roasted beet & brussel sprout salad

I need to preface by saying this is one yummy little number.  I decided to combine one of my all-time favs (beets), with something I have never EVER tried before (brussel sprouts).  This Saturday morn, we took another visit to the Evergreen Brickworks Farmer’s Market.  Something that has become an awaited weekend adventure.  I love the atmosphere.  I love the people.  I love chattin’.  Week after week, the icing on the gluten-free cake is when the vendors and farmers start to recognize your face and call you by name.  Really cool!

Amongst our market haul, were amazing organic heirloom beets, brussel sprouts and fresh perch.  To put this dish over the edge, I thought it would be ideal to cook up some bacon in the oven first and then roast the beets, onions, garlic and brussel sprouts in the fat afterwards.  Two words.  Fantastic decision.  It was so flavourful and delicious.  After slowly roasted in a big pan in the oven, everything caramelized together, to make one huge mound of goodness.  While still warm, we platted this on same mixed greens and drizzled with some really good quality olive oil.  Trust me…once you actually have a taste of what olive oil should really taste like, you will never want to go back to your other ‘cheapy’ brand.  I highly recommend paying the few extra bucks and getting something worthwhile if you are able.

roasted beet & brussel sprout salad
side, appetizer
4
 
Ingredients
  • 6-8 beets - I used heirloom beets (different varieties) - cubed
  • 1 small basket of brussel sprouts - cleaned thoroughly
  • 1 medium white onion - thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic - chopped
  • .5 - 1 lb bacon
  • 3 tsp dried thyme
  • ground pepper
  • sea salt - I used coarse rosemary & lemon
  • chopped nuts - I used a mix of pecans, walnuts, almonds and cashews (optional)
  • handful or two of mixed greens
  • a splash of olive oil
Instructions
  1. on a tin foil-lined baking sheet, lay and cook bacon in oven until desired crispiness
  2. remove and set aside, keeping the bacon fat for cooking the vegetables
  3. in a large roasting pan, add beets, brussel sprouts, onion and garlic
  4. drizzle with leftover bacon fat
  5. add in a few dashes of ground dried thyme, ground pepper and sea salt
  6. roast in the oven at 350(ish), until softened and browned
  7. in last 5-7 minutes of roasting time, crumble in the bacon and set to broil (watch carefully)
  8. on a dish, plate a couple handfuls of mixed greens
  9. while warm, scoop out several spoonfuls of the roasted mixture
  10. top with a sprinkle of chopped nuts (optional, but they were a yummy touch!)
  11. finish by adding a drizzle of good quality olive oil (optional as well, but recommended)
  12. enjoy!

grass-fed beef stew

 

Have you checked out Robb Wolf’s Food Matrix?  No? If you said no…what are you waiting for? Go check it out HERE!  It is a wicked demo of how you can combine diifferent proteins, vegetables, oils and herbs/spices to create over 81, 000 different meals. Design salads, stir frys, soups and stews.  Make use of what is in your fridge, what is in season, and then write out a list and go from there.  Live a little and try new types of meats that you haven’t tasted before and be sure to stock up on numerous dried and fresh spices.  They can really change and add so much to a dish. 

As I was typing up this blog post, I thought to myself, “whoa this is lonngggg”, however this was somewhat intentionally.  I wanted to outline, show and detail all the steps needed for making a stew, especially for all the “stew virgins” out there .  Really once you get the procedure down, it honestly is an equation of meat + broth + veggies + herbs/spices.  The result = unbelievable creations.  The recipe for this dish could be written in so many different ways.  At the end of the post, I have included some helpful tips/considerations, as well as other variations on this tasty meal.  I would love to hear from YOU about what special ingredients you add to your stews to make them irresistible!  Feel free to post comments!

Ingredients

  • coconut/olive oil
  • garlic cloves – halved (8-10)
  • coconut flour (to coat meat and thicken if needed)
  • grass-fed stewing beef (1.5 – 2 lbs)
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion – thinly sliced
  • 1 package of white mushrooms or 10-12 loose
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 4 cups (approx) of broth (can use beef, chicken, vegetable)
  • 4 large carrots – peeled and chopped (I used rainbow carrots)
  • 3 sweet potatoes – peeled and chopped
  • 3 parsnips – peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery – chopped
  • 10-12 pearl onions – peeled and leave whole
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1-2 tsp of Marjoram (because it is fun to say!)
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste (be generous!)
  • AND pretty much anything else in your fridge! Haha!

Prep

Stage 1

  • begin by thawing the stewing beef, if frozen
  • take a baking tray or a plate and cover it with parchment paper (this helps for easy clean-up)
  • sprinkle some coconut flour onto the parchment paper
  • then take the chunks of stewing beef and roll, coating completely with the coconut flour
  • next heat up some oil (med – high heat) in your dutch oven, along with garlic and sliced onion
  • cook the meat in batches, turning until all sides are golden brown (do not overcook, as cooking process continues)
  • once meat is cooked set aside on a separate plate, until later stage
  • after this, then take 1 cup of boil water and add (carefully) to the dutch oven (this step is beautiful in helping to lift all the ‘cooked goodness’ off the bottom of the pan)

Stage 2

  • after adding in the boiling water and scraping the bottom of the pan, add in the broth
  • next, re-add the meat back into the dutch oven
  • bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook (simmer) on low for 2 hours (the longer the better here)

Stage 3

  • in the meantime, chop and prepare all veggies that you are including (mushrooms, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes and pearl onions)
  • add all the veggies to the pot, and bring to a boil once again
  • reduce heat and cook on low (simmer) for about another hour or so, or until all the veggies are softened
  • next, measure and add in all the dry spices/herbs to the stew pot
  • nearing the end, add in the fresh herbs
  • lastly, if your stew needs to be thickened some, stir in a little bit of coconut flour (you DO NOT need much)
  • on the other hand, if your stew is too thick, add in some more broth close to the end
  • enjoy!

Tips & Considerations

  1. The key with cooking the meat for stew is TIME…don’t rush it.  Low heat and longer cooking time = melt in your mouth meat!
  2. Choose whatever spices you are going to include and add them in separately…wait and then taste test.  More more punch and flavour, add in your fresh herbs near the end.
  3. Soups and stews are wicked for using leftovers in your fridge…try different ingredients each time. 
  4. Makes for amazing leftovers…tastes even better the next day!  Also, easy to freeze and label and eat in weeks/months to come.
  5. Try to chop your root veggies fairly evenly to allow for simultaneous cooking.

Variations

  • can substitute broth for crushed tomatoes if you want a more “tomato-ey” flavour or red wine, if you want a more lax”Paleo-ish” version (I have done both…and they turned out different, yet still so tasty and yummers)
  • adding frozen or fresh sweet peas near the end also adds for interesting flavour and texture – try it!
  • of course the slow cooker can be your BFF when making stews…throw everything in and let in cook on super low heat for a longer period of time
  • IMPROVISE – this is a recipe where I add in the ingredients in stages, wait, taste test and then see what it needs.  Have a variety of spices on hand…his method works well!

simmering in Le Crueset!