Pick up any ready made stew and you might be surprised at how low in calories they contain. Better still, make your own as it's so easy.
It's hard to believe the stew is around 350 calories (that includes the dumplings) - your tastebuds may be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
This recipe makes 6-8 hearty portions - costing around £1.00 per portion. It's a great budget dish with so much flavour it would quickly fly off any gastro menu. The secret is really in the ingredients - and using the right cut of meat.
You can use whatever ingredients you like, but here's how I made this:
BEEF STEW AND DUMPLINGS
1 kg BRISKET of beef
3 large carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 large turnips
200g chestnut mushrooms
1 tablespoon of tomato puree or mushroom ketchup
rosemary/thyme (use dried if you don't have fresh)
star anise (if you have any)
water or beef stock
100g self raising flour
fresh or dried rosemary/thyme
Season the beef and brown in a frying pan before placing into the slow cooker.
Chop the carrots and celery into 2cm pieces. Cube the turnips. Place into the slow cooker. You'll find the celery and turnips will have all but disintegrated by the time the beef has cooked. This will thicken the sauce and impart a lot of flavour.
Add the tomato puree (or mushroom ketchup), herbs and a good dash of Worcestershire sauce. I like to use a piece of star anise when cooking beef - it's got a mild aniseed flavour, but you don't really taste it. I think it adds something to the dish, but if you don't have any, just leave it out.
Cover the beef and vegetables with water or stock.
I cooked mine on the high setting for around 4 hours - added the mushrooms and continued to cook for a further 4 hours on the low setting.
If (like I did) you leave the beef to cool overnight, any fat will rise to the surface. You can easily scrape this off with a spoon. There was actually very little fat on this piece of brisket.
When ready to serve:
Slice the beef and place into a large saucepan.
REMOVE the star anise, fresh herbs and bay leaf.
Blend about a quarter of the vegetables with the juices. Add everything to the saucepan.
Combine the dumpling ingredients and roll into 8 balls. Place on top of the beef and vegetables.
Cover the saucepan with a sheet of foil, then seal with the lid.
Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. This should ensure the meat is piping hot and the dumplings are light and fluffy.
****REMEMBER: - Do you know how many calories you are allowed each day?
Here's a link to our very first blog post about our weight loss journey, which we began in January 2011. We started this blog as a way of recording what we ate while losing weight. The blog is a food diary, and contains lots of recipes, tips and ideas about losing weight.
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