Sunday 29 December 2013

Recipe - Paleo Slow Cooker Classic Beef Stew

Teena received a copy of the cookbook, The 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes, and did a review on it. All the recipes are 100% Gluten Free and many look delicious.

The Paleo Diet is one that is similar to that of our ancestors, who were hunter-gatherers, which means eating food that is as close to its natural state as possible.

Some key points include: increasing your consumption of protein in the form of naturally raised meat and wild fish and seafood limiting carbs sources to include fruit and veggies that are low in starch, as well as certain nuts and seeds forgetting most of what you have been taught about fat ... as long as it is "natural", fat is fine no grains or legumes no refined sugars and oils or processed foods.

I flipped through the book and marked the recipes that I wanted to try. I am not a fan of stews as all the food in a stew seems to taste the same, whether it is the meat, potato or vegetable. Teena loves stews so I thought this would be a chance to try a stew recipe from scratch to see if it makes a difference for me, so I decided to make the Classic Beef Stew. Interestingly enough the photo of this recipe also graces the cover. If I don't like it, I'm sure Teena will!

This recipe is for a 3 1/2 to 5 quart slow cooker. The ingredients needed are:

2 tbsp (30ml) extra virgin olive oil 
2 lbs (1kg) stewing beef cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 onions, finely chopped
4 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp (5 ml) dried thyme or 1 tbsp (15 ml)  fresh thyme
1 tsp (5 ml) sea salt
1/2 tsp (2 ml) cracked black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup (125 ml) dry red wine (or beef stock)
1 cup ( 250 ml) beef stock
1 tbsp Beef demi-glaze

To start with, I did not have any demi-glaze or homemade stock. The idea of a demi-glaze is that it is an intensely flavored stock that has been reduced to a state of concentration to add a burst of flavor to dishes. Properly done it becomes very jelly-like. What I did was I took a half a can of Campbell's Concentrated Beef Bullion, added about a half cup or so of regular beef stock to it and reduced in a pot 'til there was about a tablespoon left.

So here is the recipe:

In a skillet on medium heat, add the beef in batches to brown. This takes about 4 minutes to do for each batch. Transfer to the slow cooker using a slotted spoon to save the juices in the pan.

Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook about 7 minutes, stirring often until the vegetables are softened. Add garlic, dried thyme (if using fresh, set it aside) sea salt, peppercorns and bay leaves, then cook for only a minute.

Add the wine and continue stirring scraping up any beef bits that are stuck to the bottom or the pan (called deglazing). Then add the stock and bring to a boil. This is where you add the demi-glaze.

Transfer mixture to the crock pot and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours. If using fresh thyme, add it in 3/4 of the way through.

Make up mashed potato using a drier potato and when the stew is done, pour it over top or to the side. I like it to the side. The recipe says this serves 6.

I enjoyed it and more importantly, Teena really liked it. She wants me to make it again for her sometime and to me, that says it all about this dish!

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