Ital Stew

29 Jul


Gluten-Free, Paleo, Perfect Health Diet

Ital stew is a Jamaican dish aligned with the Rastafarian movement. The word “ital” is derived from the word vital, and is similar to the concept of kosher. Specifically, ital food should be vegetarian, unprocessed, and from the earth. Some believe that even iodized salt should be avoided, and only pure sea salt is acceptable. Since meat is considered dead, it is not ital, although some Rastafari are known to eat small fish.

Like in my Callaloo recipe from earlier this year, there is a lot of variation to this dish. Typically, it’s made with several different kinds of starchy foods (I used squash, taro, potatoes, and plantain) in a coconut milk broth. It’s lightly spiced, with just thyme and pimento (allspice).

Funny enough, when doing my research I discovered this dish isn’t considered an exceptionally tasty stew, to the point that I was almost turned away from trying it. I have a suspicion that the reason it’s not well-received is because every recipe I found had you adding all of the vegetables at once, which likely resulted in a mushy, jumbled, and slightly confusing stew. I tried a different tactic, and added the dishes in increments so that they all were perfectly cooked at the end of the recipe. This extra care made a huge difference in the final product; in fact, we’re adding this dish to our regular rotation because it’s easy, quick, and hearty – a perfect summer soup when you’re not in the mood for a meat dish.

Ital Stew (Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Primal, Whole30)

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp whole allspice (or 1/2 tsp ground allspice, see note below)
4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
3 green onions, bottoms removed
2 bay leaves
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups water
2 cups pumpkin or squash, cut into bite-sized chunks (I used half an acorn squash)
2 cups taro, cut into bite-sized chunks (about 1 lb)
2 cups potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks (about 2 lbs)
1 cup okra, cut into 1/2″ pieces (about 10 okras)
1/2 yellow plantain, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 cups collard greens, sliced (about 4 leaves)
juice of 1/2 lime (1 tbsp)
sea salt and pepper to taste, about 1 tsp each
1 small handful cilantro, chopped

1. In a stockpot, warm the olive oil over medium heat, then add the onion. Sauté until translucent and softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, allspice, and thyme, and sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute.

2. Add the green onions, bay leaves, coconut milk, and water. Bring to a simmer, then add the pumpkin and taro, and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat if it turns into a boil – you’re looking for a lively simmer, but not a full-on boil. Add the potatoes and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir in the okra, plantain, and carrots, and cook for another 5 minutes. Finally, remove the green onions (and any bay leaves and thyme sprigs you can find), then add the collard greens; simmer until darkened and bright green, about 4 more minutes. At this point, all of the vegetables should be easily pierced with a fork.

3. Remove from heat, and add the lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste; once it tastes good, stir in the cilantro and serve.

** This stew is traditionally made with split peas, which I omitted to save time and because many people avoid dried peas on a Paleo-style diet. To cook this dish with peas, you’d want to soak them for 10-12 hours, then add the peas when you add the coconut milk and water, and cook until soft, about 1.5 hours, before moving on to the next steps.

** Be sure to tell your dinner guests not to eat the whole pimentos. If you’re serving this to children, consider using 1/2 tsp ground allspice instead of whole berries.

** To give the stew a little bit of a kick, you can add a scotch bonnet (or habanero) pepper when you add the coconut milk and water, and remove it before serving. For more spice, burst the pepper in the stew before removing it.

** Holy crap, putting plantains in soup is awesome. This was my first experience.

27 Responses to “Ital Stew”

  1. QueenJellyBean July 29, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    Hey Russ, beautiful photo of the ingredients! That’s my kind of recipe – a photo with all the ingredients prepped in proportion to each other, and labeled. The photo makes learning this recipe that much faster and easier. Ya mon, thanks for posting this one. I will try it with home made rice milk instead of coconut, since coconut doesn’t agree with me too well.

    • Russ Crandall July 29, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

      Sweet, let me know how you like it with rice milk!

  2. SH (@polywantsatweet) July 29, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    I received my CSA today – it had okra, carrots, potatoes, squash, onions, and green onions in it – a good portion of the ingredients for this recipe. I think I’m going to have to make this in the next day or two. Perfect timing…

  3. william July 29, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    Not to change the subject Russ, I just found out that I may be sensitive to Salicylates, are you familiar and can the paleo be adapted?

    • Russ Crandall July 29, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

      Hi William, I’m not terribly familiar with Salicylate sensitivity, but looking at a list of foods I found online it appears you should be fine; you’ll be limited to what fruits, veggies, and nuts you can eat, but since the most nutrient-dense foods are organ meats, meats, and seafood, you should be able to thrive without foods high in Salicylate.

  4. Lee July 29, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    This looks and sounds so tasty. I can imagine how plantains would be very satisfying in a soup. Especially when coconut milk is involved. I will definitely be making this in the near future.

    • Russ Crandall July 29, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

      Lee, cool, let me know what you think when you try it!

  5. bettychronic July 29, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    This looks great!

    • Russ Crandall July 29, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

      Thank you! It was definitely tasty and fun to cook.

  6. Ann July 29, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

    two ingredients I know nothing about (taro and plantain). I will have to take a closer look at the store next time I am there. Got your book the other day from the library (must be pretty popular because it took over a month to come through inter library loan!). Very excited to dive into it and try a few recipes (gotta finish my other book first though!). Thanks for all you do. Love your posts and recipes!

    • Russ Crandall July 30, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

      Ann, awesome, thanks for the comment! Hope you love the book.

  7. feedingthesonis July 29, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

    Looks and sounds absolutely delicious..a must try!! 😊 thx for the recipe

  8. Alexandra July 30, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    This is on the menu for tonight! My local grocery store had eddoes, a taro variant; I will report back with how that works in the recipe.

    • Russ Crandall July 30, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

      Alexandra – great to hear – eddoes are actually the more typical starch used in this dish, so you’re spot on!

  9. Lukas August 5, 2014 at 7:42 am #

    Nice one! I recently discovered that I’m allergic to gluten.. so I’m looking for good recipes to include in my diet. I will definitely try out this one. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Nick August 13, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    This looks pretty amazing. Maybe it’s blasphemy, but I feel like a bit of stew beef or sausage in this would be incredible. I probably need to try that, but I promise not to call it ital.

  11. Maria Lopez August 14, 2014 at 4:53 am #

    Wonderful recipe, I cant believe how easily you describe it, very well presented..:) I love to cook too but I am a clumsy one in the kitchen..:) do you wear protection gloves whenever you prep your ingredients or just your bare hands?

    • Russ Crandall August 15, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

      Hi Maria, I tend to do my prep with bare hands, unless handling a really spicy pepper.

  12. bblake10 August 24, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

    Oh, I love yr variation on the dish…yeah mon! I’m a new fan.I’m a new food blogger at justmeandmypot.com. Continue with the fab work.

  13. dreamhost domain coupon October 8, 2014 at 1:49 am #

    Hi there, always i used to check web site posts here early in the morning, as i love to gain knowledge of more and more.

  14. Dwayne K Malcolm October 26, 2014 at 5:34 am #

    Now that I know that there is some degree of salt involved and coconut milk, I’ll definitely give it a try!

    Thanks☺

  15. Akiko November 17, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    Hi Russ, i am looking forward to preparing this as a surprise for a friend. Wondering if there is an alternate veggie that I can substitute for Okra. Not a favorite of ours, as the the slimy texture is too much for me, or does using it in this stew curb that trait? Thank you for any suggestions that you have.

    • Russ Crandall November 17, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

      Akiko the sliminess is still there but not very pronounced in this dish. If you’re looking for a similar slightly-firm texture I would use green beans or eggplant cut into bite-sized chunks. Otherwise omit it and the soup will still be very tasty!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ital Stew | Paleo Digest - July 29, 2014

    […] Domestic Man / Posted on: January 01, 1970The Domestic Man – Ital stew is a Jamaican dish aligned with the Rastafarian movement. The word […]

  2. Tutorial Thursday: All Things Pumpkin and Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies - October 16, 2014

    […] Ital Stew by The Domestic Man […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 53,831 other followers

%d bloggers like this: