipe for cannellini bean stew.
I mostly include vegetables in my stews, with carrot and cho cho being my favorite vegetables to use this way. I must, however, remind you that when vegetables are overcooked they lose a lot of their nutrients. Yes, they add color, a different texture and sometimes flavor to your stew, but you might have sacrificed some nutrients.
I am mindful of these facts and so I like to include a separate dish of a green salad to make up for the fall short. I sometimes steam some other vegetables to go with my stew. The choice is yours, but I am documenting my journey with diabetes in a lot of my articles and so I felt I needed to give you the heads-up on my approach to stewing vegetables. Hey, I am not always a “good girl.” When I eat steamed vegetables for breakfast and maybe a green salad for lunch, I eat my stew with however the vegetables are done and I do so without guilt.
Another moist cooking method for delicious, tender juicy meat and vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals to keep illnesses at bay. Stewing involves placing the meat in a flavored/seasoned liquid and allowing it to simmer until cooked. The result is a nicely flavored, tender and juicy meat. Your vegetables can be less crispy than when you steam and they will also lose some nutrients, but they can be used to add variety, texture, and color to your stew. You can use raw or steamed vegetables to compliment a stew meal to ensure you have the required nutrients.
This post brings the curtain down on the series of moist cooking methods. I trust that you are more informed and that you will find the recipes to be a delicious and nutritious addition to the list of meals you can prepare for your family. Please continue to fight diabetes. I am praying that through these posts, you are seeing that we can use diet to control and possibly eliminate diabetes from our lives. Until next time, be positive and kind to each other. Walk Good.
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