Sunday, August 03, 2014

Stew with Jade Pearl Rice (No Added Fat)

One of the families in my daughter's preschool just had a baby, and I was honored to be on the list of folks bringing a dinner over. I decided to make a stew with Jade pearl rice, as I could easily make a large quantity and save enough for our own dinner before taking the food over.


(Since the sweet and other potatoes were organic, I left the peel on; otherwise, they should first be peeled.)
  • 1 cup small (about 1 inch long) fingerling potatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups butternut squash, frozen cubes approx. 3/4"
  • 2 cups sweet potato cut into 5/8" sections the length of the potato, and then quartered
  • 2 cups of a heirloom variety of potato similar to Yukon gold plus another 2 1/2 cups Yukon gold potatoes (or a total of 4 1/2 cups Yukon gold), cut into 5/8" cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic cut roughly into 1/4" cubes
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups carrots, cut into 3/8" chunks
  • 3 cups onion cut into 1/2" chunks
  • 1T ginger, diced to 1/4"
  • 1/2 cup broccoli stalks, cubed to 1/4" pieces
  • (Optional) 1/2 cup stewed tomatoes; 1 cup green tomato cut to 3/4" cubes could be substituted, or the tomato could be skipped entirely
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • (Optional) 1/2 cup dry red wine (I omitted because I didn't have any small open bottles, but wine adds a nice subtle flavor, and the heat removes almost all of the alcohol)
  • 3 cups mixed bell peppers (different colors add to the presentation) cut into 1/2" chunks
  • 16 ounces (2 boxes of my favorite brand, WestSoy) seitan strips cut into 3/4" pieces
  • (Optional) 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • (Optional) 1 cup (compressed) baby spinach leaves
  • 3T lemon sage (basil can be substituted)
  • 1/4 t dried oregano
  • 1/4t freshly ground black pepper


Potatoes or sweet potatoes take 7-9 minutes to cook in my Instant Pot pressure cooker when cut into cubes; frozen chunks of butternut squash take 10-12 minutes; broccoli stalks take 3-4 minutes; carrot chunks, onions take 2-3 minutes; and bell pepper chunks take 1-3 minutes. I wanted the vegetables crispy and knew that I could simmer further to soften, if necessary, so aimed to undercook the recommended times a bit. Here is what I did.
  1. I put all of the potato, squash, sweet potato, the 3 cloves roughly cut garlic, and the cup of water in the electronic pressure cooker and set on high for 3 minutes.
  2. To avoid overcooking, I quick release the steam then added the s a bit. I was surprised - all the ingredients were definitely done and maybe a bit too soft. I was going to add the other ingredients and then return to pressure cooking, but instead just emptied the pot and saved the cooked vegetables.
  3. I put the carrot, onion, ginger, broccoli stalk, stewed tomato, bouillon cube, salt, and boiling water into the empty pressure cooker and cooked on high for 2 minutes 
  4. I quick release the steam, then added the bell pepper, seitan, nutritional yeast, herbs, and black pepper.
  5. I added the baby spinach and stirred. Spinach cooks down nicely but all it needed in this stew is to be stirred in and allowed to sit for a few minutes before serving.
I also made Jade pearl rice by sauteeing, with no added fat, some onion, garlic, mushroom (oops! I had meant to but had forgotten the mushroom!), and bell pepper, then adding a vegan bouillon cube, and water and rice in a 1 1/2 : 1 ratio for 20m.


I have never cooked a stew this way; in the past, I've not pressure cooked and have never included healthful sweet potatoes, squash, or nutritional yeast. I also enjoyed trying using a variety of potatoes and introducing tomato and broccoli stalks. I added a bit of fresh red hot pepper to my wife and my servings, and took some hot pepper to the friends.

I was delighted that the family to whom I took the food all seemed to enjoy the meal, even the young children. My finicky daughter didn't like the stew, but my wife and I did. It had just the right amount of liquid - less and it wouldn't have been a stew.

Ideas for the future

Larger pieces of the baby fingerlings were just the right consistency, as were all the other vegetables, except the sweet potato, squash, and most of the potatoes. The good news is that this can all be made in one batch by putting all the vegetables except the bell pepper (and seitan, nutritional yeast, and herbs) in the pressure cooker initially and just cooking for 2 minutes! I should try another stew variant with some additional vegetables, such as, perhaps, celery, zucchini, and okra. Not for my wife, who can't digest tofu, but some 3/4" cubes of pressure cooked tofu (as I described on July 6th) would also be good. Chopped kale or mustard greens would be good, too.

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