Thanks to Jaime Lewis’ excellent ‘Stew-Roids’ series (link is NSFW), I have spent the last six months or so eating and experimenting with high-protein stew-like recipes. In general, I’ve found that I really like stews. They are pretty complete nutritionally, tasty, keep well, and generally reheat well. Also, there’s a lot of range for something that is basically a ‘thick soup’.
Since I eat on the order of 40 lbs of stew per week, I need recipes that are easy to make and store, so I’ve had to go a little off the reservation from some of the traditional recipes he suggested. Also, since I use stews as end-all, be-all meals, I’ve had to increase the protein in them dramatically.
In general, my rule is that in order for a meal to be ‘acceptable’ as a standard meal (not a ‘treat’), it has to have at least 1 gram of protein per 10 calories. This doesn’t sound like a big bar to get over, but if you start analyzing food, you will swiftly realize not many things meet this standard. For reference, a can of salmon fillets has 33g of protein in 150 calories, making it at 1g per 4.5 calories. Since this is almost pure protein, that’s about as good as it gets. Almost no ‘protein bars’ meet this standard except Quest, and they are debatable considering they are currently being sued for under-reporting calories. Not even a KFC Chicken breast (original recipe) meets this standard (360 calories for 34g of protein), so it’s harder to hit than you would think. All of my stews meet this standard, and most eclipse it by a reasonable margin.
In any event, here are a list of five slow cooker recipes that make the cut for me, along with a link to the food in DailyBurn for those of you who track food with it.
Modified Emeril’s Beef Stew
This is the tastiest out of all of the beef stew recipes I’ve tried. Emeril’s directions state to brown the meat, and insert the veggies after things have cooked down, and a number of other things that I summarily ignore. I just throw all the shit in a big pot and cook it. One full recipe-worth will about fill a normal crock pot. I can fit two to three full recipes in a Hamilton Beach 32229 22-Quart Roaster Oven, Stainless Steel (yes, it slow cooks). Cook it for 8+ hours on low.
- 4 lbs of stew beef (extra trim if possible)
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 0.25 servings of Barley, pearled, raw (1 cup)
- 1 tbsp Emerill’s Essence
- 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 beef bouillon cubes
- 1/2 (small) can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 pound small (golf ball size) new (red) potatoes, quartered
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 2 large onions
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Chaos and Pain Chili
This is my modified version of Jamie’s chili. I omit some of the hotter stuff (like habanero juice), and add a LOT of extra meat. It’s still super tasty, but feel free to make it hotter or milder (it won’t affect the macros). Also, just like most (all?) of the recipes, I basically throw everything into the pot raw and cook it. Ratios are the same as before; you can fit one of these in a big crock pot, or three in a big roaster oven. Cook it for a minimum of 6 hours on low.
- 5 large Jalepeno peppers, sliced thin
- 6 tbsp of Sriracha Chili Sauce
- 2 tbsp Spices, Crushed Red Pepper
- 2 tsp Spices, chili powder
- 2 tsp of Cayenne Pepper
- 2 cans of Texas Ranchero Grillin Beans
- 1 can Tomato sauce, no salt added
- 5 lbs of Beef, ground, 95% lean meat / 5% fat
- 1 box Texas Chili Kit
Jamie’s ‘Jesus Fuck, I’m Lazy’ Stew
This one is pretty heavily modified since I couldn’t find Hambeans 15-bean soup in any of the stores out here. Still turned out pretty good, with a flavor that’s an eclectic combination of Cuban, Indian, and Southwestern. Also, it has a HUGE amount of protein. The only extra step on these is to soak the beans overnight first. This one takes longer to cook. I usually cook it for about 3 hours on high, and then overnight on low.
- 4 lbs of Beef, round, bottom round, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8″ fat
- 1 can of Progresso Traditional Beef Barley Soup
- 1 can of Progresso Vegetable Classics Lentil Soup
- 4 tbsp of Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning
- 9 oz. Mojo Criollo Marinade
- 1.5 tbsp of curry powder
- 3 tbsp of Goya Adobo
- 1/2 cup of dry Pinto Beans
- 1/2 cup of dry Kidney Beans
- 1/2 cup of dry Black Beans
- 1/2 cup of dry Salvadoran Beans
High-Protein Clam Chowder
This is the only recipe on here that has complex directions (i.e. not just ‘stick it in a cooker and walk away’), and so I’ve only made it sparingly due to the time it takes (about an hour). Still, it’s really good for a change, and surprisingly tasty to have such good macros. In order to keep costs down, I used canned clams. However, canned clams do have small bits of shell in them from time to time. If this bothers you, buy (and shuck) fresh clams, though this is going to lengthen the prep time considerably.
- 16-6 1/2 oz. cans chopped clams, undrained
- 2 slices bacon
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 cups peeled, chopped yukon gold potatoes (two pounds)
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups 1% low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup flour
1. Drain the clams through a colander, reserving the liquid. Combine the clam liquid with the clam juice, and set liquids and the clams aside.
2. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat, and cook the bacon until crisp. Reserve 2 tsp of the bacon drippings in the pan, and remove the bacon. Crumble the bacon, and set aside.
3. Add the onion, celery, and garlic to the bacon drippings, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
4. Add the potatoes, water, clam juices, salt, thyme, and bay leaf to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
5. With a wire whisk, whisk together the milk and the flour. Slowly add the milk mixture to the pan, and continue simmering the soup for 10 minutes, stirring often as the soup thickens.
6. Discard the bay leaf. Add the clams and crumbled bacon to the chowder. Simmer an additional 2 minutes.
High-Protein Beef Goulash
This is my take on beef Goulash. I have no idea how authentic it is (probably not very), but it’s tasty, and will tickle your fancy if you are a fan of Paprika. I’m sure this would be divine over noodles, but my diet has not yet allowed me to try it that way. As with most of the recipes, I throw it into the pot and cook it on low for 8+ hours.
- 5 lbs of Beef, round, bottom round, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8″ fat
- 1 tbsp of Sea Salt
- 1.5 tsp of black pepper
- 1 large raw onion, chopped or food processed
- 3 cloves of Garlic
- 10 oz. of Carrots, chopped or food processed
- 4 tbsp of Paprika
- 1 tbsp of Caraway seed
- 1 tsp of Ground Coriander
- 3 cubes of chicken bouillon
- 2 cups of Water, tap, drinking
- 2 tsp ground Thyme
- 2 Whole Bay Leaves
- 3 lbs. of Red Potatoes, quartered
NetworkingGuru’s Brunswick Stew
This is my take on an old North Carolina favorite that I, astoundingly, had never had until I moved away from NC. It’s the only chicken-based stew in the bunch, and has a slight kick to it from the Sriracha. Really savory with a lot of interesting flavors from the okra, corn, and Lima beans. The only reason I don’t make it much is because the chicken prep is a little long. Slicing up 5lbs of chicken thighs into bite-sized bits takes a good long while. Other than that, though, the directions are the same as always. Dump into pot, cook on low for 8+ hours.
- 1 package Okra, frozen, unprepared (1 package (10 oz))
- 1 package of Lima beans, immature seeds, frozen, baby, unprepared (1 package (10 oz))
- 3 cubes of chicken bouillon
- 1 large onion, chopped or food processed
- 4 tbsp of Sriracha Chili Sauce
- 2 tbsp of Sea Salt
- 1 tbsp Black Pepper
- 4 cups of Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 can of Creamed Corn
- 5 lbs of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs