Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gluten-free Beef Stew

Gluten-free beef stew with Traditional Dinner Rolls from "Gluten-Free Baking Classics."

Buttercup's mother hesitated, then put her stew spoon down. (This was after stew, but so is everything. When the first man first clambered from the slime and made his first home on land, what he had for supper that first night was stew.)
-from William Goldman's "The Princess Bride"

I love beef stew. When I was a kid, my mom would make make homemade bread, and then serve it for dinner with beef stew. Stew is comfort food for me. I used to get kind of sad when summer would come and the weather would be too hot to eat it. I got really sad when I read the label on the stew seasoning mix and realized that it had wheat flour in it. But now that I have a from scratch beef stew recipe, I can't figure out why I was using a mix for something I love so much (that has happened to me a lot since my son's diagnosis).

This recipe is a combination of three recipes; the method from my stew mix recipe, and a combination of ingredients from a crock pot beef stew recipe, and a stew recipe off a beef broth web site. I make a simple meat, carrots and potatoes version, but you could always add a chopped onion, a couple of stalks of chopped celery, or a handful of green beans if that is what your family likes. You can use stew meat, but I find that the quality and quantity of fat in it varies widely depending on your source, and so I prefer to buy London Broil (on sale, if I can), trim it, and cut it into bite size pieces. Use 2 pounds if you like it beefy, but if you are feeling frugal, you can get away with a pound and lots of veggies.

Gluten-free Beef Stew
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1-2 lbs. stew meat, or London Broil, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup sweet rice flour, or white rice flour if you can't find sweet rice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 cups beef broth (a 32-oz box)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
4-5 medium carrots
4-5 medium potatoes

Put the stew meat, rice flour, salt and pepper in plastic container with a lid (I use a 7-cup Rubbermaid). Shake it up. Heat the canola oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat (I use a 4-quart pan) and brown the stew meat in 2 batches. There will be flour left in the bottom of the Rubbermaid, don't dump it all in the pan, or throw it out. Add garlic powder, bay leaves, and paprika to the leftover flour. When all your beef is browned, add it all back into your pot. Add your broth, and the leftover flour and spices, and the Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil over medium heat. When it comes to a boil, turn it down to a simmer (make sure it is just bubbling), cover with a lid, and let cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally. At that point, peel your carrots and potatoes, chop into bite-size pieces, and add to the pot. Bring back to a boil, turn down to a simmer (make sure it is just bubbling), cover and let it cook, stirring occasionally, for another 45 minutes or until your vegetables are cooked.

To cook in a crock pot: Reduce beef broth to 1 1/2-2 cups, reduce Worcestershire to 1/2 Tbsp., and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.

Note for diabetics: I figure 15 g of carbohydrates for each 1/2 cup of potatoes and carrots.

If you haven't read "The Princess Bride," you should. The book will make you laugh even more than the movie. And who doesn't need a good laugh these days!


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