Thursday, February 2, 2012

Slow Cooked Beef Stew


I don't think I've shared a beef recipe yet on this blog. It might be because we rarely eat it. To eat meat or to not eat meat is an interesting subject and heated debate among many. Beef is a concentrated source of protein, minerals, fats, and vitamins. For the deficient person, beef can be extremely beneficial. For someone dealing with diseases of excess, beef may lead to more health issues. Eating beef raised on corn, which is most likely GMO-corn, leads to the need for medications for the cattle, different types of fat deposited in the meat, and a reliance on a type of agriculture that is not sustainable for our planet. Plus, most feedlot cattle these days are pumped full of hormones to grow and plump up quicker, making the business of raising cattle more profitable. If this isn't enough, it has now been found that a quarter of all ground beef is now tainted with drug-resistent bacteria, such as staph aureus.

When cooking with beef, look for a source of locally raised grass-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is lower in saturated fat and higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), and vitamin E. In fact raising cows on grass is what nature intended. It has only been in the last 70 years that farmers began feeding grain (corn) to cattle. Eating beef with green leafy vegetables, especially cultured vegetables, helps digest the meat, making the meal even more beneficial.

I feel best revolving my diet around plants and eating beef on occasion, only when I feel I really need it. The end of pregnancy creates an extra demand on a woman's body. I found that eating red meat about twice a week in the third trimester of my pregnancies was very beneficial. Now breastfeeding a busy, scooting, almost-crawling five-month-old, I feel good having beef in my diet once or twice month. Of course you'll need to decide how often, or if at all, eating beef is right for you.



Slow Cooked Beef Stew

This stew is ridiculously easy to prepare. Just add everything to your crockpot, cover, and walk away. I like to serve it over mashed potatoes with a quick cabbage slaw in the wintertime. I make the cabbage slaw by thinly slicing savoy cabbage and tossing it with roasted walnuts and a homemade red wine vinaigrette (dressing recipe in our cookbook on page 184).

1 medium onion, diced
3 to 4 large carrots, cut into ¼-inch rounds
½ pound mushrooms, quartered
1 pound grass-fed beef stew meat
½ cup water
¼ cup dry red wine
¼ cup tomato puree or sauce
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt or Herbamare
½ teaspoon ground black pepper


Place the onion, carrots, mushrooms, and stew meat into a 3-quart slow cooker. In a small bowl whisk together the water, red wine, tomato puree, and arrowroot. Pour into the slow cooker. Add the salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients together. There won’t be enough liquid to cover the ingredients. This is how it should be so don’t be tempted to add more liquid.

Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. Sometimes I crack the lid for the last 45 minutes or so of cooking in order to cook off some of the liquid which creates a thicker stew. Serves four. Source: www.NourishingMeals.com


15 comments:

  1. This looks so good-- I'm nursing a 4-month-old and have bad CFS so my nutritionist has told me I need more meat than I want to eat and I CRAVE beef... going to try this as soon as I can get my hands on some healthy beef.
    There is one thing I've wondered, though (I'm completely new to eating healthy; used to be a staunch Midwesterner on a meat-and-potatoes diet) I've watched the blog for awhile and you eat lots of plants, chicken and fish and now sometimes beef, but never pork. I don't like pork anyway but is it that much less healthy than beef? Just curious.

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  2. Hi Ali, I know what you mean, being vegetarian and vegan for years of my life, I know the debate, both sides, and it is a sensitive topic! I have found eating organic grass fed meat helpful when I have been on strict elimination diets (after initial phases and while nursing.) Also, when my daughter was first diagnosed with celiac, we where vegan. In addition to avoiding wheat we needed to avoid about 20 other foods we were used to eating. Organic turkey was quick and filling...anyhow thanks for sharing I look forward to trying this, we eat good quaility beef from a local farm about once per month here. Love the veggie post too :)

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  3. This has been a tough area for myself and my husband. For a while he agreed on only grass-fed beef, but then when we moved the prices were too high for him to stomach. He went off of all red meat for a little while, but lately has been craving it and buying the regular stuff. I need to get him back on track!

    This recipe looks great Ali, and perfect for less expensive cuts of better beef.

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  4. After reading your post, I am very grateful that we no longer eat ground beef. Instead we eat ground venison sourced from our family members. I'm all for grass-fed and organic, but it's limited around here and $20 for a single steak from the one source I know if is too much for our budget. For a while, we had a source on the way to our mountain property and loved filling our cooler with great meats when we'd stop by. Now, we largely eat venison over beef, even for stew. Anyway, this recipe looks really great, Ali--thanks!

    Shirley

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  5. I am such a picky meat eater and rarely eat beef, but I'm able to get local 100% grass fed beef or bison, so every so often I make a pot of stew similar to what you have here. It's a nice change on a cold snowy day. I've spent lots of time as a vegetarian and even lived the vegan lifestyle for a couple of years, but I seem to do better having a small amount of carefully chosen animal products. Your stew looks great, Ali!
    Melissa

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  6. Pure Country Pork is a great family business that first started out as a 4-H project. They have certified Pork and are very nice. They also have delicous product. I was very happy to have found them. We have been eating Grass Fed Beef years before it was cool . . .

    http://purecountrypork.com/index.html

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  7. What kind of slow cooking do you use? I heard that some may contain lead. I love you blog! Thank you for sharing with us.

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  8. I am so happy to read that you are listening to your body and eating meat when you feel you need it. I think your approach to eat it at this stage in your childbearing years and to find a good source of the best kind of red meat is the sane approach. I was the same way. As I have gone through menopause, I don't feel that same need to eat meat as often, but my athlete daughter does. Adjusting the budget and being sensible about who needs it and when eating red meat is beneficial is just another way to be a mindful, responsible eater.

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  9. This is very similar to how we cook beef stew and my family loves it! I add one additional spice, herbs de provence, and it gives it a nice flavor.

    The farmer that I buy from sells chuck roast cheaper than already cut up stew meat. It does take a little extra effort, but doing the cutting myself saves me about $2 a pound.

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  10. Unknown - I don't ever cook pork except on occasion I will make organic pork sausages for my boys. I don't have a nutritional comparison off-hand for beef and pork.

    Anon - I talked about lead in crockpots in my last post: http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2012/01/adzuki-bean-and-sea-vegetable-soup.html

    Thanks everyone else for joining in the conversation and adding your little bits of wisdom and stories!

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  11. Hi Ali, I started to eat red meat again after I found my iron to be very low. Now we eat very lean grass fed beef fillet on occassion. This recipe looks flavorful and tender - plus easy to make! Thanks, I look forward to making this.

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  12. This looks DELICIOUS. I love a good beef stew in the winter. I'm also a big supporter of grass fed organic meats but it's pretty expensive (unless it's on sale) so this kind of makes my life. :)
    Thanks Ali!

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  13. Delish! My husband would love this!

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  14. This looks amazing. Glad you included a beef recipe - we eat grass-fed, organic and locally-raised beef here at home. It's more of a treat because of the price, but it's worth it for the health benefits, sustainability, and the flavor!

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  15. This looks so tasty. I eat a lot of beef, but I only eat grass fed beef. Thanks for the info on the health benefits. I think it’s good for people to read and learn about that because there are still so many people that don’t know of all the benefits. A great place to buy grass fed beef is from the La Cense Beef ranch located in Montana. You can order online and have it delivered directly to you. I like their website because they also give you tips on how to cook the beef to maximize the delicious flavors.

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Thanks, and as always, Happy Cooking! Ali & Tom