By Marian Browning
Texas Woman's University Dietetic Intern
Growing up, my younger siblings and I were very imaginative kids- we were always playing some kind of make-believe game in a far off adventurous land. Mealtime was a way for my mom to corral us all together to sit down long enough and eat something while we shared about our day. Family meals are some of my favorite memories with my parents, sisters, and brother. My mom was quite creative in her parenting, particularly at meal time. One of my favorite recipes my mom would make, that still to this day is remembered by us now college-age kids, is Pirate Stew. While this recipe is probably more of a soup than a stew, I think my mom called it Pirate Stew because that sounded more pirate like. It is a pretty ordinary soup recipe- but what made it so special was how fun it was. The name was exciting and drew our adventurous little selves to the table. The key ingredient to this recipe is yellow corn or hominy- the pirate’s gold, because what would a pirate’s stew be without gold?
To be honest, my mom loved the ease and versatility of soup. The recipe can be adjusted to include whatever ingredients you have on hand- so it is likely this soup was rarely made the same way each time. You can also use canned, fresh, or frozen vegetables- whatever works best for you. Soups are great because it provides a great medium for trying new foods and you can easily add a lot of variety and color with different kinds of beans, vegetables, or meats. With variety and color, you are also getting many different nutrients in your meal.
This is also a recipe that is easy for kids to help prepare. Have kids choose what kinds of vegetables or beans you want to include. Let the little ones rinse beans or pour vegetables (with some parental assistance) into the soup. These are both great ways to involve kids in the meal preparation and in return they are more likely to want to eat the meal.
Below is my family’s basic recipe for Pirate Stew. Feel free to adjust it to best fit you and your family’s preferences. You could always leave out the meat or trade out the beans and vegetables for different varieties. The possibilities are endless. I hope this inspires you to try something new and add some fun to the dinner table.
1 (14-oz) can of reduced sodium beef broth + 1 can of water
8 oz cooked lean ground turkey
½ cup diced onions
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (15.25-oz) can drained, rinsed black beans
1 (15.25 -oz) can of golden corn or yellow hominy
8 oz shredded cabbage with carrots mix
Salt & Pepper to taste
Optional: Parmesan cheese (gold dust)
Add beef broth, water, onions, garlic and tomatoes to a 3-4qt. pot and heat to boiling. Add shredded cabbage mix, ground meat, black beans, and corn. Simmer for 30-45 minutes until vegetables are tender and flavors combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls and top with parmesan cheese (gold dust) if desired. Makes about 8 one-cup servings.
Marian Browning is a graduate student at Texas Woman’s University and nearing the end of her dietetic internship. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition with an emphasis in Dietetics from TWU. Marian enjoys working with children and families and helping others make meal time happy, healthy, and fun.
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