By Request


Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Hospital’s stew soothes
souls with an island touch

Given all the stresses of hanging out at a hospital, a dish spooned up in the cafeteria is not what you'd normally think of as comfort food. But Thelma Lee recalls fondly the beef stew served at the Queen's hospital cafeteria and wants to make it at home.

"I ate there when my husband was a patient," Lee wrote. "It was ono."

Vivian Coppock, director of food services at Queen's Medical Center, said the stew is on the menu daily and is very popular.

"It's a favorite," she said. "People in Hawaii really like beef stew."

Coppock is a 20-year veteran of food service in health systems, but she's been in Hawaii just two years, having moved here from Oklahoma.

She provides an interesting perspective on stew, which we tend to think of as a universal dish. The Queen's version, she says, is very different from what she's seen served on the mainland. The beef is cut smaller here, for one thing, and potatoes don't play as big a role (got rice, that's why).

Also, the peas. Coppock says she isn't used to seeing tiny little peas in a big, hearty stew.

That said, here's the recipe. Nothing fancy, but if it can provide solace to people visiting hospitalized friends and relatives, it must be comfort food indeed.

Queen's Hospital Beef Stew

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 pounds beef, in 1-inch dice
8 ounces (1-1/2 cups) onion, 1/2-inch dice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 beef bouillon cubes
1-1/2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup canned, diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon chile pepper sauce
8 ounces (2 cups) celery, in 1/2-inch dice
12 ounces (1-1/2 cups) carrot, in 1/2-inch dice
12 ounces (2-1/8 cups) potato, peeled, in 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup frozen peas

Heat oil in skillet. Brown meat over medium heat. Add onions and cook until onions are transparent. Add salt, pepper, beef bouillon cubes, water, bay leaves, tomato paste, diced tomatoes and pepper sauce.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until meat is tender. Add more water if necessary.

Add celery, carrots and potatoes and simmer until vegetables are tender.

Add cornstarch slurry to stew. Simmer a few minutes. Add peas and simmer 4 minutes. Serves 8.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 390 calories, 23 g total fat, 9 g saturated fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 620 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 24 g protein.*

Food Stuffs: Morsels

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"By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813.
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Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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