This hearty, satisfying vegetable and pork stew boasts an impressive variety of healthy ingredients, a wide range of nutrients, textures and flavors, and a low amount of fat.
Another advantage for the cook: Recipes do not get much easier - if you have a Dutch oven and a good chopping knife, you are halfway done. Most of the long list of ingredients are common items you may find you already have at hand.
For all its quick preparation time, the health benefits are long-term, a characteristic shared by other recipes in its source, "The New American Plate Cookbook" (University of California Press, 2005, $24.95), from the American Institute for Cancer Research.
The cookbook is subtitled "Recipe for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life." One of its principles is to shift the proportion of foods on the diner's plate so that combinations of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans take up most of the room and the portion of meat is reduced. A variation of that can be noted in the following recipe.
Appealing flavor is a part of the deal. The editors' introduction reminds readers that their book is really all about cooking with such ingredients "in novel ways that delight the palate and make for a healthy life."
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound pork tenderloin, cut into ¾-inch pieces
1 medium orange-flesh sweet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium white-skinned waxy potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1¼ cups shelled fresh or frozen lima beans (not baby limas)
2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups small cauliflower florets (about ½ a medium head)
1½ cups chopped green cabbage (about ¼ head)
1 cup diced Spanish onion
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed, cut in half
1 medium celery rib, cut into 1-inch slices
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 cups peeled and cubed eggplant (about ½ a small eggplant)
6 white button mushrooms, cleaned and halved
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, loosely packed
1 cup tomato juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne, or to taste
In a large Dutch oven or large, heavy pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and saute the pork for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until browned on all sides. Transfer the pork to a plate. In the same pan, layer the vegetables, pork and seasonings in the following order: sweet potato, white potato, lima beans, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, onion, bell pepper, green beans, celery, tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, pork, garlic, bay leaf and parsley.
In a small bowl mix the tomato juice, tomato paste, paprika, oregano, basil, Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper to taste, and cayenne. Pour over the vegetables.
Cover and bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the pork and vegetables are tender. Adjust the seasonings and remove the bay leaf. Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 355 cal., 7 g total fat (less than 1 g saturated), 56 g carbo., 23 g pro., 15 g dietary fiber, 376 mg sodium.