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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Classically Irish (mostly) Paleo Beef Stew (in the crock pot!)

Summer has suddenly disappeared here in the Nation's Capital. One week it was sunny and in the 80's, the next week it was rainy, and now it's chilly and that lovely autumn smell is in the air. Its time for chunky sweaters and pumpkin spiced everything!

Its also time for a multitude of soups and stews to make their way to the front of the stage. I am thrilled! I love soups and stews. There is something so comforting about a big bowl of hot, filling stew. Big chunks of beef, lots of hearty vegetables, flavorful broth. Every bite filling your tummy and your soul with tasty goodness. Whats not to love?

As with most meals I cook, I got inspiration for this stew from multiple sources. I usually read a few different recipes, both online and from my huge cookbook library, and then I take this and that from each recipe and make up my own concoction. Usually this turns out a pretty good dish, its only once in a while that the whole pot ends up in the trash. This was one of the good times.

Most of my inspiration for this Classically Irish (mostly) Paleo Beef Stew came from The Functional Foodie. I left out the onion and added a lot of extra veggies, namely a turnip, a sweet potato, a parsnip, some celery, some white potatoes, and some lima beans. (Leave out the white potatoes and the lima beans for strictly paleo.) I also added some organic beef broth and a little coconut flour to thicken it up. I will say that the addition of the coconut flour didn't seem to do much, and for that reason I am leaving it out of the recipe below.

The other thing that I really liked about The Functional Foodie's recipe is that she insists on browning the meat before transferring it to the crock pot. I understand that this means more dishes to do, but trust me (and The Functional Foodie) this small extra step adds TONS of flavor. According to The Functional Foodie, "color = flavor."

Once you have browned the meat and scrapped up all the bits and juices from the bottom of the browning pan, just transfer the meat to the crock pot and add the other ingredients. Then you are good to go, you can leave your crock pot going for hours. Its really that simple. Yea for simple hearty meals!

Classically Irish (mostly) Paleo Beef Stew (in the crock pot!)

  • 2 pounds of stew meat
  • coconut oil (or your choice of fat) for cooking
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup of baby or 2 regular carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • 4 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 turnip, peeled and cubed
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup frozen lima beans or green peas
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • several glugs of good red wine (I used if you wouldn't drink it you shouldn't cook with it!)
  • 1-2 cups good beef broth
  • 12 oz. can of diced tomatoes
Preheat your cast iron skillet or dutch oven and add the coconut oil over high heat on the stove top. While this is preheating, dry off your meat with a paper towel. You want to get all the extra juices off the meat. After it is dry season it well with salt and pepper, make sure to get all sides.

Once the oil is hot, add the onion and chopped garlic and cook until the onion is translucent. Watch this very closely you don't want burnt garlic. 

Add the meat to the pot and brown on all sides. Don't worry about "cooking" the meat, you just want to brown it. You want to get as much color as possible. Remember COLOR = FLAVOR! 

Once the meat is brown on all sides, transfer it to the crock pot. Pour your red wine into the hot skillet and scrap the bottom of the pan. The goal is to get all the wonderfully flavorful bits and pieces from the meat off and into the crock pot. Transfer the wine (and all the goodies) to the crock pot.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except the frozen lima beans/peas) and cook for 8-10 hours on low. About 15-20 minutes before serving add the lima beans or peas. 

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