SC* Provencal Beef Stew

by Anne Bennett on January 12, 2011

January is prime diet season, which means that diet, exercise and plastic surgeon ads are hitting the airwaves 24/7. (The latter are for those of us who don’t want to bother with the first two!)

I’ve said this before but it can’t be stated too many times: there is no magic pill for weight loss. There is no program, whether it offers pre-made meals or arm bands that register how many calories you’ve burned, that can do the hard work for you. Furthermore, very few diet plans provide the skills that lead to sustained weight loss (maintenance) over the long haul (a lifetime).

So, what’s an overweight person to do? It’s not glamorous: you’ve got to change the way you eat, not for the time it takes to lose the weight but for the rest of your life. Ouch. That hurt, didn’t it?

This beef stew bucks tradition by featuring zucchini instead of potatoes.

Along with all the ads for weight loss programs, there’s also been a lot of press regarding the virtues of eating more fruits and vegetables. And it’s no surprise that these are the very foods that aid in weight loss and maintenance. Because of their abundance of fiber and water, they fill you up, and they’re healthy to ¬†boot.

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2011 has been to climb aboard the fruit and vegetable bandwagon, and to that end I’ve decided to highlight more fruity, vegetably recipes on Hungry Poodle. Don’t worry, I won’t go crazy in this endeavor. Following is an example of the type of recipe I will focus on. It’s a Provencal beef stew adapted from Cooking Light, and it’s loaded with onions, carrots and zucchini rather than heavier, starchier vegetables. Think of if as a kinder, gentler beef stew, if you will.

Yes, it’s yet another slow cooker concoction. I’m still in the throes of my new slow cooker. The original recipe called for adding the zucchini at the beginning, but I chose to add it halfway through to keep the zucchini from disintegrating during the long cooking process.

Because it has no potatoes, this is a lighter version of stew that goes down easily. I actually preferred it because I was able to enjoy a crusty roll with my portion and not feel like I’d overindulged in carbs.

2 t. olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. boneless chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 T. all-purpose flour
2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
2 T. tomato paste (I buy mine in a tube and keep it in the fridge)
3 bay leaves
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 (14-1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 cups sliced zucchini (I sliced mine fairly thick)
2 cups sliced carrots

Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 t. salt and pepper and coat with flour. Brown beef in skillet on all sides. Place beef into slow cooker. Add onions and garlic to skillet and saute 5 minutes. Add wine to pan and scrape to loosen browned bits. Place onion mixture in slow cooker. Add broth, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme and tomatoes to slow cooker; top with carrots. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours. Uncover and add zucchini and cook until beef is tender, another 2 to 4 hours. Stir in remaining salt (or to taste) and pepper. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

Serves: 6 (each serving is 1 1/3 cups)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda January 13, 2011 at 5:31 am

Perfect timing, Anne! We love beef stew.

Gay January 27, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Sweet potato chilly, yum, yum.

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