Do your taste buds love chili…. but tomatoes and chilis aren’t loving you? This zesty, LEAP-friendly stew just might be your new sweetheart!
Do You Need to Break Up with Solanine?
Solanine is a naturally occurring food chemical found in the nightshade family of plants. The nightshade family includes white potatoes (not sweet potatoes), tomatoes, potatoes, green peppers, eggplants, and tobacco, to name a few.
Many of my clients have found freedom from joint aches and pains and other symptoms of inflammation when they have eliminated solanine-containing foods as part of their personalized anti-inflammatory diet (a.ka. their LEAP diet). (I would rather test and know that these foods are indeed the culprit. There is something about having hard and fast evidence that you need to make changes to what you are eating that helps give you reason to stick with your intentions.)
A New Sweetie
One of the solanine-contianing foods that is often hard to give up during the winter time is tomatoes. So many soups and stews and chilis use these as the flavor and liquid base. I set out to create a nightshade-free stew with some flavors reminiscent of a chili.
I kept broth out of this recipe because it is so difficult to find a prepared broth that is LEAP friendly (and sometimes you just don’t have time to make your own — as good as it is for you!)
This beef and sweet potato stew satisfies bellies and is ready in less than an hour with the help of a multi-cooker such as the Instant Pot. The recipe is a play on the traditional beef stew or pot roast made without broth and free of night-shade vegetables. Coriander, cumin, and lime add an unexpected twist of flavor. It is an excellent recipe to whip together for your family on a cold winter day like today, and promises to warm you up from the inside out!
The sweet potatoes contribute a subtle sweetness that is complimented by the earthy, nutty flavors of cumin and the floral notes of coriander. Toss in some kidney beans to bulk up your stew and add some extra fiber while you’re at it. Muddle the beans a bit before adding if you want to achieve a thicker consistency to the stew. The freshly squeezed lime juice finishes this delicious recipe with a bright tang!
Have it Your Way
I have prepared this stew with both natural stew beef and grass-fed ground beef. My Little Farmers prefer the grass-fed ground beef (which I usually purchase from Aldi), but my Farmer enjoys the stew beef.
The ground beef doesn’t take as long to cook in the pressure cooker (12-15 does nicely) but the stew beef takes from 50-60 minutes to become tender (depending upon the size of the cubed beef.) The ground beef gives the stew the texture you would expect more with a chili. Try it both ways and see what you think!
For added complexity you might consider including some of the following (some of these are not MRT tested ingredients):
- Try grass-fed lamb instead of stew beef. Cumin and lamb make a nice couple! My Farmer and I raise Katahdin hair sheep and their meat is vastly different than the Australian raised meat available in most grocery stores! (We sell our pasture raised lamb locally in the Nashville area. You may also find local sources of lamb through your farmer’s market and state agricultural resources.)
- Carrots or parsnips would be a hearty addition! (Parsnips are not MRT tested, so don’t introduce these until you are adding in untested foods.)
- You could use a combination of white and sweet potatoes, or swap out the sweet potatoes entirely if they do not work with your LEAP diet.
- Butternut squash is another nice alternative to sweet potatoes. You can often find pre-diced butternut squash in the produce section.
- If broth works for you, try adding beef broth in place of some water to deepen the flavors of this stew a bit.
- Top with diced avocado for a nice cool, creamy complement.
- To stretch the recipe, serve over a helping of brown rice, barley or quinoa.
- Kick up the heat with some black pepper
- Can’t have white or sweet onions, try garnishing with scallions instead!
Finding Mr. Right
When it comes to making beef stew, you want to pick the right cut of meat. Approaching the meat counter and selecting a cut from the large array of options can be a daunting task. You might want to tend toward a tender, juicy cut of steak, but when it comes to stews, the cheaper cuts are best!
Pocket your pennies to spring for that filet another day! Select a tough, lean cut from either the shoulder region or rear of the cow. This may seem totally counterintuitive…I completely understand. However, these cuts contain a large amount of collagen, which when raw is very tough, but when cooked for long periods of time (or cooked under pressure for a short amount of time), renders a melt-in-your mouth, fork tender piece of meat! Consider using one of the following cuts:
- Chuck, chuck roast, rump roast, top roast, eye of round roast, pot roast
Kitchen (Love) Notes:
This stew can be prepared without an Instant Pot. Heat 1 tablespoon oil to the base of a stock pot or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides along with the onion. Add meat and onions to pot with remaining water and seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low heat. Cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add in sweet potatoes for 20-30 minutes or until fork-tender. Stir in kidney beans and lime juice prior to serving.
Define the Relationship
Want to find out if solanine is contributing to your symptoms? Want to find out the foods that your body loves?
The MRT test (Mediator Release Test) is a blood test that measures your body’s response to 170 different foods and food chemicals (20 more foods were added to the test panel as of 2.1.2018!) Using the MRT test, a specially trained Registered Dietitian (a.k.a Certified LEAP therapist) can help you pinpoint the foods that are causing your inflammation and will help design a personalized anti-inflammatory food plan for you that is as unique as your fingerprints.
Food really is the best and most powerful medicine!
If you live in Tennessee or Georgia and would like to work with me, click here to schedule a complimentary Nutrition Strategy Session.
Please comment below if you try out this recipe! Let me know if you successfully try out any of the additions or substitutions I suggested…or if you try your own LEAP friendly twist on the recipe!
Here’s to Wholesome!
- 1 tablespoon LEAP friendly oil (olive, avocado, coconut, etc.)
- 2 pounds natural stew beef or 1 lb. grass fed ground beef (would also work well with grass fed lamb)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 large sweet potatoes, diced
- 2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder (or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander (or more to taste)
- 3.5 to 4 cups water
- 2 cans organic kidney beans, drained (or 3 cups cooked kidney beans) - can also use pinto beans, white beans, or black beans
- 1 lime, juiced (or 2 tablespoons organic lime juice) - optional but adds brightness
- Garnishes (optional): diced onion, avocado, LEAP friendly tortilla chips,
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to the Instant Pot and brown meat together with the onions for about 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except for lime.
- Cover Instant Pot and cook on the manual setting for 50 minutes for stew beef or 12 minutes for ground beef. Allow pot to naturally depressurize.
- Stir lime juice into soup after cooking. Lime juice brightens the flavor of the soup, but you may skip if you are reactive to lime.
- To prepare soup in a slow cooker, brown meat and onions separately in a skillet and then add to slow cooker along with remaining ingredients except for lime. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours or until meat is tender. Add lime juice prior to serving.
Choosing the Best Meat for Beef Stew – https://www.thekitchn.com/quick-tip-choos-160558
I would like to gratefully acknowledge the content collaboration and food photography for this post provided by Kaitlin Denison, dietetic intern at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.