Friday, February 03, 2006

good ole beef stew in the crockpot

Nothing fancy here. It's one of those staples on a cold weekend.

1-2 lbs. grass-fed beef stew meat
3 T flour
1 t salt
1 3/4 c beef stock or water
3 medium potatoes, cubed
4-5 carrots, sliced
1 c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T tomato paste
1 T worchestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 t paprika
Black pepper
fresh parsley
fresh rosemary
Splash of red wine

Put the beef in the crock pot and mix with the flour and salt. Add the rest of the ingredients through the black pepper and mix. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. Go have fun somewhere. About 30 minutes or so before you're ready to turn it off, add the herbs and wine.

This is a very forgiving recipe for substitutions and additions. If you have room and you have mushrooms, by all means, add them. You can add them with the wine.

A few words about the beef - We don't eat a lot of red meat, for budgetary and cholesterol reasons. But when I do, I now buy my beef from Rocking F Farms at the Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market. They sell their local farm-grown, pasture-raised beef from a cooler, which they replenish from a freezer that they haul on a trailer. Their prices are competitive with the industrial beef you find at the grocery store.

The friendly vendor is more than happy to discuss what they feed their cows and how they are raised. They raise most of their own feed, and do not use growth hormones. The cows are pasture fed until the last six weeks or so when they are switched to a grain mix on site so there's no need for unnecessary antibiotics.

The thought of eating industrial "confined animal feeding operation" beef makes me queasy since I read Power Steer by Michael Pollan (must reading if you care about what you and your family eat), so if I can't afford better quality, I just do without.

I didn't have beef stock, but I added 2 T of Vogue Cuisine Instant Beef Flavored Base to the water, and I thought that it was good. I also use their vegetarian chicken-flavored base. It contains mostly organic ingredients, but no organic seal.

beef stew meat: Rocking F Farms at Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market
flour, beef-flavored base, vegetables, spices: Deep Roots Market
tomato paste, worchestershire sauce: Harris Teeter
parsley, rosemary: My back yard
red wine: A neighbor's gift

Cross-posted from The Mock Turtle's Song.

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