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Healthy Soups & Stews For Hard Times!

Diasporic Millennials Revive Depression Era Soups & Stews with a Healthy Twist!

Soups are filling, comforting, and cheap; in short, they are perfect to fall back on to in hard times. During the Great Depression, many soup recipes began arising out of need, hunger, and creativity. Take a look at the African diaspora's take on classic soups and stews!

Nigerian Tomato (Beef) Stew

A classic rich aromatic tomato Nigerian stew. It is delicious, nutritious, and easy to make. All you need is a big pot and about an hour of your time. A go-to stew because it goes with almost anything from rice to yam, pasta, beans, bread, potatoes, and much more. It also stores well in the freezer, so always make a big batch and store it in the freezer to reheat as needed. In soup, the liquid is the primary ingredient. Soup can be completely liquified or it can consist of other elements (like meat and vegetables) that are fully submerged in water, stock, or broth. Stew, meanwhile, is typically "chunkier." It contains just enough liquid to cover the main ingredients with this recipe you can create both.

What ties all of the different Nigerian "RED" stew variations together is that they are commonly made with blended tomatoes (sometimes with onions and peppers), cooked with some oil and some type of protein. Depending on who is cooking it for you; the type of oil used should be either Red Palm, Grapeseed, Avocado, or Coconut, the other vegetables blended with the tomatoes, the consistency of the tomato stew and the protein used to cook the stew varies if using beef or lamb thicker is better if chicken or fish a lighter stew by adding veggie broth will suffice . I chose beef for this stew mostly out of Nostalgia (also because it tastes fantastic with cornbread and rice, Jamaican yellow yams or sweet potatoes).


2-4 lbs. of Braised beef chunks (about 907 grams )

3.5 lbs. or Plum tomatoes (about 1570 grams) or 3-4 cans whole or diced tomatoes

2 large Yellow or Red Onions

4 cloves of Garlic crushed

2 Scotch Bonnet Peppers (3 if you're adventurous!)

1 teaspoon of Ground Ginger or thumb sized Fresh Ginger

1/2 Cup of Oil

2 Cups of Vegetable Stock

1 teaspoon of Curry Powder

2 teaspoons of Dried Thyme or five sprigs of Fresh Thyme

1 cube or teaspoon of Bouillon powder (vegan Bouillon can be used)

Salt to taste or Mrs Dash with a dash of Chili Powder


1.Blend the tomatoes, a single large onion, bell peppers, scotch bonnet peppers, garlic and ginger, and set aside.

2. After browning meat in 2 teaspoons of oil a pot on the stovetop add half a cup of water or stock cook down on low heat until meat is dark on both sides take it out and Braise the meat in its own juices from the pot in the oven until is is dark on both sides. Cook slowly at 350 degrees.

3. In a large pot Cook the blended tomato mixture on medium heat until it forms a paste. It should reduce to about half its volume. While mixture is reducing slice one large onion and set it aside.

4. Once the tomato mixture has reduced, scoop the paste out of the pot and set it aside. In the same pot, heat the oil on medium heat and caramelize the onions until it is mostly softened. Add the tomato paste to the caramelized onions and add the cook on low- medium heat for 5 minute.

5.Add meat stock and spices. After 5 minutes, pour in the stock, and season with bouillon, thyme and curry powder. Stir and continue to cook for another 10 minutes on low heat.

6. After 10 minutes, add in the cooked meat, stir, and cook the stew covered for another 5 minutes on low heat. Taste for salt and adjust to your preference, and cook for another 5 minutes covered.

7.After 5 minutes, your stew is ready to serve! Nigerian tomato stew is usually paired with boiled rice, beans, plantain, starchy root vegetables like yam or potatoes.

One of the best ways to reduce food waste in soups and stews is to choose seasonal and local ingredients that are fresh, abundant, and affordable. Seasonal ingredients are more likely to be harvested at their peak of ripeness and flavor, and have a lower environmental impact than imported or out-of-season produce. Local ingredients are also more likely to support your community and reduce transportation and packaging waste. By going to farmers markets you can also get incentive rewards from the Federal Government or your state if you receive food subsidies like an Electronic Benefit Transfer also known as an EBT card. Massachusetts has HIP the Healthy Incentives Program view video below for more information.


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