Monday, October 24, 2011

Beef Broth

Beef Broth is a staple at our house. It is great served on the side with a sandwich and can be used in lots of recipes. So when I can get my hands on grass-fed beef bones, I break out the pans and crock pot and get a batch going as fast as I can. It smells amazing as it cooks and the rich broth is so good for you.

Since I order beef in bulk, I recently acquired several bags of beef bones from grass fed cows. This is the best type of bones to get and will have the most vitamins and minerals within the marrow and meat.
You can ask your butcher to cut them up for you so that the marrow is exposed as often as possible in each piece. It really doesn't matter if they are meaty or not. The nutrition and flavor is so high above anything you can get at the store that the effort is always worth it.

Here is how I make mine.
Place your beef bones in a large roasting pan and place in a 375 degree oven for about an hour. Pictured is a batch of about 5lbs worth.
Bones are ready to roast
Once the bones are brown, you can do one of three things. You can transfer them and all the drippings to a crockpot, you can transfer them to a stockpot or you can continue using the oven to create your broth. I typically transfer to the crockpot as I do not want to burn that much electricity to make my broth, but if you have another heating source(like wood for example) for your stove, it may make more sense to leave it there. I also like the ability for the crock pot to work on its own. I would never leave my stove on if I had to leave the house, but leave my crock pots going quite a bit. 
Back to the process...Make sure you transfer all the drippings that are on the bottom of the pan. This is pure flavor. You can add a little water to the pan to loosen the particles and get them into your crockpot.

Roasted bones are ready to transfer to a crockpot
Cover your bones with water and add a splash of apple cider vinegar. By splash I mean a tablespoon or so. Cook this on high until the water begins to boil, then lower to low for about 24 hours.  You want all the marrow to be cooked out of the bones and with beef bones it takes this long. You can determine this by looking at the bones after they cook overnight. If you still see marrow and the bones are not brittle yet, you can cook it a bit longer.

Once the bones have cooked completely, you can strain the broth, or scoop out the bones with a slotted spoon. I prefer this method, leaving bits and pieces of meat in my broth. I allow the crock pot to cool and place it in the refrigerator. 24 hours more and all the fat will be solidified on the surface. Lift this off and place in a freezer bag. This is tallow and is wonderful for putting in recipes that need fat. I keep a bag in my freezer at all times. The remaining broth will most likely be in a gelatinous state. You can place this in a freezer bag as well, refrigerate in a jar to use within a week, or you can pressure can it for future use. I will typically save up several batches in the freezer and can mine rather than use up the freezer space long term.

So it's really that easy. You are going to be so pleased with how its tastes, and once you see how easy it is, I am sure you will want to make this again and again and will start looking for bones to roast!  By the way, if you have a bone from a pot roast, you do not need to brown the bone, just place it in water and simmer. Since these bones are typically very small, you can save them in the freezer until you have enough to cook a decent sized batch.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Free Kindle Book

Gluten Free Sauerbraten

Pot roast is an economical meal and is easy to fix in a crock pot. This recipe brings back fond memories of my grandmother who could cook the best pot roast on the east coast. Finding pot roast on sale is not usually difficult and you could also use stew beef.  The most expensive player in the recipe is usually the gluten free ginger snaps. If you don't make your own, watch for them in your local scratch and dent store or for a sale. They keep a loooooong time since they are very hard cookie anyway. I changed the recipe to use gluten free ginger snaps, so we can all enjoy it but if you aren't allergic to wheat, you can use the regular ones. Sauerbraten goes well with mashed potatoes, egg noodles or spaetzel. Maybe some sauerkraut on the side.

2 T lard
3lb grass fed Pot Roast
1/2 c braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
1 C gluten free Ginger Snaps
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 C water
2 T sugar
2 bay leaves

The How To's:
Brown your meat in the lard in a skillet or dutch oven on medium high heat. Searing all sides. Place roast in crock pot. Pour vinegar over the roast and add the bay leaves. Brown the chopped onion in the drippings. Pour over the roast. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until tender.

When the roast is almost done, Put two cups of water in bowl and add the ginger snaps, allowing them to soak and soften and set aside. Once the roast is tender, remove the roast to a platter. Add ginger snaps mixture and stir into the drippings to make a gravy. Add more gf flour if needed to thicken the gravy. Using an immersion blender mix everything well. Strain the gravy, removing the bay leaves and any chunks of onion. Return the roast to the gravy and bring back up to serving temperature. Serves 6-8.

*This recipe can be made in a dutch oven as well. Cooked at a simmer, it takes about 3 hours to get the meat tender.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

Warm and satisfying, this soup will stick to your ribs and is a favorite for the entire family!


½ lb of uncured bacon
1 lb pototoes(russets, Yukon gold or red)
1 large onion, chopped
1 quart chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 T potato starch
¼ cup cool water
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup grass-fed raw cream
2 T fresh chopped chives
1 cup shredded grass-fed cheddar cheese
1 cup cultured sour cream

The How To’s:
Fry bacon. Meanwhile peel and cut potato up into one-inch cubes. Remove cooked bacon to a paper towel to drain and fry chopped onion in the drippings until tender. Pour onion and drippings over potatoes. Add chicken stock, garlic and salt. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours (potato should be tender). Chop up drained bacon and refrigerate in a covered dish.
Once potatoes are done, mash mixture until about half the potatoes are coarsely mashed. Mix potato starch in a measuring cup with cold water water to remove lumps and pour into crockpot to thicken the broth. Stir to blend in the mixture well. Add cooked bacon, liquid smoke, cream, and pepper until well blended. Cook on low for about 5 more minutes to heat through and allow soup to thicken. Salt to taste.  Serve in bowls topped with a little cheese, sour cream and sprinkled with chives. I like to add some fresh ground black pepper. Tastes just like a baked potato!

This can easily be made dairy free by eliminating the cream and cheese. You can use coconut milk if you miss the rich, creaminess cream imparts and Cheddar rice shreds taste great on top if you desire that sharp cheese taste.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gluten-Free Apple Cider Donuts

As fall rolls in, I have really been resenting my recent status of "gluten intolerant." I thought I had a handle on it as I learned to substitute rice pasta in my lasagna and how to always have a gluten-free Udi's hamburger bun in my freezer in case of a last minute trip to a restaurant for dinner, but I was still pretty grumpy about not eating the wheat bread I bake for my family and the chewiness of a hunk of french bread served with my french onion soup.
Earlier today I received an email for a recipe for Apple Cider donuts and that put me over the edge. I was craving the taste of a fried donut. The sweetness, the texture, the idea of having one, put me on a one-way track to a new recipe. I experimented with the flours I had and what I had learned so far about combining them and this is what I ended up with.
They come out soft and tender but don't fall apart and as they cool the outside becomes crunchy, which was delightful news to my crunch-deprived palate. I used Truvia and cinnamon to roll the dough in after frying, which cut down on the sugar. I plan to experiment more with the Truvia in my batter but I think the sugar will be tough to replace as far as what it lends to the texture and flavor.

1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 T xanthan gum
1  cup of evaporated cane juice(divided)
1 tsp baking powder(aluminum free)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon(divided)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs from pastured hens, beaten
Lard or coconut oil for frying

The How To's:
In a small saucepan, heat the apple cider to a boil and continue to boil until it is reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from heat and add the coconut oil and allow to melt. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a small, deep bowl, combine 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice or granulated stevia with 1 tsp cinnamon. Mix well and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar and dry seasoning. Mix well with a whisk. Make a well in the center and add the vanilla, beaten egg and cooled oil and cider mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until you have a dough similar to cookie dough.

Heat a fat of your choice for frying in a dutch oven. I prefer coconut oil or lard. Heat to frying temperature(about 350 degrees). Take a large metal spoon and scoop up a dough ball, the size of a golf ball. Gently drop into the hot fat. Fry, turning if necessary and cook until brown. Remove with a metal slotted spoon and lay on folded paper towels to drain for about 30 seconds. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture while still hot. Place on a cookie sheet and put on hold in a warm oven.  Repeat the process with the remaining dough.

Serve your donuts to a delighted brood of children and husbands :)  Makes 18 donut holes.

*Amazon links are not referral links

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Red beans and Rice

There is nothing quite as satisfying on a cool fall evening. I have been tweaking this recipe for some time and this is my favorite version yet. I utilize ingredients that I store in my winter pantry but feel free to use fresh where you can. Red beans and rice make a complete protein, so the meat is not necessary. I We add it for the flavor and I like to keep scraps of ham around for all sorts of things. It is an economical dish and easy to make.
You can measure out the morning ingredients and put them in the refrigerator in a covered container if you need to have something quick and easy to prepare before you leave the house in the morning. Soaking the beans overnight allows them to fully cook in a short amount of time, but I like to let this recipe simmer all day. The flavor is exceptional. This recipe has just the slightest bite to it from the jalapeno but isn't too spicy for our family. If your family isn't fond of spice, you can eliminate the jalapeno.

The night before...
1lb of dried small red beans
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine
1/2 cup bacon fat from uncured bacon

In the morning...
1 chunk smoked ham(about a one cup piece) without nitrites or fresh uncured ham and a tsp of liquid smoke
1 cup dried onion(or 2 cups fresh, chopped)
2 t garlic powder(1 T fresh, chopped)
2 T dried oregano
2 T evaporated cane juice
2 T dried basil
1 T dried thyme
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt to taste

In a large crockpot, pour your dried beans, which have been rinsed and sorted. Add the jalapeno and lard and cover with water. Soak the beans overnight.

In the morning, add the rest of the ingredients except salt.  Cook on low all day, watching the liquid level to make sure beans stay covered until tender but then allow it to cook off toward dinner time. When beans are tender, use a potato masher to mash about half the beans. This will thicken up the liquid quite a bit. You can use a little cornmeal sprinkled in to thicken it up further if needed as you want a thick sauce when you serve it.

Serve over a bowl of hot, cooked brown rice.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Green Chili Stew

This recipe became a meal due to miscellaneous leftovers, but turned out really yummy. Its a versatile recipe and its also gluten free and very warm and satisfying on a cold fall evening.

1 lb of grass-fed beef(Stew beef or ground beef works fine) or chicken
1 T bacon fat from grass-fed pigs
1 med organic white onion, chopped(1/4 cup dried flakes is fine)
4 cups fresh peeled, cubed organic potato
3/4 cup of chopped mild chilies(in Latino section of the grocery store)
1/4 cup(approx) of chopped hot chilies(I used my canned hot banana peppers-do this to taste)
1 1/2 cups of corn kernels(fresh off the cob, canned or frozen)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Chicken broth(about 4 cups)
1 T chili powder(green chili powder or red is fine)
sea salt and pepper to taste
 Start by browning the meat(if uncooked) in a skillet with the bacon fat. Spoon the meat into your crock pot immediately and start it cooking so it will be tender. Brown the onion in the drippings and spoon that over the meat. Add the potato and corn, chilis and seasonings. Cover with chicken broth and set on low until meat and potatoes are tender*. Once tender, add 1/2 cup of corn flour and stir in to thicken up the broth. You can serve this over rice or in a bowl with a little cheese and sour cream. Maybe a thick slice of cornbread on the side? YUM!
 *Obviously using ground beef will cook faster than stew meat. You can have that ready in a few hours. When I use the stew meat, I usually add the potatoes later or cut them in bigger hunks so they don't get too mushy before the meat is tender.