Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew

imageI adapted this recipe from the America’s Test Kitchen version. This stew is a winter classic, and the kitchen wizards over at ATK have perfected it by coming up with a way to allow the meat to slow cook while preventing the veggies from becoming a mushy mess (spoiler: you’ll put them in a tin-foil packet on top of the stew). I like to prep this in the evening and leave it cooking overnight, floating out of bed in the morning and following the aroma of slow-cooked beef into the kitchen . . .  Michael Scott gets it.

 

Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds grass-fed beef stew meat (chuck) or bison, cut into 2” pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fat of choice (olive oil or avocado oil work well)
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms (white or baby bella)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Minute tapioca

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pat meat dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until shimmering. Cook half of the beef until it is well browned on each side, about 4 minutes. Put the meat in the slow cooker and follow the same process with the second half of the meat (you may need to add another tablespoon of oil to the pan if it looks a little dry). Remove the meat to the slow cooker.
  3. Return the skillet to medium heat and add another tablespoon of oil. Add the onions, mushrooms, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the onions are translucent and golden, about 6 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the broth and coconut aminos and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the browned bits.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil and transfer it to the slow cooker. Add bay leaves and tapioca.
  7. In a large bowl, toss the carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, 1 tablespoon oil,  and 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme. On the counter, lay out a large piece of aluminum foil. Place the tossed vegetables on one side of the foil. Fold the foil over the vegetables and crimp the edges really well to form a little foil packet that will fit in the top of your slow cooker. Place the packet in the slow cooker on top of the beef mixture.
  8. Cover the slow cooker, and cook on high for 6-7 hours or low for 10-11 hours.
  9. When the stew is finished cooking, remove the foil packet from the top of the stew. Carefully open the foil packet (watch out for the steam that will escape as you open it!). Return the vegetables and any juices to the slow cooker and gently mix them into the stew. Add remaining ½ teaspoon fresh thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
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Corey’s Famous Sausage Soup (+ Kale)

This recipe comes from my friend Corey’s blog, Corey’s Clean Eats — I made it for the first time this weekend and now I know why it’s famous. It’s hearty, warming, and a little spicy, and tastes even better the next day. I modified by adding kale at the end of cooking, subbing hot Italian sausages for sweet, and threw in fresh garlic and some thyme from my garden (which thinks it’s still fall outside). Thanks for the recipe, Corey!image

Corey’s Famous Sausage Soup (+ Kale), modified from the original, posted on Corey’s Clean Eats

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 large hot Italian sausages (good-quality pork, turkey, or chicken), casings removed and discarded
1 28 oz. can San Marzano diced tomatoes
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups low-sodium beef broth (if you can only find brands with added sugar, use all chicken broth instead)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (more to taste)
2 bay leaves
1 bunch kale, chopped and thick stems removed

Instructions

1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
2. Add onions, carrot, and celery and sauté until onions are translucent.
3. Add the sausage (without casings!) and  thyme, pepper, and salt.
4. Cook sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink.
5. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
6. Add diced tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil.
7. Add chicken broth, beef broth, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, partially covered, for at least one hour.
8. Before serving, stir kale into the soup. It’s ready to serve about two minutes later (once kale has had a chance to cook briefly). Taste the soup and add more salt if necessary.

Corey says: “I tend to simmer my soup for long periods of time. I love how it makes my house smell, and I usually am doing 800 other things so leaving it on the stove to cook until I’m ready to eat works well for me. This soup is also exponentially more delicious the next day, once all the flavors have had a chance to meld together overnight.”

 

Pulled Pork and Mostly Paleo Barbecue Sauce

3 lb pork butt rubbed with wonderful spices, the lucky devil

3 lb pork butt rubbed with wonderful spices, the lucky devil

Good lawd, is there anything better than leftover pulled pork warmed up in a cast iron skillet till it gets a little char on that saucy goodness? (THE ANSWER IS NO.) The kicker is that pulled pork is incredibly easy to make at home and to make paleo-friendly. Don’t be daunted by the longish-looking recipe! You just need to make 3 things, if you’re doing it all from scratch:

1) Dry rub

2) Ketchup for BBQ sauce (or use a store-bought paleo version, if you find one)

3) BBQ sauce (or use a store-bought paleo version, if you find one)

Pulled Pork with Southern Barbecue Dry Rub, modified from The Joy of Cooking original recipe

(This makes more than you’ll need. Put the rest in a jar and save it for next time!)

Ingredients for Rub

  • 1⁄6 cup sweet paprika
  • 1⁄6 cup smoked paprika or seeded and ground chipotles
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1⁄8 cup salt
  • 1⁄8 cup cracked black pepper

Ingredients for Pork

  • 1 boneless Boston butt or pork shoulder blade roast (about 4 pounds, excess fat trimmed)
  • 1 T fat of choice (I prefer bacon fat)

Instructions 

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients for Southern Barbecue Dry Rub and rub onto pork (again, you won’t need it all, so sprinkle/rub it onto pork as-needed and save the rest).

To make in the oven:

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Heat a large Dutch oven or other heavy ovenproof pot large enough to hold the meat over medium heat. Add fat of choice and heat.
  2. Add the meat and brown well on all sides. Cover the pot tightly with a lid or foil, place in the oven, and bake until the meat is tender enough to be shredded with a fork, 3 to 3 1⁄2 hours.

To make in the slow cooker: 

  1. Heat a large pot or skillet over medium heat. Add fat of choice and heat.
  2. Add the meat and brown well on all sides. Then transfer to a slow cooker and cook for 7 hours on high, or until meat can easily be shredded with a fork.

When meat is done, transfer to a cutting board, allow to cool, and then shred with two forks or by hand, discarding fatty globs as you come across them. Place shredded meat in a bowl and add barbecue sauce (recipe below) to taste.

Ain't that a sight? Pulled pork with BBQ sauce on the side.

Ain’t that a sight? Pulled pork with BBQ sauce on the side.

Mostly Paleo Barbecue Sauce, adapted from “Brian’s Barbecue Sauce” from Virginia is for Hunter-Gatherers

This contains a mere 2 tablespoons of molasses for sweetener, which I don’t worry about including since it’s spread over the whole recipe and adds a lot of flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C homemade ketchup (recipe below)
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.

 

Homemade Ketchup, adapted from Virginia is for Hunter-Gatherers

Ingredients

  • 15 oz tomato sauce (make sure to get one without added sugar)
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a medium pot, and simmer on medium-low heat, stirring regularly until mixed evenly.  Continue to cook on low for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the consistency is to your liking. That’s it!

Gremolata Mushroom Beef Stew

Image

Stew before its magical 3 hours in the oven

This is one of my favorite winter comfort food recipes, comin’ atcha from Health-Bent.com – you can always count on the wonderful cooks over there for an interesting flavor combo to liven up an old classic like beef stew. (This time it’s orange and rosemary keeping it fresh.)

The original recipe calls for 5 lbs of meat (yowza! I’m a hungry cavewoman and all but that’s aggressive), so I cut that in half and add more veggies while keeping the sauce amount the same. This makes enough to feed 4 plus leftovers that just get better the next day!

Gremolata Mushroom Beef Stew, modified from Health-Bent’s original recipe

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lb grassfed beef chuck roast
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled & diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large sweet potato or Japanese yam, scrubbed clean (or peeled) and cut into ½” cubes
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered or sliced
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup basalmic vinegar
  • 1 organic orange, sliced
  • 2 stalks rosemary + more for garnish
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

Image

And after. Tastes so much better than it looks! (Yes, I know I always say that. TRUST ME.)

  1. Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
  2. In a large dutch oven, heat a few tablespoons of fat over medium-high heat. Trim your meat, removing any large pieces of fat, and portioning the meat into about 4 large hunks (for more brown-age & faster cooking).
  3. Brown the meat hunks on all sides, and set aside.
  4. Add in the garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Let sweat for a few minutes, then add in the mushrooms, sweet potato or yam, stock, tomatoes and vinegar. Let come to a simmer and remove from the heat.
  5. Add in the browned beef hunks. Tuck in the rosemary stalks and top the whole thing off with orange slices.
  6. Place in the oven, with a lid (slightly ajar) for 1.5 hours. Then remove the lid and cook another 1.5 hours. Cooking time with vary based on how large your beef hunks are. The beef is done when you can easily shred it apart with a fork.
  7. Once it’s done, go ahead and remove the beef hunks, shredding them and then adding them back to the pot. You can remove the orange slices and rosemary stalks before serving, but I like to leave them in and eat ‘em!
  8. Serve with extra minced rosemary on top.

Shepherd’s Pie

Instagrammed because I should have taken a better photo

Instagrammed because I should have taken a better photo

WINTER IS COMING! The Starks know what’s up. Instead of battling for the iron throne (last Game of Thrones reference, I promise), I’m handling it by experimenting with some paleo comfort foods. This one came together last night as a way for me to use up a pound of ground beef, incorporate a bunch of veggies, and have something that would reheat well as leftovers. This tastes even better the next day, after all of the flavors have had a little mix and mingle party in the fridge overnight.

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie
Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs fat of choice (I used bacon grease and a splash of olive oil)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 package sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 bag or large bunch of spinach (baby spinach or curly spinach works)
  • 3 small or 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more to taste)
  • sea salt to taste
  • ground pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbs grass-fed butter (optional)

Instructions

For mashed sweet potato topping:

  • Preheat oven to 400. Pierce each potato in several places with a fork. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and roast whole until soft (about 45 minutes). Alternatively—and this is faster—peel them, slice into ¼” rounds and sauté with butter (optional) or a bit of your fat of choice until soft and mashable.
  • If you bake the sweet potatoes, you can prep the rest of the filling (see below) while they’re in the oven.
  • Once you have soft sweet potatoes, place them in a large bowl and use a potato masher to mash them with the butter, coconut milk, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. (A food processor would work here, too!)

For the rest of the pie:

  1. Heat oven to 400 if you don’t already have it on for your mashed sweet potatoes. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt your fat of choice.
  2. Add onions and mushrooms to the pan and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are brown and onions are caramelized (about 10 minutes).
  3. Add ground beef, breaking up with a wooden spoon and cooking until no longer pink. Add spinach and toss with the beef mixture until wilted.
  4. Stir in garlic, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, rosemary, and oregano. Cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds) and remove from heat.
  5. Pour this mixture into an 8 x 8 baking dish. Top with the mashed sweet potato mixture. Sprinkle extra garlic powder, salt, and pepper on here if you’d like a little extra flavor.
  6. Place in the oven and bake until heated through (about 10 minutes).

Beef Tacos

tacosThis recipe for beef tacos from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (one of my faves) is a staple in my kitchen — partly because it’s so quick and easy and partly because I love to celebrate Taco Tuesday (and Tank Top Tuesday — they are better together). To the stove!

Beef Tacos (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon fat of choice (olive oil, bacon fat, mild-tasting coconut oil)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup canned tomato sauce (there are several Paleo varieties out there – check the label!)
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (optional – I only add this when it’s tomato season and they’re flavorful)
  • Boston lettuce for wraps (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil/fat in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic, spices, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in the ground beef. Cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, and vinegar (and chopped tomato, if using). Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

You can serve this filling in lettuce wraps with sliced avocado, over salad greens with other taco toppings and hot sauce, or alongside other southwestern sides, like a Paleo slaw with cilantro or grilled veggies.

Asian Pork Meatballs and Homemade Mayo

BIG NEWS, LADIES AND GENTS! I finally succeeded in making Paleo mayo after failing my first two attempts, so I can post this recipe without the guilty admission that the first time I made it I had to use some store-bought poison soybean oil mayo in the dipping sauce. (If it helps, please know that I hung my head in shame when I mixed it in.)

Thanks to Nom Nom Paleo’s helpful video and Crossfit for the arm stamina, I am now a mayo master! I think I am the only one who cares but I’ll wear that greasy badge with pride. (For anyone else who has failed, know this: my problem was that using a blender or food processor just spattered the egg yolk and didn’t mix it with the oil. An immersion blender would get the job done, but I don’t have one, soooo I suppose I better keep lifting if I want coleslaw or Asian meatball dipping sauce.)

In conclusion, these meatballs are flavor PACKED (ALL CAPS!) and quick to make. Give ‘em a try for a change from the saucy Italian variety.

IMG_3547Asian Pork Meatballs, from Health-Bent.com

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 c almond flour (Honeyville Farms is my favorite brand)
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced
  • 1 t chili garlic sauce
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • handful cilantro
  • 1/4 t sesame oil
  • 1/3 c mayo (recipe below)
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  2. Add the ground pork, egg, egg yolk, and almond flour to a mixing bowl.
  3. Now, the rest of the ingredients (minus the mayo and sesame oil) are for both the meatballs and the dipping sauce. So halve up everything and mix one half in with the meatball mixture and the other half in with the mayo and sesame oil.
  4. Stick the dipping sauce in the fridge while we finish up with the meatballs.
  5. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Use a small ice cream/cookie scoop to portion out the meatball mixture onto the baking sheet.
  6. Place the meatballs in the oven and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  7. Turn the oven on broil and brown the tops of the meatballs.

 

Mayonnaise, from Nom Nom Paleo

IMG_4345

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nut oil, avocado oil, or walnut oil (you can use olive oil, too, if you don’t mind the strong taste)

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients except the oil in a large bowl and whisk until the yolk thickens and the color brightens (around 30 seconds).
  2. Add 1/4 cup of the oil in a VERY slow steady stream while whisking vigorously (~1 minute). To keep the bowl in place, you can put it on a rubber mat and tie a towel around the base. (I only used the towel and it stayed put while I whisked…and whisked, and whisked some more.)
  3. After the oil is incorporated, slowly add the second 1/4 cup of oil and incorporate it the same way as the first (~30 seconds). Add the last 1/4 cup of oil all at once and whisk it to emulsify the mayo completely.

Nom Nom Paleo’s wonderfully helpful video: