Quick Fix: Halloween stew is a treat of a one-pot meal

Linda Gassenheimer
Tribune News Service

When I see this season’s apples and sweet potatoes filling the supermarkets, I try to think of flavorful and easy ways to use them. I decided to make a fall stew that would also be perfect for Halloween week. Along with the apple and potatoes, I added some ham from the deli and tomatoes and simmered them in beer to heighten their flavors. It’s a quick and easy recipe that makes a haunting Halloween stew. The treat of this one-pot meal is that all of the ingredients are placed in a large pot and left to cook on their own.

Most stews require hours of preparation and slow cooking. This one can be made in only 15 minutes, perfect for serving on a busy Halloween Eve.

Halloween Ham and Beer Stew

If you want to make the meal more festive, serve it in a hollowed-out pumpkin lined with foil.

Helpful Hints:

— You can use any type of beer. Most of the alcohol burns off in the cooking.

— You can use any type of apple. Granny Smith are tart apples that hold their shape when cooked.

— You can find chipotle powder at the supermarket. When using dried spices, make sure the bottle is no more than 6 months old.

Countdown:

— Preheat oven to 350 degrees to warm bread.

— Prepare all the ingredients.

— Make stew.

Shopping List:

To buy: 3/4 pound reduced-sodium deli ham sliced 1/2-inch thick, 3/4 pound sweet potato, 12-ounce can or bottle of beer, 1 medium red bell pepper, 1 Granny Smith apple, 1 bottle dried thyme, 1 bottle chipotle powder, 1 tomato, 1 small loaf multigrain bread.

Staples: onion, flour, salt and black peppercorns.

HALLOWEEN HAM AND BEER STEW

1/2 pound reduced-sodium deli ham (ask for it to be sliced 1/2-inch thick for cutting into cubes)

3/4 pound sweet potato, about 2 cups cubed

1 cup sliced onion

1 cup sliced red bell pepper

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder

1 Granny Smith apple, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 tomato, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)

12 ounces beer

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 slices multigrain bread or 2 rolls

Cut ham into 1-inch pieces. Peel sweet potato and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces. Place a large nonstick sauce pan over medium-high heat and add the ham, potato, onion and red bell pepper. Saute 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the ingredients in the pan. Sprinkle the thyme and chipotle pepper over the ingredients. Add the apple, tomatoes, and beer. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid, and simmer, gently, 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. While stew simmers, place bread in toaster or under the broiler to warm.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 529 calories (8% from fat), 4.5 g fat (1.7 g saturated, 2.2 g monounsaturated), 24 mg cholesterol, 29.7 g protein, 75.6 g carbohydrates, 11.6 g fiber, 1,148 mg sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of over 30 cookbooks, including her newest, "The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook." Listen to Linda on www.WDNA.org and all major podcast sites. Email her at Linda@DinnerInMinutes.com.