Winter is coming and the temperatures here in the Southern hemisphere are dropping. For our family this means more soups and Lexi's current favourite, beef stew.
My mother has always had the same old crockpot. I remember in cooler weather getting home in the afternoon from school or sports and savouring the wonderful food smells coming from that crockpot. As we moved out of home my mother somehow, miraculously found us each the same old model of crockpot at the local second-hand shop.
It's become a tradition for me to do the same thing my mother did. I get the crockpot going in the morning and let the flavours and smells develop the whole day. I'm convinced that the smell and being tired from gym / sports makes one even more hungry! Because both Rob and Lexi will devour whatever is in the crockpot.
We're a family of three and so there are almost always leftovers for lunch the next day. And I usually add extra vegetables to bulk it up (see notes below) so that I can freeze some for lazy days.
For me the secret is to cook a stew low and slow. Cooking it at a relatively low temperature for a long time allows fat and connective tissue in the meat to melt and gelatinise, making the meat tender.
The other trick is to ALWAYS brown your meat. It doesn't matter if you're cooking your stew on the stove, or in a slow cooker or pressure cooker, do not skip this step. Brown your meat in small batches so that all the surfaces of the meat are browned. Browning your meat gives your stew a depth of flavour that can't be achieved any other way.
Traditionally one would use Worcestershire sauce to season stew but this recipe is low-carb and suitable for the GAPS diet and so I use a combination of other ingredients to achieve the same flavour. To make this stew keto friendly you can substitute the carrot with zucchini.
1.5kg good quality chuck roast, cut into cubes
Salt and pepper
2 to 3 Tbs coconut oil
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups beef bone broth
1 Tbs lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp coconut aminos / tamari / soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground allspice
3 large carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
Pat the beef dry and season it generously with salt and pepper.
Melt 2 Tbs of coconut oil in a large pot over medium to high heat.
Working in batches brown the meat really well on all sides. This usually takes about 10 minutes per batch.
Transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside.
Add the extra tablespoon of coconut oil to the pot and add the onion and garlic. Saute over high heat for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft.
Add the bone broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the browned meat, lemon juice, coconut aminos, bayleaves, paprika, and allspice.
Turn the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours, until the sauce is reduced by half.
Add the carrot and celery and simmer, uncovered to an additional hour.
I like to serve this stew over garlic mashed cauliflower with kale mixed in it. You can serve it with rice, pasta, mashed potato, or any of your favourite accompaniments.
If you don't mind the carbohydrates and you would like a thicker gravy, whisk together 2 Tbs water and 1 Tbs arrowroot powder. Pour the mixture into the pot when you add the vegetables.
You can bulk up your stew with additional vegetables. I often add mushrooms, zucchini, green beans, and/or peas.