Gluten Free Beef Stew

I have been making this beef stew for many years, decades in fact.  It’s a hearty meal simmered all day in the crock-pot, a real family favorite!  Most of the ingredients are naturally gluten free, so after my diagnosis it was easy to adapt my tried and true recipe to a gluten free version.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. choice stew beef, cubed
  • 2-3 extra large carrots, peeled and cut into thick coins
  • 2 russet potatoes, skin on and cut into chunks
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 package crimini mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 can gluten free cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp. dry basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • fresh Italian parsley

Preparation:

Before preparing any recipe I always go over the ingredient list to check for gluten.  Beyond the obvious things like flour, all seasonings and processed ingredients should be verified gluten free.  In this recipe, I have always used a can of cream of mushroom soup.  Since many canned soups contain gluten, I shopped around before making my stew and found this one.  It’s certified gluten free!

Now, let’s get started on the recipe.  Set up your crock-pot, and a large stainless steel skillet (not non-stick).  Yes, you can just throw all of the ingredients into the crock-pot, but I like to build layers of flavor by browning.  This can be the difference between a mediocre stew and a great one.  Whisk together the wine, cream of mushroom soup and dried basil.

Next, begin browning the ingredients in a small amount of olive oil.  Start with the beef.

Don’t crowd the pan, you want to get some good color on the outside (if the pieces are too close together the meat will steam in its own liquid).  I did my beef in 2 batches.

Once the beef goes into the crock-pot, you will see some nice browned bits on the bottom of your skillet.

Pour 1/3 cup of the wine mixture into the hot pan to deglaze, using a spatula to scrape up all of the browned bits, they are full of flavor!

Pour the liquid into the crock-pot and add more olive oil to the skillet.  Begin browning the veggies, a few minutes each starting with the onions.

Continue with the mushrooms, followed by the potatoes and carrots.

As you brown the veggies, season with salt and pepper, and layer them in the crock-pot.  Pour the rest of the wine mixture into the crock-pot, along with the garlic and bay leaves.

Stir well, then cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  Tick-tock.

Half way through, stir the ingredients again.  Looking good.

After 8 hours, the beef will be very tender and a fork should slide easily through the veggies.  Serve in dinner bowls, with a sprinkle of fresh Italian parsley.

Notes ♪♫  I used Health Valley Cream of Mushroom Soup in this recipe.  I love that it is both gluten free and organic, but when I have time I also make my own Mushroom Soup from scratch.  You can find this surprisingly easy recipe here and see how I use it in my winter stews and casseroles.

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Slow Cooked BBQ Baked Beans

Be the star of your next cookout or potluck with these delicious, slow cooked beans.  The best part of the recipe, it cooks overnight!  This leaves you free to do other things the day of your event.  Be sure to have all of the ingredients on hand, to allow enough time for soaking and cooking, 24 hours total!  For best flavor and texture, don’t try to speed up the recipe.  Start soaking the beans in the morning, and prepare them for the crockpot in the evening.  You may find it hard to sleep, with all the amazing aromas coming from your kitchen!

This is an old family recipe that I have adapted to be gluten free.  The biggest change was that I left out beer, and substituted an equal amount of club soda.  Other than that, I just had to check the ingredient labels on my bacon, BBQ sauce, ketchup and Worcestershire.  Are beans gluten free?  Yes, they are a naturally gluten free food!  I always give them a thorough rinse before cooking to be on the safe side, in case of cross contact during processing.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bag of navy beans
  • 12 oz. package of gluten free, lower sodium bacon (I used Smithfield)
  • 1/2 Vidalia or sweet onion, cut into small dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup of club soda
  • 3/4 cup gluten free BBQ sauce (I used Stubbs Smoky Mesquite)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten free, unsalted ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • 1 cup of Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey
  • 2 tsp. dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. gluten free Worcestershire sauce
  • up to 1 cup of water, only if needed, to adjust thickness
  • cooking spray

Preparation:

In the morning, place the beans in a sauce pan and add at least 6 cups of cold water.  Cover and soak (no heat) for 10 hours.  For guaranteed tender beans, never salt the soaking water!

The beans will double or more in size.

After 10 hours, drain the beans and rinse them thoroughly.  Return them to the pot, cover with water and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 30 minutes then drain and rinse again.

Set up your crockpot and mist it with cooking spray.  While the beans simmer, heat a large nonstick skillet and cook the bacon until crisp.  Drain on paper towels, then crumble or chop into 1/2″ pieces.

Skim the bacon fat and remove any burnt debris.  You should be left with a few tablespoons of clear fat in the pan.  Add the onions and cook just until lightly browned.  Add the garlic, stir for a few seconds then pour everything into the crockpot, fat included.

Add the club soda, sugar, ketchup, molasses, whiskey, mustard, cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to the crockpot and stir well to combine with the onion mixture.  Finally, stir in the drained beans and the chopped bacon.

Cover and cook for 12 hours on low overnight.  Stir every 4 hours (or whenever you wake up) and check the consistency as the sauce thickens, if the mixture is too dry add a bit more water.

After 12 hours, set the crock-pot to keep warm.  Let the beans sit for 2 more hours on warm to finish absorbing the liquid.

You can see why this recipe has become a family favorite!

You’ll get rave reviews when you make this dish!  I hope you will give it a try for your next family gathering!

Notes ♪♫   I opt for lower sodium ingredients wherever possible.  Given the amount of salt in the bacon, you will not notice if it is absent in some of the condiments.

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Gluten Free Crock-Pot Turkey Drumsticks

Turkey Drumsticks can be dry and tough when roasted, but they come out moist and falling off the bone tender when cooked in the Crock-Pot.  This time of year, it is easy to find turkey drumsticks at the market for a very good price.  Crock-Pot recipes like this one are so easy and can really free up my schedule.  I started this dish around 11:00am and it was ready in time for dinner at 6:30.

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Ingredients:

  • Turkey Legs (plan on one per person)
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 5 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/4 cup sweet white rice flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup gluten free chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • cooking spray
  • fresh rosemary for garnish

Preparation:

Chop the onions, celery and carrots into large chunks.  Mist the crock-pot with cooking spray and add the veggies in an even layer.

Rinse the turkey legs and pat dry.  Add the flour to a food safe plastic bag, they place the turkey legs in the bag.  Twist to close and shake to coat the legs evenly with flour.

Use a stainless-steel skillet (not non-stick) to brown the legs in olive oil, about 5 minutes per side.  Don’t crowd the pan, brown the meat in batches if necessary.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the drumsticks in the crock-pot on top of the vegetables.

Next deglaze the pan.  Remove the skillet from the heat and slowly pour in the wine.  Return to the heat and use a spatula to scrape up all the little brown bits, then let it simmer for a minute.  Strain the solids and reserve the wine.

Whisk together the reserved wine, chicken broth, sage, thyme, garlic powder and turmeric.  Drizzle over the turkey legs.  The vegetables and meat will release their own liquid as they cook, so don’t add more.

Now set your crock-pot to low and cook for 7 – 8 hours.

That’s all there is to it!  Arrange the drumsticks on a serving platter and drizzle a bit of the pan juices over the meat.  For a nice presentation you can garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs or other herbs.

Notes ♪♫ Don’t discard those veggies and juices in the bottom of the crockpot.  They will make an incredible soup stock or base for sauces and gravies.  I like to puree it then store in the refrigerator or freezer, ready for my next creation!

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Crock-Pot Asian Chicken

Crock-Pot meets Stir-Fry

Hello friends!  While so many are staying home and ordering takeout these days, I’m feeling a bit left out.  Most restaurants offering curbside delivery in our area are not dedicated gluten free, and I am not comfortable ordering when I cannot speak to staff face to face about their allergen protocol.

So today it’s off to the kitchen to satisfy my craving!  I’m using the Crock-Pot along with my skillet to create an absolutely amazing dish that rivals any restaurant!

The Lazy Gastronome

Crock-Pot Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp. tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp. dry minced onion flakes
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
  • cooking spray
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch + 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

Stir-Fry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • pinch of garlic granules or garlic powder
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 large egg + 1 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 cup slivered carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup scallions
  • 1 cup baby bok choy
  • sesame oil
  • gluten free tamari
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup more chicken broth

Preparation:

Coat the crock-pot with cooking spray and add the whole chicken breast.  Whisk together the honey, tamari, dried onion flakes, ketchup, canola oil, garlic and ginger.  Pour it over the chicken, cover and cook on high for one hour, then reduce heat to low and cook 2 more hours.

While the chicken cooks, make the rice.  Cook 1 cup of brown rice in 1 cup chicken broth, 1 cup water, seasoned with salt and garlic powder.  When the rice is finished, let it cool to room temperature and set aside until the chicken is ready.

After 3 hours the chicken should be cooked through and very tender.  Remove to a cutting board and cut into 1″ pieces.

Skim fat from the crock-pot and whisk in 2 tsp. cornstarch.

Return the diced chicken and turn heat back to high to thicken the sauce.  Alternately you can transfer to a small sauce pot as I’ve done here.  Keep warm while you finish the dish.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium low heat.  Whisk the egg with 1 tbsp. water, scramble and chop into small pieces.  Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.  Wipe the skillet clean and begin cooking the veggies in a little sesame oil.  I started with the carrots and onions as they take longest.

After a few minutes, add the peas, mushrooms and scallions with a little more oil and cook 2 minutes more.  Finally, add the bok choy with a few shakes of tamari and stir well to blend.

To finish, add back the rice and the scrambled egg with a few more shakes of tamari, along with 1/3 to 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Quickly toss and stir to incorporate the rice and veggies until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is heated through.  Transfer to a serving platter.

Spoon the chicken over the fried rice and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Notes: ♪♫  Many are surprised to learn that soy sauce is not gluten free.  The soy is fermented in wheat, making it unsafe for those of us with Celiac disease.  In this recipe I used San J brand gluten free Tamari in place of soy sauce.  It is a great addition to any Asian inspired recipe and also great for marinades.

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