Lately I’ve been dreaming of cooler weather.  I want boots, cool breezes and have even been thinking of soups. (Of course it’s still very warm here in Alabama)  blogstewpicSo I gave into the soup idea not just because I’m ready for fall but also because I’m super busy this week and need nutritious food for my family without a lot of time in the kitchen and not a lot of cleaning time spent after.  So soup it is! But because I’m not so big on soup most of the time, it had to be good and it had to be comfort food!  Stew it is!  I knew I wanted a gravy like consistency and ground beef is what I had on hand so I put these things together and it was even better the next day.  Best part: only had to do dishes once!  Ok, Meatball stew it is:) The recipe is as follows:

1 pound grass-fed ground beef

1 cup fresh parsley

1 cup chopped leeks or other type onion

2 cups white sweet potatoes

2 cups chopped vegetables (I used carrots, green beans and cabbage but any type vegetable that you have on hand will do.  Root vegetables are most traditional)

2 large cloves of garlic

2 quarts bone broth

Sea Salt- about a teaspoon, divided

1/4 teaspoon thyme

black pepper to taste (omit for AIP)

bacon drippings or other cooking fat

1/4 cup arrowroot powder or 1 cup cauliflower, steamed for a low carb option (make extra in case you want it thicker)

In a crockpot or medium to large stock pot, pour the bone broth and begin to heat this on medium low for a pot and high on a crockpot.  If choosing the low carb option, simply put the cauliflower into the broth and blend with a hand-stick blender until the desired consistency is achieved.  If you are using arrowroot, then it is important that you do not add anything else to the soup before you have this heated, as it will make your “gravy” lumpy and you will be unable to stir it to get it smooth.  When the broth is warm, you will add the arrowroot and use a whisk to blend thoroughly to prevent clumping.   Small clumps will dissipate as it cooks and are not a big deal.  If your broth did not gel, you may also add some grass-fed beef gelatin for extra nutrition and gut health benefits. I added 2-3 tablespoons to mine because my batch did not get like I wanted.

in a food processor, mix the parsley and leeks and process till the mixture is finely chopped.  Add approximately 1/2 cup of this to your ground beef meatballsblogpicinto a mixing bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon of your sea salt and about 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, if using this.  Combine mixture thoroughly and then form into meatballs.  I use smaller meatballs but the size is your preference.

In a cast iron or  stainless steel pan, heat some oil over medium low heat.  Brown lightly the meatballs on at least 2 sides, but try not to cook them all the way through.  It is ok if you do, but even better if they finish cooking in the soup.  If you don’t brown them in the skillet first, they will not stay together in the soup and you will just have hamburger stew.  If you like that idea, skip the meatball step and just brown the meat in the skillet partially before adding it to the soup.

Add the meatballs or ground beef mixture to the broth and turn the broth to a low simmer for a slow cook.  Add the rest of the ingredients, including the rest of the parsley/leek mixture.  Add the salt gradually or at the end to make sure the saltiness is at the level you prefer.  I like mine less so I added only an additional 1/2 teaspoon.  My husband prefers more salty so he put some additional on his bowl.  Taste to make sure its as you prefer.

I cooked mine until the potatoes were soft.  I cooked mine in a crockpot (my crockpot was on high to speed things up) for about4 hours.  I also served it the next day and everything was even better! We got 2 light meals with this recipe for 2 adults. Serve with cauli- rice, or over mashed cauliflower/ cauliflower grits for a real comfort food treat or by itself with some paleo bread or a salad.

Other suggested vegetables besides carrots and white sweet potatoes are cabbage, rutabaga, turnips, cauliflower, cabbage, even broccoli.  The broth of the soup is basically gravy, which makes everything delicious!  And with good ingredients, comforting and healthy also! As always, to your health! I hope you enjoy.