rosemary elk stew

The long and short(ish) of it is this…

We have had a slow cooker (Crock-Pot) tucked away deep, deep in our kitchen cupboard for a serious long time.  I am talking…we haven’t even ever really touched this bad boy!  Took it out of it’s box years ago…and never used it!!!  Who knows why???  Didn’t bust it out until NOW…a Crock virgin no-longer.  Crazy talk right!?!  Sure is!  I honestly can’t believe what we have been missin’.  A sweet ass invention, a set-it-and-forget-it kinda deal!  It doesn’t get much better than that.  Ohhhh…the possibilities…Stay tuned for a yummy pulled-pork recipe that is in the works!

So, if you have one…take my word and use it!  If you don’t own one…a damn good investment.  A friend inspired me to dust mine off and give it a whirl.  So glad I did.  The elk meat ended up being so tender, basically melt in your mouth/fall apart styles.  YUM!  The rosemary and red wine combo also adds an abundance of flavour.  Honestly, one of our best recipes yet.  We put this in the slow cooker last Sunday night before bed…and it was ready in the morning (the to-die-for smell actually woke us out of our sleep mid-night) and lasted us both (husband and myself) for 3 + meals this week!!!  Going to make it again today!

The photo pictured above was taken at the beginning of the cooking process.  As the stew cooks slowly in the Crock-Pot, it naturally thickened on it’s own.  I did not need to add in a thickening agent, but if you find you need to – try some coconut flour!

rosemary elk stew
main
many
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs grass-fed elk stewing meat
  • ½ container of broth
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (minimal ingredients)
  • a splash or two of red wine (optional)
  • 2 stalks of celery - chopped
  • 1 package mushrooms - sliced
  • 3 large carrots (I used rainbow ones) - chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes - peeled and diced
  • ½ head of cauliflower - chopped
  • ½ head of broccoli - chopped
  • 1-2 red/orange pepper - chopped
  • 5 shallots - whole
  • 10-12 cloves of garlic - whole
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary - whole
  • sea salt
  • ground pepper
Instructions
  1. start by searing your elk meat (chunks) in a skillet on top of the stove (no need to overcook though, just brown/crisp the outside)
  2. remove and throw in your slow cooker
  3. next, wash all your veggies and cut them up into similar sized chunks
  4. toss them in your slow cooker as well
  5. pour in your liquid(ish) ingredients - broth, wine and diced tomatoes (canned) - note liquid in slow cooker should come up about ¾ of the way
  6. stir in the sprigs of rosemary and/or any other desired seasoning
  7. set your slow cooker on low and cook for 8-10 hours
  8. remove rosemary sprigs
  9. fill up your bowl
  10. enjoy!
Notes
• if you don't have access to elk...no worries...beef will do! You could even try it with certain cuts of pork or lamb. Also, the veggies that I used are not 'set in stone' - use whatever you have on hand, what is in-season or anything that you need to get rid of from the fridge! A scrumptious meal that is super simple, filling and comforting as the days get cooler!

Want another Paleo Crock-Pot idea?  A friend of mine suggested that I try this…and I think it just sounds too good not to!  “Get some beef shanks. After slightly browning them in a pan, throw ‘em in the crocker with some coconut milk. Add lots of anti-inflammatory spices like garlic, ginger, turmeric, onions.  Then, some carrots or apples for a little sweetness. Thank me later!”

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!