Happy Tuesday! I want to share with you one of the easiest, yummiest beef stew recipes that can last a few days for your lunches! One of the great benefits about eating in ways to support your health and physical performance is learning some techniques of cooking along the way that can prepare you for the week. When you are satiated throughout the day, there is an increased chance you can avoid the urge to run to the first fast food stop you see after work….and don’t tell me that thought hasn’t crossed your mind!!! We’ve ALL been there!
By learning some of the basics of culinary 101, you will be one step closer towards becoming the self sufficient culinary nutritional machine that you know you can be!
Lets talk about stews. Without going into too much scientific detail, when you choose to make a beef stew, ideally look for tougher cuts of meat…either from the shoulder region, or the behind… (stewing meat pre-cut, chuck roast or eye of round). These are examples of lower priced meats that do well in stews.
The reason is two fold:
1.)These muscles get the most exercise therefore the meat is tougher.
2.) Because of the work the muscle does, it develops more flavour than its trendy counterpart,
Bonus: These cuts are less expensive and go further for your nutritional dollar.
If you know how to cook these cuts properly, you can develop tenderness in the meat and have the greatest flavours in your stews. When you go to prepare this recipe, remember “Maillard Reaction” and “collagen breakdown”….then you’ll be set!
The Maillard Reaction happens when you apply heat to a protein, releasing a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars. All you need to know is that this is what makes the cut of meat taste great. Remember browning= yummy.
Collagen is the connective tissue that binds the muscle together. This is broken down with addition of liquid such as a stock used in stews. That’s why these hard working cuts of meat are perfect for nutritionally packed great tasting slow cooking methods using liquid.
Now to the recipe:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 lb beef, cut into 1 inch dice (stewing meat pre packaged, or another cut that suits your needs)
1 onion, medium dice
2 carrots, peeled, medium dice
1/2 sweet potato, peeled, medium dice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/4 cups beef stock (homemade or store bought all natural gluten free)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 tsp fresh zested lemon peel
1/4 cup Smokey Paprika Roasted Almonds for garnish
Heat 1 tablespoon in a large sauce pan or medium to medium high heat. Add 1/3 of the beef when pan is hot, season with sea salt and cracked pepper. Work in batches to brown meat, set aside. Add a little more oil if needed when browning.
In the same pan, add remaining oil with vegetables and garlic (add garlic after other vegetables are in to avoid burning). Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add spices, stir for 1 minute to release flavours (important!). Add beef back in with stock. Simmer for approximately 1 hour or until beef starts to become tender. At this point add in cranberries and dates. Continue to simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
When done, finish with lemon zest and cilantro just prior to serving.Super easy and this will last a few lunches (or dinners). Prep on Sundays to get ready for the week!
Do you have a secret no fail “get ready for the week recipe”? I would love to hear about it. Share it in the comments – I’d love to try it!
Yours in health,
Now you can take these fundamentals and apply them to another stew with different ingredients, spices or whatever you can dream up!!
It’s your turn! What can you come up with?? Share it!