Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chicken Stew and a New Attitude

After my husband had his heart surgery, and the doctor informed us that his diet would need a radical overhaul to avoid death by clogged artery, I visited my local bookstore and bought three cookbooks.

“American Medical Association Healthy Heart Cookbook”
“American Heart Association Low-fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook”
“Better Homes and Gardens New Diabetics Cookbook”

Though neither my husband nor I are diabetic, a friend lent us her copy of the New Diabetics Cookbook because it offered a host of recipes low in fat and directed at controlling cholesterol levels. I liked it so I bought a copy.

Armed with this arsenal of collected culinary know-how, I went to work.

One of the first recipes I tried was from the Healthy Heart Cookbook: Chicken and Vegetable Stew.

The recipe called for baby onions and baby carrots, celery, red peppers and tomatoes. It called for salt free broth, soybeans and pinto beans, Swiss chard, spinach and a sweet potato. It called for dill, basil and pepper. And of course, it called for lean chicken breasts.

There was blanching and draining and simmering and pureeing. There was slipping off skins and trimming away roots and slicing and dicing and cutting.

When I served up this culinary conquest, my husband took a few bites, murmured something about missing beef stew, ate a few more bites and resumed mumbling.

I kind of wanted to hit in the head with my big wooden spoon.

Instead, I offered up this bit of wisdom: “Eat it or die.”

The chicken stew, and subsequent recipes that have since been added to my provisional repertoire, has been modified a bit, but the principles behind making it a heart friendly meal remain the same. In my next post, I’ll talk about what makes a dish heart friendly, and how to flavor foods that are not “fat dependent”.

The chicken stew, by the way, was delicious. My husband’s taste buds, and attitude, just needed adjusting, and we’ll talk a bit about that as well.

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