First, let me apologize to all the Catholics out there for sending you beef on the first Friday of Lent. I’m truly sorry. But I thought with another cold front on the horizon you might need this for the weekend…
Oh, the tease of spring… it continues. Instead of cursing the weather gods for keeping me one more weekend away from wearing flip flops, I’m choosing to embrace the chance to make something warming and delicious to curl up with one last time (oh, please). Because before we know it it’s going to be 90 degrees out there and we just won’t look at a hearty bowl of stew the same way…
For all you Paleo peeps, this happens to be a Paleo beef stew I tweaked from this recipe. Instead of the traditional white potatoes in beef stew, I used two kinds of sweet potatoes – your standard orange flesh variety and Japanese sweet potatoes which have a darker, purplish skin and are actually white inside. Sweet potatoes have loads more nutritional value over their white potato cousins. They have tons of vitamin A, C and manganese and are also high in B vitamins, potassium and fiber. Japanese sweet potatoes have the same make up but their richly pigmented skins also make them considerably higher in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists believe our digestive tracts benefit in particular because the compounds associated with these pigments may protect from heavy metals and free-radicals there. And that means a happier tummy.
So, I know I probably don’t have to sell you on a slow cooker… it’s amazing isn’t it?! I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it took me almost two years after getting one to really use it. I have no idea what I was doing or thinking. There is nothing more brilliant than being able to put a bunch of whatever – meat, veggies, liquid, spice, you name it - in a pot, turn it on and say see ya later. You go about your day (a little less stressed I might add having dinner already taken care of) and when you come home it’s like opening the door to a fantasyland where a private chef has been cooking for you all day. Oh, it smells so delicious. And you just know whatever’s been cooking in that pot all day is going to be so rich, tender and comforting. Still talking about the stew here, ladies…
The Best Beef Stew
1 1/2 lbs grass fed beef stew meat
2 cups stock
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 stalks celery
3 large sweet potatoes (I use a mix of orange and purple flesh potatoes)
2-3 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/8 cup arrowroot (used to thicken at the end) – optional
First, add the meat to the slow cooker, then add the liquid and all the vegetables, spices and seasonings. Set slow cooker to low and let cook for eight hours. About half way through, give it a stir to move the vegetables.
If you want a thicker stew, do this when the timer dings: Ladle out most of the liquid into a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil, then transfer a small amount to a small bowl and slowly whisk in arrowroot until it’s completely absorbed. Pour the mixture back into the boiling liquid in the pot and remove from heat while you whisk continuously. If you want it even thicker, add some water to your small bowl and sprinkle in more arrowroot powder, whisk well, then add that to your liquid. Once at desired consistency, pour the thickened liquid back into the slow cooker and stir to mix well.