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Mediterranean stew

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Mediterranean stew
With a few simple variations this delicious and nutritious stew can be turned into a variety of dishes from around the Mediterranean, including a rustic Spanish tuna stew, a hearty Greek stew with shrimp, an exotic Moroccan fish stew, a rich French Provencal chicken stew, and a flavorsome Italian white bean pasta. For convenience, make a really big batch and freeze in portions, ready to be thawed and heated in no time—then, the hardest thing is deciding which cuisine you feel like for dinner.

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 onions—chopped
2 carrots—diced
2 celery stalks—diced
1 red bell pepper—julienned
1 green bell pepper—julienned
4 cloves garlic—finely chopped
1 cup white wine
2 x 14 oz (420g) canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
16 pitted black olives—quartered
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


HEAT 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. ADD the onions, carrots and celery and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. ADD the peppers and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. STIR in the wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper, cover with a lid, and simmer for 15 minutes. ADD the olives, parsley and reserved 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Variations: By simply adding different lean protein sources, different seasonings, and serving with different grain foods, this stew can easily be transformed into lots of different dishes from around the Mediterranean.

Greek Stew with Shrimp. Add 1 teaspoon of dried oregano and 24 peeled uncooked shrimp and cook for 5 minutes. Serve over bulgur with a little crumbled feta cheese on top. Alternatively, instead of the shrimp, add peeled fava (broad) beans.

Spanish Tuna Stew. Stir through 2 teaspoons of paprika and 24 oz (720g) cubed fresh tuna, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve on a bed of rice. Alternatively, serve with crusty bread instead of rice. If preferred, you can also use good-quality canned tuna rather than fresh.

Moroccan Fish Stew. Add 2 teaspoons ground cumin, ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon and chili powder, and 24 oz (720g) cubed firm white fish such as snapper, cod, or haddock, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Serve on a bed of couscous garnished with chopped fresh cilantro (coriander). Alternatively, replace the fish with either canned chickpeas or cubed chicken breast.

French Provencal Chicken Stew. Mix in 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, 24 oz (720g) cubed chicken breast and 32 halved green beans, cover and cook for 8 minutes. Serve with some crusty whole wheat bread. Alternatively, add cubed firm white fish or tuna in place of the chicken.

Italian White Bean Pasta. Stir through ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, 14 oz (420g) can white beans, such as cannellini, cover and cook for 3 minutes then toss with 1 lb (500g) cooked drained pasta. Serve with a little freshly grated parmesan cheese. Alternatively, substitute the beans with cubed chicken breast.



  Greek Fava Bean, Eggplant and Olive Stew with Feta. A richly-flavored Greek stew with fava beans, eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, potatoes and kalamata olives, served with crumbled feta cheese.


  Moroccan Chicken and Olive Tagine with Almond Couscous. Tasty chicken and olive tagine, served over a bed of almond-studded couscous.


  Spanish Tuna and Vegetable Stew. A robust Spanish stew with tuna and a selection of colorful vegetables served over a bed of rice.


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