Paleo Steak and Kidney Pie

How can a pie be paleo?  Easy, you make a grain-free pastry, and use it to top a rich steak and kidney stew.

I love the steak and kidney mixture because it is so rich and flavourful, but it is also a good way of getting extra organ meat into your diet.

I made this for dinner, and was insanely proud of how well it worked.

The crust actually resembled a proper pie crust, and was a good accompaniment to the steak and kidney.  This is gluten, egg and dairy free, and could be adapted to being 100% AIP friendly by replacing the ground flax meal with more coconut flour.

The flax meal makes this a stage 2 reintroduction recipe.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

I served this with cauliflower mashed potatoes and some sauteed ruby chard.

Paleo Steak and Kidney Pie

serves 6-8

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For the steak and kidney

  • 2lb beef kidney
  • 3lb round steak – cubed
  • 2 tbsp lard
  • 2 onions – chopped
  • 2 carrots – peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery – chopped
  • 6oz mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 cups beef bone broth
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (omit the pepper if strict AIP)
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder

For the pastry

  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup ground flax meal (or extra coconut flour if strict AIP)
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • scant ½ cup of boiling water

The first thing you need to do is to trim the beef kidney.  All the white parts in the cent are tough and gristly, and they need to be cut away from the darker kidney meat.  This can be quite a fiddly time consuming job, but is necessary.  I usually start by cutting the kidney into pieces:

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Then I cut away all the white parts leaving as much of the brown as I can.

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Once that is done, cube your steak and season it.

Melt 1 tbsp lard in a heavy skillet and add the steak a few pieces at a time.  Brown the meat evenly on all sides.  It is important not to over crowd the pan, so work in batches.

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Once all the steak is browned, add the kidney to the pan and brown that as well.

Now in a large stew-pot, melt the remaining tbsp of lard and add the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms.  Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until the vegetables are browning slightly and starting to get tender.

Add the meat to the vegetables, toss in a bay leaf and thyme, and pour over the bone broth.  Season with sea salt and black pepper and allow the mixture to simmer for 1 – 1½ hours, by which time the meat should be tender.

Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Mix the arrowroot powder with a little cold water and add this to the pot.  Allow the mixture to simmer until thickened.

Place the meat mixture into a pie dish – I used a 9×9″ square one

Once this is done, you need to make the pastry:

Mix the tapioca flour with the coconut flour, ground flaxmeal (or extra coconut flour if AIP), and stir in the baking soda cream of tartar and salt.

Rub the coconut oil into the flour mixture.

Add the hot water and knead well.

Form into a ball and roll out to the size of the pie dish.  Place the pie crust over the top of the meat in the pie dish.

Bake the pie in a 200°C/400°F oven for 20-25 minutes until the top is browned and the filling is hot and bubbly.

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Serve at once.

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I served this with cauliflower mash and sauteed ruby chard.

Shared at Allergy Free Wednesday #111

Shared at Gluten Free Friday #88

Almond Crackers

I don’t like making paleo versions of SAD foods very often, but sometimes it makes life easier, especially when it comes to packing lunches or for quick snacks.

One thing that the girls have been missing is crackers, so I decided I would make some for them as a treat.

Because these crackers are based on almonds and also contain whole eggs, they are an AIP stage 2 reintroduction food.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Almond Crackers

makes 12-15

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  • 1 cup of almond meal
  • 1 lg egg
  • 2 tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor until it comes together as a dough.  If it is too sticky, add a little more coconut flour – not too much, coconut flour tends to absorb an very large amount of liquid.

Turn out the dough onto a piece of baking parchment and flatten it out a little with your hands.  Cover with a second sheet of parchment and roll the dough out to the desired thickness.

Peel off the top layer of paper, cut in to crackers and place the parchment on a baking sheet.  Prick each cracker a few times with a fork.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden.

Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

I served these to the girls for a snack with some cheese.

Shared at Gluten-Free Wednesdays 4-23-14

Seafood Chowder – Gluten Free, Dairy Free, AIP, Paleo

Tonight we had a seafood chowder for dinner, and it was gluten-free, dairy-free, AIP-friendly and Paleo….

How is that possible?  Doesn’t chowder contain potatoes and other non-paleo, non-AIP ingredients? And aren’t most chowders thickened with flour and laced with dairy products?

Well I managed it with some sneaky substitutions, and while this chowder does taste a little sweeter than most (thanks to the white sweet potatoes I used), it still has a delicious savoriness about it thanks to all the seafood and the fish broth.  It also has a wonderful creamy texture.

Seriously, this is one kick-ass chowder!

I made this for dinner and served it with my plantain muffins (can we say carb overload here?), but it would be equally good for lunch.  Next time, I might give the muffins a miss and serve it with a green salad for a less carby, lighter option.  But even so, I was really happy with the results

You can use any seafood you want as long as you keep the amounts the same – in this chowder I used a frozen seafood mixture that contained clams, mussels and scallops (aprox 1lb worth) along with 8oz of cod fillet.  But feel free to use all clams to make a clam chowder, all crabmeat to make a crab chowder or whatever floats your boat….  this is a very forgiving recipe and you can add whatever protein ingredient you like the most.

Seafood Chowder

serves 6

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  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or fat of choice (this would be awesome made with bacon fat!)
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 stick of celery – diced
  • 2 carrots – peeled and diced (aprox 1 cup)
  • 1 cup rutabaga (diced)
  • 4 cups of white sweet potato – divided into 2 (you could probably use an orange sweet potato in this but it would affect the colour)
  • 1 cup fish bone broth  (I also added the juices that had collected in the packet of my seafood mixture)
  • 2 cans of coconut milk – reserve half a can to blend the sweet potatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • sea salt
  • 1.5lb  mixed seafood of choice (I used a frozen seafood mix that contained clams, mussels and scallops along with some diced cod)
  • 1 bunch of green onions chopped
  • chopped parsley to garnish

First up you are going to heat your coconut oil or other fat in a large pan over a low heat.  Add the onion, celery, carrot and rutabaga and sautee for 10 minutes until tender.

Add 2 cups of the diced sweet potato along with the fish broth (if you have no fish broth substitute chicken broth along with a dash of fish sauce) and 1.5 cans of coconut milk.

Toss in the bay leaves and thyme and season to taste with sea salt.

Simmer over a low heat.

Add the remaining sweet potatoes to a separate pan and cover with water.   Simmer until tender.

Drain the sweet potatoes in the water and place in a blender with the reserved coconut milk.  Blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour the contents of the blender into the soup and bring back to a simmer.

Add the chopped green onions and the seafood and simmer until cooked through – no more than 2 minutes if your seafood is cooked (you are just reheating it in the soup) and no more than 5 minutes if the seafood is raw – we do not want overcooked tough seafood here folks!

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Serve at once garnished with chopped parsley.

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As I mentioned earlier I served it with plantain muffins but tbh, they were gilding the lily – the chowder was satisfying enough by itself.  The plantain muffins also contain whole eggs and are therefore a stage 2 reintroduction recipe.

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Shared at the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundup 21

Shared at Allergy Free Wednesday #111

Shared at Gluten Free Wednesday 4-23-14

Shared at Simple Meals Friday #28

Shared at Wellness Wednesday

Shared at Five Friday Finds

Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”

Because I can’t have regular mashed potatoes (potatoes are a nightshade) while on AIP, I have been eating a lot of alternative mashed “potatoes”.

Cauliflower mash is one of my favourites because it does not have too strong a flavour, and the texture actually does resemble mashed potato.

Unlike a lot of other mashed root vegetables, cauliflower is also low-carb, which makes it great for those who want to loose weight or are eating a low-carb version of Paleo.  They are also dairy-free the way I make them, which means that they fit well on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)

This is a very, very simple recipe to make, and far quicker than boiling potatoes for regular mash.  I use either coconut oil or bacon fat to make these (they are really yummy with the bacon fat), but if you preferred and you “do” dairy, you could use either ghee or butter (ghee/butter is an AIP stage 2 reintroduction).

Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”

serves 4

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  • 1 large head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • ¼ cup of coconut oil or bacon-fat (or ghee or butter if you “do” dairy)
  • 1-2 tbsp full-fat coconut milk – optional
  • sea salt

I prefer to steam my cauliflower for cauli mash as it means that it is not too wet.  I find that boiling them in water makes for a very sloppy mash.

Steam the cauliflower florets for 12 – 15 minutes over boiling water until they are fork tender

Now place the coconut oil or bacon fat in the blender with the the cauliflower and a generous seasoning of salt.

Process until smooth.

If the mash is not thin enough, add a little coconut milk to soften it up.

And that is is….  Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”.

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An alternative that I sometimes make is to add the cloves from a bulb of roasted garlic to the mash, which gives it an incredible flavour.  Not harsh and garlicy, but more mild and slightly sweet.

Packed Lunch (04/26/14)

This is what I prepared for our packed lunch:

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Clockwise from the top left-hand corner:

We both took a reusable water bottle filled with water to drink, and Hubby and I had tea while at work as well.

Because it is spring break, the kids are at home, so this was only for Hubby and I.  The kids are eating leftovers out of the fridge.

Hidden Liver Meatloaf & Simple Gravy

I am trying to make an effort to include more organ meat/offal in our diets simply because it is so good for us.  It is also very cheap, and a great way to keep the grocery budget under control.

I have been reading a lot lately on IPMG about people grinding up liver and hiding it in other foods, usually because either they don’t like the taste, or to hide the “yuck” factor so that kids will eat it.  I am lucky in that my kids will willingly eat liver, and Hubby and I both love it, but sometimes it is nice to have a change.

I was already planning on making one of Hubby’s favourite meals – Meatloaf, so I decided that I could add the liver to that.

Here is a warning – when you grind liver in the food processor it goes very sloppy.  I just mixed that sloppy, wet mess into my regular meatloaf recipe.  It made the mixture a little wetter than normal, but it cooked up OK.

The liver in the meatloaf along with the ground beef, pork and bacon was delicious!  It really enhanced the flavour, although I don’t think it was really “Hidden”.  I could tell from the flavour that it was in there, but that could be because I left the liver just a little bit chunky instead of blending it until it was smooth.

This recipe is a stage 2 reintroduction because it contains flaxmeal (stage 2 reintroduction) and black pepper (stage 1 reintroduction).  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

To make this recipe 100% AIP compliant simply leave out the flaxmeal and black pepper.

Hidden Liver Meatloaf

Makes 2 – each serves 4

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  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1lb ground pork
  • 1lb beef liver
  • 6 rashers of bacon
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbsp fat of choice (I used some bacon fat in this, but you could use coconut oil, tallow or lard)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper (omit the pepper if sensitive to it or strict AIP)
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • ¼ cup flax seed meal (omit if strict AIP)

The first thing you do is to dice up all the veggies.  I chop them in the food processor until coarsely chopped.  Don’t let them get to a puree though.

Melt the fat in a skillet and add the chopped veggies, and cook over a medium heat until tender and starting to brown.  Now add the garlic and herbs.  Season well with salt and pepper.

While the veggies are cooking grind up the liver in the food processor.  As I mentioned earlier, it will get very sloppy.  I left mine just a little chunky.

Transfer the liver to a mixing bowl along with the ground pork and beef, and use the food processor to grind up the bacon.  If you try to do this with the liver, the liver will be over-ground before the bacon is ground up small enough.

Add the bacon to the mixing bowl along with the veggies.  Season well with salt, pepper, coconut aminos and fish sauce.  Stir in the flax seed meal if using it.  It can easily be left out if you want to make this recipe AIP, but it does help the meatloaf to firm up, and it thickens the mixture a little.

Mix the ingredients together – I find this is easiest with my hands.  Then transfer the mixture to 2 large loaf tins.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.  Cook the meatloaves in the oven for 1 – 1½hours until cooked through.  Check the temperature using a meat thermometer if you are not sure.  You want the internal temperature to be 70°C (160°F).

Take the meatloaf out of the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes while you make the gravy.

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As far as I am concerned, good meatloaf NEEDS gravy!  As well as the gravy (recipe below), I also served mashed rutabaga and sauteed kale with this.

Simple Gravy

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  • 2 onions  – diced
  • 2 tbsp fat of choice – I used some leftover bacon fat
  • 1 cup good bone broth
  • Any pan juices or drippings from the meat (I used the juice out of the meatloaf)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (omit the pepper if sensitive to it or strict AIP)
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 – 2 tsp tapioca flour –  optional

Take the onions and cook them over a medium heat in the fat until they are very soft and caremelized.  Don’t stint on the browning as this is what gives colour to the gravy.

Once the onions are browned to your satisfaction, add the bone broth and any meat juices you have available, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the coconut aminos.  Simmer for 5 minutes, then blend with an imersion blender.  The blended onions help to thicken the gravy as well as adding flavour.  If you feel it needs a little extra thickening, add the tapioca flour, mix well and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Serve at once.

This gravy is great to serve with any meats – you don’t even need the pan juices if you don’t have any.

Packed Lunch (04/24/14)

This is the lunch that I made today for Hubby.  The girls are on spring break so I didn’t need to do a lunch for them, and I was finishing work early today, so planned to eat at home.

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Clockwise from the top lefthand corner:

  • a mini clementine with some walnut halves
  • cucumber sticks
  • Sausage and tomato crustless quiche on a bed of lettuce
  • radishes and baby carrots

I also packed water in a reusable bottle to drink.

Bathroom/Basement Leak

A couple of weeks ago, on the 25th of Feb, Hubby went down to the basement, where our bedroom and bathroom are located for a shower and he discovered this:

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A huge damp patch on the bathroom ceiling and water pouring through it and running down the shared wall between the bathroom and the basement storage area.

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The kitchen island unit with the dishwasher, sink and garbourator were right above it, and there was a big split in the drainage pipe.  As the dishwasher was pumping out at the time, the water was gushing out of the leak.

I didn’t manage to get a picture of the water pouring out, because tbh, the first thought on my mind was to mop up all the water and not to grab the camera.  I grabbed every towel I could find in the house and used them to mop up the water on the bathroom floor and in the storage area.

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Fortunately we were lucky – the only things that got wet were the contents of the vanity:

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a back pack and a box of outgrown kids clothes that were destined for Goodwill:

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While I was clearing up, Hubby went to call the insurance company, and they sent round a restoration company, Action  Restoration.

By 9pm, they were at our house, and for the next couple of hours they started sorting things out and taking photographs etc.  They also discovered that there was a second leak in the kitchen.  The same pipe had a second leak higher up inside the island unit and the base of the cabinet and the kitchen floor was soaked as well.  Some of the tiles were lifting up on the kitchen floor:

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They left at about 11pm after dropping off 3 HUGE dehumidifiers, 2 in the basement (one in the storage area, one in the bathroom), and one in the kitchen.

At that point, Hubby and I fell into bed.  Our bedroom is also in the basement, but fortunately the floor in there didn’t get wet.

But let me tell you, sleeping with 2 dehumidifiers running just outside the room you are trying to sleep in is almost impossible!

In all, we had to leave those machines running for about 5 days, and I had the WORST sleep over that period that I have ever had (they also increased our electricity bill by around $150 as well).

The next day, we got a plumber round to fix the leaking pipes (we just didn’t use the sink unit or dishwasher until this point), so we ended up with a hole in the bathroom ceiling:

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He discovered that the split in the pipe was far longer than was originally thought, so had to extend the hole further so that he could fix the pipe:

see that line on the pipe?  That is the split.

see that line on the pipe? That is the split.

In all, the split was over a foot in length and extended from above the bathroom ceiling into the storage area.

the fixed pipe

the fixed pipe

Then he fixed the leak in the kitchen cabinet.  This necessitated a hole being cut in the base:

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A couple of days later, Action Restoration came round again to cut out the damaged drywall and cieling:

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And this is the stage we are at now – a hole in the bathroom wall and a hole in the ceiling.  We are now awaiting the insurance companies approval of the remedial work that needs doing…  Over 3 weeks later!

Fortunately they didn’t remove the damaged kitchen floor or island unit or our kitchen would have been unusable.

All I can say is that I hope they get a move on and fix it soon!

To say that this has been a stressful 3 weeks doesn’t do it justice!

Fortunately, it could have been a LOT worse.  The leak involved the dishwasher, so it was grey water.  It could so easily have been sewage as there is a bathroom on the first floor.   It could have damaged our bedroom.  It could have been more extensive in the storage-room, as there is some irreplaceable stuff stored in there.  And relatively few of our possessions got wet.  I had to throw out the box of clothes that I was going to take to Goodwill, and we had to replace our toothbrushes and toothpaste etc.  Apart from that, the only other thing was the backpack.  I am just grateful it was confined to the bathroom and a very small area of the storage-room.

 

 

 

Bacon, Mushroom and Asparagus Crustless Quiche

Crustless quiche is a fairly common lunchbox filler that I make for packed lunches.  It also makes a great lunch, a light evening meal or would be good for breakfast.

I take all the ingredients usually used in quiches with the exception of dairy products and put the in a baking tin without the crust.  It is just as rich and satisfying as a regular quiche, but no gluten or dairy.

And because you are not having to make the crust, it is really quick and easy to make.

This particular one includes bacon, mushrooms and asparagus in the filling

Eggs are a stage 2 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Bacon, Mushroom and Asparagus Crustless Quiche

serves 6

CQ4

  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 8 thick rashers of bacon – chopped
  • 12 crimini mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 small bundle of asparagus – chopped into small sections
  • 8 eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Put the chopped bacon in a skillet and cook gently over a medium heat until the fat runs and the bacon is crisp.  Remove the bacon leaving as much fat in the pan as possible.

Add the onion to the fat in the skillet and cook until golden brown and soft.  Add the mushrooms and cook until tender.  Then add the chopped asparagus.  Cook for a few minutes until it is a bright green colour.

Mix the bacon, onion, mushroom and asparagus together in a bowl.

Separately, beat the eggs with the coconut milk and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix the egg mixture with the bacon mixture and pour the entire contents into a 9″ diameter circular baking tin.  I use a silicone one for ease of removal.

Put the quiche in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the egg is set and the top is starting to brown.

Cool in the tin.

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This can be served warm or cold.

Shared at Allergy Free Wednesday #9

Shared at Fresh Foods Wednesday #80

Oxtail Stew

I am a big fan of nose to tail eating, and this is literally the tail…

Oxtails make a delicious meaty stew and I love them.  But I don’t get to eat them very often because, unlike a lot of offal, they are not particularly cheap.  Part of that I think is due to the fact that there is only one tail per cow, but also, they became fashionable when a lot of chefs started to use them, and the price rocketed.  If possible, use grass-fed oxtails.

This is a slow cooker recipe, which tenderizes the meat wonderfully and extracts plenty of nutrients from the bones.

It is perfect for a cold winters day.  Or even a snowy one like today.  First day of spring and it is snowing here in Calgary!

Oxtail Stew

serves 6- 8 with plenty of leftovers

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  • 2.3kg (aprox 5lb) of oxtail cut into chunks.  This was 2 large oxtails – get the butcher to cut them up for you
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions – peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots – peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 turnips – peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 stalks of celery – cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 1 796ml (28floz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 4-5 cups of bone broth/stock
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F.  Place the cut up oxtail on a large rimmed baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until browned.  This step is entirely optional, but does improve the flavour and colour of the stew.

roasted oxtail

roasted oxtail

Transfer the oxtails to the slow cooker along with the vegetables, herbs, tomatoes and enough bone broth to just cover the contents.

Cook on low for 8 hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bones.

Remove the bones from the stew, allow them to cool until you are able to handle them, and pull off any meat. Return the meat to the stew and discard the bones.  Mix the tapioca flour with a little water and stir into the stew  and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes until thickened.

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I serve this stew with a big pile of sauteed greens and some mashed root vegetables.

This recipe makes enough for dinner and then plenty of leftovers that can be reheated for lunch the next day.

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In some ways, it is even better for being kept overnight in the fridge.