Fermented Beef Casserole

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Most people think you are allowed to eat soups on the first few stages of the GAPS Protocol. However, casseroles are also encouraged! For the GAPS Protocol, a casserole is defined as a large cut of meat with a bone or joint, alongside vegetables that are all cooked together slowly in the oven.

This casserole recipe has an extra (optional) step of marinating the meat with whey. The fermenting process’ goal, whether you’re fermenting vegetables, meat, or fruit, is in large part to pre-digest the food. We generally think of marinades as using some kind of acid to tenderize our meat. Using whey or fermented vegetable brine gives us both the acid and the benefits of live microbes to further pre-digest our meat. And these microbes are still beneficial even after they’re cooked! Additionally, if you use fermented vegetables, you have the same benefit of pre-breaking down the vegetable fibers before the cooking process, making them easier to digest. 

The slow-cooking smell of this casserole is delicious! One of the unrealized benefits of traditional slow cooking is having the smell of food fill the house. When your body smells roasting meat stock or some other long-cooked dish, your digestive system has time to prepare enzymes in order to more easily digest food. One of the harms of our fast food society, even when eating at a high-quality restaurant, is that you can’t smell the food. Therefore, your body doesn’t have adequate time or signals to prepare for eating that food, and that food comes almost as a shock to your digestive system. Indigestion and heartburn are often the result. Planning to have food smells in your kitchen often, either from a pot of stock or a roast, will help you digest the meals throughout the day. It’s not as important to smell the food that you’re actually eating, but smelling any food cooking will bring this benefit. 

You can experiment with the different flavors and vegetables that you add to this. For example, you could add zucchini at all stages of GAPS, or tomatoes if you tolerate them.

I could not find a quality bone-in roast when I was shopping. Because of this, I added 2 lbs of ox tails (6 pieces) to the casserole to get the benefit of extra collagen from the joints. If you can find a bone-in roast, you do not need to add additional bones. If you can’t find any bones, you can still make this casserole; it will just have less collagen in it.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs Beef Roast, Bone-In if Possible
  • 1 Cup of Ferment Brine (Whey, Vegetable Ferment Juice, etc. You can do all of one type or mix and match.)
  • 6 Whole Peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes (GAPS Stages 5 or above)
  • 5 Carrots
  • 1 Medium Onions
  • ¾ tsp Salt

Directions

24 hrs before you are ready to cook:

Put the defrosted meat in a bowl. Add the ferment brine (in whatever combination you are using,) peppercorns, and red pepper flakes. 

Cover and leave on the counter for a few hours.

Then place in the refrigerator for the remaining time until you’re ready to cook.

The day of cooking:

Preheat the oven to between 250 or 325, depending on how much time you have to cook. The goal is to cook this as low and slow as you can. 

Chop the carrots into rounds. Cut the onion in half, then chop it into larger pieces.

Add the carrots and the onions to the bottom of a 9×13 inch glass baking dish. You can use a  deep dish if you have one. Mix them lightly.

Add the meat to the dish. Pour the marinade over the meat. 

Cover with lid or with parchment paper, and then aluminum foil. It’s important to not have the aluminum foil touch your food directly. 

Put in the oven for 6 – 8 hours. 

Remove from the oven and plate! Even if you have a fatty cut of meat, feel free to add additional sources of fat to your plate.  To mine I added a good dollop of creme fraiche, half an avocado (GAPS Stage 3), and garnished with fresh cilantro (GAPS Stage 5.)

Fermented Beef Casserole

Ingredients
  

  • 3 lbs Beef Roast Bone-In if Possible
  • 1 Cup of Ferment Brine Whey, Vegetable Ferment Juice, etc. You can do all of one type or mix and match.
  • 6 Whole Peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes GAPS Stages 5 or above
  • 5 Carrots
  • 1 Medium Onions
  • ¾ tsp Salt

Instructions
 

  • 24 hrs before you are ready to cook: Put the defrosted meat in a bowl. Add the ferment brine (in whatever combination you are using,) peppercorns, and red pepper flakes.
  • Cover and leave on the counter for a few hours.
  • Then place in the refrigerator for the remaining time until you’re ready to cook.
  • The day of cooking: Preheat the oven to between 250 or 325, depending on how much time you have to cook. The goal is to cook this as low and slow as you can.
  • Chop the carrots into rounds. Cut the onion in half, then chop it into larger pieces.
  • Add the carrots and the onions to the bottom of a 9×13 inch glass baking dish. You can use a
  • deep dish if you have one. Mix them lightly.
  • Add the meat to the dish. Pour the marinade over the meat.
  • Cover with lid or with parchment paper, and then aluminum foil. It’s important to not have the aluminum foil touch your food directly.
  • Put in the oven for 6 – 8 hours.
  • Remove from the oven and plate! Even if you have a fatty cut of meat, feel free to add additional sources of fat to your plate. To mine I added a good dollop of creme fraiche, half an avocado (GAPS Stage 3), and garnished with fresh cilantro (GAPS Stage 5.)
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