Monday, March 19, 2012

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Beef and Sweet Potato Stew Recipe

Visiting the Danville, Va. Science Center. Really awesome hand's on museum!
This weekend we had plans for a day trip on Saturday. I got to see my Dad, his wife Betty, and my sweet (almost 8 year old) nephew Christopher. (Here's an almond flour pizza crust we made the one summer he was visiting!) I knew I wouldn’t have as much time to cook a few meals ahead of time like I did last week. So I decided on Friday night to use a few pantry and freezer staples to throw together a quick stew in the slow cooker.

Checking out the railroad car and tracks at the museum. Love that kid!
Lately I’ve gotten into the habit of taking a serving of lunch to work and heating it slowly over a few hours in my “LunchCrock” – a small slow cooker that warms food gently over a few hours. It probably doesn’t have the capability to actually cook foods, so I wouldn't attempt that (it may not be safe!)… but it works great as a food warmer. It’s perfect for me because I don’t have to visit the office break room and use the community (ie… icky!) microwave. I also love that I can have a hot homemade meal for lunch with so little effort.

This stew is a very simple beef and root vegetable stew. I love the savory flavors combined with just a hint of sweetness from the sweet potatoes and apples. A tiny pinch of cinnamon or curry powder would also be a delicious addition, if you enjoy Indian inspired dishes. As fair warning... this is definitely a slightly sweet stew... and hubs did not like it... but then again he doesn't like Indian dishes or curries... so if you're not a fan of those types of foods this may not be for you!

Simple Slow Cooker Beef and Sweet Potato Stew
Adapted from Sarah Fragoso’s Garlicky Beef Stew with Acorn Squash, from Everyday Paleo
Free of gluten, dairy/casein, soy, eggs, and grains
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1.5 pounds stew beef
1 small onion, finely diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ cup beef broth or water
OPTIONAL: 2 small apples, peeled and chopped
OPTIONAL: 5-6 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Grease a 4 quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Add chopped sweet potatoes, diced onions, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper to the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the stew beef on top of everything. If you are using garlic, rub it over the stew beef. Pour beef broth or water around the beef into the vegetables. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. If you use frozen stew beef, you may need to cook a little longer until beef is fall-apart tender. When the stew is ready use a fork to break the stew beef into smaller pieces and gently break up the sweet potatoes into the stew consistency you enjoy.

Carrie’s Notes:
  • Apples? I added the apples to this recipe because I think they help bring out the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes. Their flavor will not make a huge difference in the overall effect of the stew, so feel free to leave them out if you like.
  • Additional Seasonings: Because sweet potatoes and apples add just a hint of sweetness to this stew, curry seasoning and/or cinnamon would also be a nice addition if you enjoy curry dishes.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Feel free to use acorn or butternut squash in place of the sweet potatoes. They will add a similar flavor to the stew with less carbohydrates and more fiber.
  • Poultry Seasoning: I love using poultry seasoning in a variety of dishes that call for a specific seasoning like sage, marjoram, or thyme. All of those herbs are in poultry seasoning and since I have fairly limited cabinet space, it’s a perfect solution (one bottle in place of three!). And I promise it won’t make your dish taste like Thanksgiving dinner.

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