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Archive for the ‘soups and stews’ Category

Sausage and Crawfish Jambalaya

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

The saga of cleaning out the fridge before the cow is ready (on the 18th, yikes!) continues. This weekend, among other things, I thawed out a pound of crawfish. There are exactly three things that should be made when one has a pound of crawfish, and all of them are Cajun. Today, I decided to make a version of jambalaya, using cauliflower rice. Tomorrow, it might be étouffée (Paleo Comfort Foods has a great version), or maybe gumbo.

The first thing you’ll want is a pound of pre-cooked andouille sausage. Wellshire makes a good brand with minimal fillers. If you don’t like spicy, you can sub some cubed chicken breast–just make sure to cook it in some fat, as you’ll need it later. For the sausage, you can simply slice and fry. Use a big pot, because this is a two-pot meal and it’ll all end up in this one eventually.

When the sausage slices are brown, add one diced onion, one diced green pepper, and two large stalks of celery, also diced. There should be enough rendered grease from the sausage to cook them in. If not, add some fat of choice. When the veggies have softened, add some garlic (four or five cloves, minced) and cook for another minute or so. Then add a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, a 6-ounce can of tomato paste, three cups of chicken stock, a tablespoon of Creole seasoning, two teaspoons of chili powder, a few pinches of salt, a half-teaspoon of dried thyme, and cayenne and black pepper to taste. Let this simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another large skillet, heat up a tablespoon or two of oil. In that, sweat a small minced onion, a diced green pepper, and a minced shallot. When they are soft and the onion and shallot are starting to turn golden, add a head of grated cauliflower. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until cauliflower is soft. Stir in a tablespoon of Creole seasoning. If your seasoning is salt-free, add salt to taste.

By this point, hopefully your jambalaya is done. Add a pound of crawfish tails to the pot and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower rice and serve.

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Mofongo with ropa vieja

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

One of my coworkers just got back from a vacation in Puerto Rico and raved about a dish she had there called mofongo. She described it as a garlicky mashed plantain mound with whatever meat you wanted. I adore plantains–they were my favorite carb even before going paleo–ahead of bread, potatoes, rice, you name it. So I googled for a recipe. Turns out it’s pretty simple–fried then mashed slices of green plantain mixed with ground up pork rinds and minced raw garlic. It’s usually topped with some sort of stew. I HAD to make this.

I’ll start with the stew, because it takes the longest to make. I altered a version of the crockpot ropa vieja recipe from PaleOMG. First, remove the bones, if any, from your chuck roast, and save them for stock. Salt and pepper both sides of your roast and brown it on both sides in your pressure cooker.

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Remove the meat and add your peppers, onion, and spices–I added minced garlic here instead of inserting the garlic into the roast.

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When your vegetables soften, add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, along with some sliced pimento-stuffed olives (I don’t have the aversion to them that PaleOMG does, and they are really, really good in this dish) and the bay leaves. Put the meat back in, submerging it as much as possible, and cook on high pressure for an hour, allowing the steam to release naturally before opening the lid. Alternatively, you can do it in a crockpot, as PaleOMG suggests, or covered on the stovetop in a Dutch oven on a low simmer until the meat pulls apart easily.

When the meat is almost done, start the mofongo. Peel four green plantains. This is easier said than done–you’ll likely have to score the peels with a knife to remove them. Slice each plantain into 1/2-inch slices on the diagonal and soak the slices in a bowl of salted water for 15 minutes. Drain them and dry them before frying.

Coat the bottom of a frying pan with a layer of either olive or coconut oil, using medium heat. Add the plantains in batches and fry for five minutes per side. They should be golden but not brown. Put each batch in a large mixing bowl when it’s done.

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While the plantains are frying, grind up pork rinds or chicharrones in a food processor. You’ll want a cup of crumbs–just keep adding more until you get what you need. I think about 2-3 ounces will do it. Add the crumbs to the plantains.

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Using a potato masher or a food processor, mash together the plantains and pork rind crumbs. Add some olive oil if necessary. Mix in 4 cloves of minced raw garlic. Using your hands, mash the mixture into balls.

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Shred the meat from your stew into small chunks or strands and ladle it over the mofongo, making sure to get plenty of veggies and liquid.

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This was ridiculously good. All the flavors go together perfectly. If you want, you might want to try garnishing it with some sliced avocado, but it’s not at all necessary. It’s dense and filling–a little goes a long way. I doubled the recipe and it made enough for two dinners, a Preschooler plate, and eight good-sized lunch portions. And sorry, Coworker, but I’m not sharing!

Pressure Cooker Chili

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

This recipe is great for make-ahead lunches. I like to make a big batch on Sunday–it gets me and Husband to Thursday before we need to think about lunch again. It’s also perfect if you just bought a bunch of grass-fed beef and need to get it out of your freezer.

Start with 1.5-2 pounds of stew meat. I cut up a bone-in chuck roast and saved the bones in my freezer bag of stock bones. Brown them in a tablespoon or two of coconut oil in your pressure cooker, sprinkling them with salt and pepper as soon as you put them in. You’ll want to do this in batches; if you crowd the pan you won’t get a nice browned crust on the meat.

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Remove the meat when it’s browned and set it aside. Add a chopped large onion to the pan and cook until it’s soft, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Add a tablespoon or two of minced garlic and cook for another minute. Pour in three cups of beef stock and boil until it’s reduced by half. Stir in two pounds of raw ground beef–it will break up and start to brown in the stock as you stir.

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Add four tablespoons of chili powder. I don’t mean generic stuff labeled “Chili Powder,” I mean ground, powdered chili peppers, particularly a kind that has the name of the type of chili on the label. I used Guajillo, but Ancho or even Chipotle would work. You can knock this down to three tablespoons if you don’t like spicy chili. Toss in a heaping tablespoon of cumin, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of salt, and several healthy grinds of black pepper, then add a large (28 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (I used Muir Glen), and 3/4 cup of salsa verde. Put the browned meat back in the pot. Bring your pressure cooker up to high pressure (15 psi) and cook for an hour, then let the pressure reduce naturally before removing the lid.

This will make six healthy-sized bowls. Serve with sliced avocado for a nice Whole-30 meal.

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If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can do all this in a Dutch oven. After you put the meat back in, put a lid on it and simmer, stirring occasionally, for three hours.

Pho King Awesome

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Husband and I are huge fans of pho, a Vietnamese soup made of oxtail broth flavored with star anise and cinnamon. Normally it comes with a huge pile of very non-Primal rice noodles, but honestly, it’s just as good without. In restaurants, I tend to order it with no rice noodles and extra bean sprouts. I’ve only made it at home once, in my pre-Primal days.

A few days ago, Husband alerted me to a blog post from Latest In Paleo that had a recipe for pho. I followed the recipe precisely, except I replaced their spinach garnish with the more traditional bean sprouts (they’re sprouts, not beans, so they’re okay), and I’d also suggest adding a lime wedge and perhaps a squirt or two of Sriracha. What this recipe gets you is a broth so rich with collagen that it’s a solid mass of gelatin in the fridge, and even when hot appears to jiggle a bit. The mouthfeel is amazing, the meat falls apart (I even had a few bones get soft) but still retains flavor, and the seasoning in the broth is subtle but powerful.

Plus, it’s pretty.
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