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I thought I had coconut cream for this recipe, but it turns out I didn’t. Not wanting to go back to the store, I used lactose-free sour cream and water instead, and it turned out to be really good. You could add more or different vegetables if you have them; spinach, kale, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, etc. would all be good in here.

  • 2 lbs. free-range chicken, cooked and shredded (I cooked 1 breast and four drumsticks in a crock pot on low all day with an onion and some Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute and it was perfect)
  • 1 cup dry rice, cooked
  • 1 lb. broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1 cup (about 8 large) white mushrooms, cut in half and sliced
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 12 oz. sour cream
  • 8 oz. water
  • 5 tsp. maharajah curry powder (I’m partial to the Spice House)
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the shredded chicken, cooked rice, broccoli, and mushrooms in a 9 X 13 casserole dish.

Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the chopped onion, and cook for 3-5 minutes or until clear. Add the garlic and cook for a little while longer. Mix the sour cream and water together, then add to the pan. Sprinkle in the curry powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Combine and warm until you have a nice sauce.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Mix together and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes. Brown it under the broiler for a couple minutes before serving.

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I saw the original version of this recipe in the U-T San Diego paper, and we happened to have some beef short ribs in the freezer at the time. I’ve made it a few times since and it is a great recipe to make on the weekend and heat up after work. It goes well over rice or alone in a wide, deep pasta bowl.

  • 4-5 lbs grass-fed, bone-in beef short ribs
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 Tbs. Kerrygold unsalted butter, divided
  • 3-6 cloves garlic, minced (we like a lot of garlic flavor and use 6)
  • 3 large red onions, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 2 Tbs. dark brown sugar, divided (optional)
  • 1 Cup beef stock
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 16 oz. gluten-free beer (we’ve had success with Redbridge; original recipe calls for a porter or stout though)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

Season the short ribs with 2 teaspoons salt and pepper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

Bring meat to room temperature. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel if damp. In a large Dutch oven melt 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the ribs on all sides until nicely browned. Transfer browned ribs to a plate. Add the remaining butter, and when it melts, add the onions and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring often over medium heat until the onions are very soft and a deeply browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and 1 tablespoon of the optional brown sugar. Cook, stirring continuously for 1 minute. Add the beef stock and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the Worcestershire sauce, the beer, thyme, bay leaves, and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and return the ribs and any accumulated juices to the Dutch oven.

Cover and cook the ribs in a preheated 325 degree oven for 2 to 21/2 hours until the meat is silky and fork tender and ready to fall from the bone. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Refrigerate overnight.

Before serving, return the Dutch oven, covered, to a preheated 325 degree oven until the ribs are heated through and the juices are bubbling — about 1 hour. Stir 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar into the meaty juices and serve.

Recipe adapted from U-T San Deigo

Inspired by Trader Joe.

Choose a bold curry blend; we like maharajah. Golden raisins are also key for just a hint of sweetness.

Choose a bold curry blend; we like maharajah. Golden raisins are also key for just a hint of sweetness.

  • 2 whole chickens; brined, smoked, cooled, and chopped
  • 2 cups mayonnaise (start with less, add more if you need it)
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups cashews
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 5 Tbs. maharajah curry (we like the blend from The Spice House in Chicago)
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Mix everything together and chill. Serve on chopped lettuce as a salad or in romaine hearts. Don’t forget to make stock from the chicken bones.

Tyler brought some frozen venison tenderloin and farmer’s market cherries (unfortunately not local) with him from Michigan on his first visit to our new home in San Diego. Here’s what we did with it.

Tender, juicy venison tenderloin pairs so well with juicy, sweet cherries.

  • Venison tenderloin
  • 1 lb. frozen pitted cherries, juice reserved
  • 10-12 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced thin
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Quickly sear your tenderloin in a pan over high heat. Do not cook it, just let it touch the pan for a few seconds on each side, then set it aside on a plate.

Make a bacon blanket. Place it on a broiling rack in a 350 degree oven until it starts to cook but not get crispy. Flip it once.

Meanwhile, saute the onions in olive oil over low heat. Once they begin to turn clear, add 1/3 of the cherries, the juice from the cherries, and the balsamic vinegar to the pan. Keep scraping and reducing the liquid.

Chop the remaining cherries. When the bacon blanket is starting to crisp, remove it from the oven and cover it with the chopped cherries. Then place the tenderloin at one end and roll it all up. Return the pan to the oven for at least another 10 minutes; the cooking time will depend on how large the tenderloins are. We had two very small pieces (about 1″ in diameter) and ten minutes was perfect. At the end, turn on the broiler to quickly crisp the bacon.

Top the cherry bacon venison roll with the cherry onion balsamic reduction. Serve with a salad from the garden (thanks to my new neighbor for the tomato and red pepper!).

Here it is, the ultimate recipe for this blog — homemade bacon! We love the flavor it gets from smoking, but if you don’t have a smoker (or a charcoal grill you can turn into one), you can still make great bacon in the oven.

Beautiful. Just... beautiful.

  • 1 pork belly (about 8 lbs.) from a pastured pig, skin still on
  • 2 Tbs. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1 tsp. caraway seed
  • 1 Tbs. dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. dried thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 8 Tbs. or ½ cup of sea salt (not coarse)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

Using either a mortar and pestle, small food processor, or coffee grinder, combine the peppercorns through the bay leaves. Then mix that powdery blend with the salt and garlic.

Cut the pork belly into slabs small enough to fit inside large plastic freezer bags. Divide the seasoning mixture evenly among the bags and coat the meat with it. Seal the bags and lay them flat in the refrigerator. Flip them every day, redistributing the seasoning and the liquid that will eventually gather in the bag.

After three or four days, remove the meat. Gently rinse with cold water and pat them dry on paper towel. Set your smoker or oven to 200 degrees. If using a smoker, place the meat skin-side down on the racks; for the oven, place them skin-side up in a baking dish. Smoke or bake for a few hours, until the internal temperature has reached 150 degrees.

Let them cool a little, then remove the skin by carefully slicing with a sharp knife into the layer of fat directly below the skin. If you let the bacon cool longer, you might be able to start it with a knife and gently peel the rest of the way by hand, wasting less of the fat. The reason you want a pasture-raised belly is because toxins are generally stored in the fat of the animals (think mercury in fatty fish), so CAFO animals’ fat will not be as pure and healthful as the fat from animals raised properly. It pays to spend the extra few bucks here. Slice your bacon to the desired thickness and enjoy your masterpiece.

Some tips:

  • If your bacon is too salty, you can soak it in water for a few minutes, then rinse and pat dry again, before cooking it. Next time, reduce the curing time. Most recipes call for a week but we found that makes the bacon too salty for us.
  • Bacon freezes well. If you made a lot, cut the slabs into smaller hunks; vacuum seal them and freeze. It will keep for at least a few months, but really — who keeps bacon around that long?
  • Save the rendered fat after cooking the bacon; it’s a fabulous, stable fat that imparts awesome flavor onto everything it touches. It is wonderful on roasted broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or as a fat in which to fry eggs or steaks.
Adapted from Tim Huntley, via Robb Wolf

Double this recipe and stock up on some protein bombs.

Almost the size of a baseball, these meat-covered eggs are just awesome. Shown are plain (front), potato-chip covered (rear), and almond-meal covered (right).

  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Pinch cloves
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon leaves
  • 1 Tbs. dried chives
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped (or 1 Tbs. dried)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 large hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 bag of pork rinds, or olive oil potato chips, crushed to crumbs; or almond meal (optional)
  • 2 eggs, raw and beaten (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the seasonings together in a small bowl, then add to the ground pork. Incorporate it with your hands. Separate the meat into 10 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball, then flatten. Wrap the pork around a hard-boiled egg, rolling and smoothing the meat together. If it seems sticky, get your hands a little wet.

If you’d like a crust around the eggs, roll each one in the crumbs of the pork rinds or potato chips or almond meal. Then dip it in the beaten egg, then roll it again in the crumbs. We couldn’t find paleo-friendly pork rinds, so we used olive-oil potato chips on some and almond meal on others.

Place each meat-wrapped egg on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake the eggs for 25 minutes, then increase the temperature to 400 for another 5 to 10 minutes. If you still need to crisp up the crust, place the eggs under the broiler. Watch them closely and turn them often to brown the entire outside.

Dip into flavored mayonnaise.
Adapted from Well Fed Paleo Recipes

After receiving the wonderful gift of free food (gift certificate to Whole Foods), we went on a little spree and bought some things that we’ve had on our mind but didn’t really fit into the normal weekly plan. Harissa, a Moroccan blend of roasted chili peppers and seasoning, had been on my mind for a while. We also saw some grass-fed lamb (shoulder roast) for a good price, and decided that the combination might be just a little bit awesome. Here’s what we came up with. I thought the dish was a little on the sweet side, so if you think you’d be sensitive to that, cut back on the honey and dates.

Image

Harissa is flavorful and spicy, and the lamb is so tender.

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ground tumeric
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2.5 lbs. grass-fed lamb roast (the shoulder roast we used was incredibly tender) cut into stew-sized chunks
  • 8 oz. pitted Medjool dates, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 Tbs. raw honey
  • 1/4 cup harissa (see the link at the bottom of the page for more info, including a recipe)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven. Add the chopped onion and cook until golden. Add the tumeric, cinnamon, and ginger; mix until combined. Add the lamb, mix again until the seasoning is well-distributed among the lamb. Add enough water to just cover the meat. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Add the dates, honey, harissa, salt and pepper (don’t be shy on the salt and pepper). Simmer for another 20 minutes.

Adapted from Jun-Blog.

My friend Elysia wrote about a Venezuelan restaurant where she had a shredded pork sandwich made with fried plantains for the “bread.” It’s been years since Tyler and I made a medianoche sandwich (while watching Dexter — yeah, sometimes we theme our food), and so we decided to give it another try, using the plantains.

A variation of a traditional Cuban medianoche sandwich, using fried plantains for "bread."

  • 2 plantains, still fairly green
  • coconut oil
  • Meats for the sandwich: shredded pork, ham, turkey, chicken, whatever
  • Sliced cheese
  • Sliced pickles
  • Sliced avocado (why not?)
  • Mustard

Peel the plantains, then slice them in half lengthwise, then cut them to half that length. Put the eight pieces of plantain on a cookie sheet and brush lightly with some melted coconut oil. Roast them on a foil-lined pan at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until they soften.

Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a deep pan on medium-high. You’ll need enough to fry the flattened plantains, about 1/4 to 1/2 inches.

Once the plantains are softened, place a sheet of parchment paper over top of them and smash them with a spatula, flat pan, or other solid, flat item. This is the tricky part — you want them to be flat enough to make a good sandwich holder, but you don’t want to go so far as to have them fall apart.

Gently put the flattened plantains into the hot oil. They won’t brown much, so take them out when they start to feel crisp, about four minutes total. Drain on paper towel.

Assemble the meat and cheese on the plantains and put them back in the warm oven for a few minutes to warm up the meat and cheese. Add the pickles, avocado, and mustard.

Inspired by CravingNY

This is hot and spicy and goes well over rice, quinoa, mashed cauliflower, or by itself. Feel free to use any stew meat, we have lots of venison so that’s what we used.

An intense blend of spices warms this dish. Add more tomato sauce, or yogurt or coconut milk, to calm the heat.

  • 4 Tbs. combined coconut oil and/or butter
  • 1 large red onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 C roasted red peppers
  • 5 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 Tbs. freshly-grated ginger
  • 5 Tbs. berbere spice blend*
  • 1/2 C dry red wine
  • 1 can tomato sauce (we like Trader Joe’s organic, no sugar added)
  • 3 cups stock (beef, venison, even chicken will do)
  • 2-3 lbs. venison stew meat (or beef, lamb, goat, etc.)

In a slow cooker, place the stew meat, stock and tomato sauce. Warm on high.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, melt the butter and/or coconut oil. Add the onions and cook 2-4 minutes, or until they soften and begin to turn translucent. Add the eggplant, garlic and ginger, and stir for another minute or two. Add the berbere spice blend and red wine; scrape the pan to incorporate everything and remove from heat.

Add the onion-eggplant mixture and roasted red peppers to the slow cooker and stir well. Allow to cook until the stew meat is done, at least a couple hours. If you are leaving home and want it to cook longer, turn the heat to low.

Adapted from: Eating Well
*Note from Eating Well on berbere spice blend: “This staple in Ethiopian cooking is a heady mix that usually includes garlic, fenugreek, allspice, red pepper, ginger, chilies, coriander, cinnamon, and black pepper. If you can’t find it, use a mixture of 4 Tbs. garam masala, 1 Tbs. hot paprika, 1 tsp. ground fenugreek and 1 tsp. salt.” Upon further research, berbere is the Ethiopian version of curry — everyone has their own blend and no two are exactly the same. I used a recipe from epicurious.com.

If we ever open a paleo restaurant, this will be a featured item.

This time, the pig IS the blanket.

Lay one slice of bacon at the edge of your pan. Lay another one at a right angle to the first, along another side of the pan, making a large “L” shape. Take the third piece of bacon, lay it alongside the second, and tuck the end under the first. Continue alternating with pieces four through seven along the length of the first.

Take the next five pieces and weave them perpendicularly into the others. Turn your heat on low and cook for about ten minutes, or until the bacon is done enough to hold together when you flip it with a spatula and tongs.

To eat, grab a piece and pull! Serves two.