There was a virus making it's way around our neighborhood. My son was sniffling, my husband was sneezing, and I was feeling the first twinges of a scratchy throat.
I needed to get some concentrated nutrition into our bodies, and I needed to cloak it in tasty-goodness. Enter the crockpot and a left-over beef roast.
This is a very simple recipe, made even more encouraging by the fact that it does NOT need all day to cook. Mine was on the table in about four hours.
I am making some assumptions (yes, yes, I know...) about the state of leftovers and prequels in your fridge/freezer. Make do with what you have. The secret weapon here is the pastured chicken stock made with lots of chicken feet. In my house, chicken feet are considered 'icky' by the men, so I have to hide them as best I am able...
The meats in this recipe are from grass fed, pastured animals. The veggies are homegrown or organic. Please try to find a high-quality beef base without lots of additives or chemicals. It's just better for you. If you have beef stock, use that, but still make some chicken feet stock for at least 1/2 the liquid.
A Side Note: If you are using local and organic (please, do!) veggies, save your peels and end pieces in a bag in the freezer. Next time you make stock, add these peels and pieces to your stock - they will add nutrition and flavor.
Recipe: Crockpot Beef Stew with Dumplings
2 quarts homemade chicken stock, brought to boiling point
2 1/2 lbs leftover beef roast, cubed
2 cups frozen string beans
1 large stalk celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
6 cups potatoes, peeled & chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp beef base (adjust for taste)
Turn crockpot on high. Bring the stock to a boil on the stove, then add to the crockpot. Add all the ingredients, then cover and let cook for 3 1/2 hours. Do NOT take the lid off. (I read that when you lift the lid, it takes the crockpot 20 minutes to come back up to temperature.)
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
Combine the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter. Mix the egg and milk together, then add it to the dry ingredients. You want this mixture to look and feel like biscuit dough, so add more flour if you need to.
When well-incorporated, form dough into golf-ball sizes and place in the simmering stew. They will expand, so don't put them too close together. Close lid and leave to cook for 35 minutes. Open lid and cook another 10 minutes.
This recipe makes enough for about 12 servings. I took my leftovers and stashed them away in the freezer. Next week, I will make pie crust, and add some mushrooms and onions and peas, thicken the broth, and turn it into a meat pie. Yum!