One of my favorite things to do with leftover roasted sweet potato is to smash it and brown it in a pan with ghee. It gets all caramelly and crispy and drool-worthy. I wanted something different for breakfast today, so I smashed my sweet potato then loaded it with pan-fried eggs, leftover shredded kalua pork, buttery avocado and crispy homemade bacon bits. Get creative and use any leftover meat that you want! Is your mouth watering yet? [Hint: roast a bunch of sweet potatoes on a foil-lined sheet in a 400°F oven for about 45-60 min. Refrigerate. When cold, the skins come right off.]
Prep time: 5-10 min Cook time: 10 min Makes: 1 serving
Juicy, coconutty (yeah, I made that a word), and smoky with a hint of ginger. YUM.
Recently, I picked up a package of ground wild boar meat from Sprouts and was trying to think of something that would go with the peach mango chutney simmering away on my stovetop. Coconut popped into my head but instead of putting it on the outside, I mixed it into the burger meat.
If you don’t have access to wild boar – which is hard to find in some places – pork or chicken would certainly be great substitutes. I used unsweetened shredded coconut, and the texture was just perfect. Double your batch and make extras for your weekly food prep day.
Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 10 min Makes: 1 lb. of burgers
Southwestern Chorizo Burger with Fried Eggs (p. 108)
Paleo has almost become synonymous with a group of crazy bacon-lovers who shout their affinity of crispy pork goodness from every rooftop [and would you blame us?].
It seems that the rest of the swine has almost become an after-thought though, but thanks to the Paleo Parents – Matthew McCarry and Stacy Toth – there is so much porcine potential left to discover.
I was lucky enough to get a preview of their drool-worthy new book “Beyond Bacon” which will be released on July 2, 2013.Without further adieu, here are three reasons to get yourself a copy:
#1 It’s part reference book, part cookbook (two for the price of one).
Nestled inside the covers are dozens and dozens of tantalizing recipes which cover everything from the basics – like rendering your own lard – to the sophisticated foodie-esque desserts such as Prosciutto and Roasted Peach Ice Cream. But beyond that, the front part of the book is jammed with all sorts of useful information and [much to my ultimate delight] SCIENCE. Questions like, “Will pink pork kill me?” are answered with straight-to-the-point information. You’ll also find helpful advice on standard pork cooking techniques like making your own sausage and smoking, among others.
Cracklin’ Pork Belly (p. 136)
#2 It’s definitely more than just a book to cram on your bookshelf and forget about.
The feel and design of the book reminds me of so many of the cool, farm-to-table restaurants that are becoming more popular these days. It’s like you’ve stepped inside the hand-drawn chalk board menu into a complete world of hog heaven. The photos leave you wanting more and honestly, I had a hard time deciding which recipes to make first! Displaying this book on your coffee table for guests to thumb through is an absolute must.
#3 The food is damn tasty.
Of the recipes I’ve made so far, the Mexican Chorizo (which I then turned into Southwestern Chorizo Burgers with Fried Egg) and the Cracklin’ Pork Belly were standouts. The book takes you through sweet, savory, smoked, grilled, and every other porky preparation you can think of. Stews, carnitas, a whole section on fried goodies, desserts…you name it, “Beyond Bacon” definitely lives up to its name.
Convinced yet? To preorder “Beyond Bacon” on Amazon, click here. You won’t be disappointed!
Breakfast muffins are a really easy way to use up leftover cooked meat and make for portable protein as well. I woke up the other day, threw these together and considered them tasty enough to post on the blog. Use any kind of cooked shredded meat (or even ground meat) you have lying around and make sure you cook the veg ahead of time so it doesn’t make the muffins soggy.
These make a perfect pre-workout snack.! Add cooked cubed sweet potato for some carbs and you’ve got a decent post-workout meal.
Prep time: 15-20 min Cook time: 30 min Makes: 12
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced small
1 spoonful of bacon fat or fat of choice
1 cup shredded pork carnitas or other shredded/ground meat
*Heavy cream is part of my Paleo way of eating because I’ve learned I can tolerate it, even though I can’t tolerate milk. If you don’t eat it, sub full-fat coconut milk, almond milk, or just leave it out. It adds a bit of fluffiness to the eggs so they aren’t so dense.
In a skillet over medium heat, soften the onions in the bacon fat for about 5 minutes. When they are translucent, add the tomato and cook on medium until the tomatoes begin to soften. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cooked shredded pork until combined.
Combine the eggs, heavy cream, salt and pepper and beat until combined.
Now it’s time to build the muffins: put a large spoonful of onion/tomato/pork into each cup. Evenly distribute the filling to 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle with a pinch of smoked paprika.
Pour the egg mixture into each cup until about 3/4 of the cup is full.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until fully set. The cups will come out very puffed up and then fall a bit as a they cool. It’s science, yo!
Pork shoulder, citrus and spices come together in this super-easy crock pot dish that I guarantee will be a huge punch of flavor. I adapted the recipe from one I found on a pressure cooker website and had to modify the achiote paste portion using dry ingredients from scratch because I couldn’t find it at my local market. Puerco pibil (roast pork shoulder with achiote and spices) comes from the Yucutan region of Mexico. It’s traditionally cooked in banana leaves but since I didn’t have those (nor did I have a pit to bury it in – the traditional way of cooking puerco pibil) I just threw everything in the crock pot and let it go for about 8 hours on low. The next morning I was greeted with a savory broth and fork tender pork.
2 Tbsp annato powder (sub paprika if you can’t find annato)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
Pinch of nutmeg
5 lb (~2.5 kg) pork shoulder roast (I bought two smaller roasts)
1 orange, juiced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp salt
In a small bowl, mix the annato, cumin, black pepper, 1 tsp salt and pinch of nutmeg. Stir in a bit of water until the spices have a thick, paste-like consistency.
Slice the onion and add to a skillet with a spoonful of fat (coconut oil, etc) over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until translucent, then add the can of tomatoes. Cook for a few more minutes until softened.
Prepare the pork by trimming off any large pieces of external fat (if there is fat on the inside of the meat, most of it will cook out). Slice each roast into long pieces about 1.5″ wide. Season with salt.
In the crockpot, mix the juice of one orange with the cider vinegar. Add the annato / spice paste and stir until dissolved. Lay the pork into the liquid. Top with the tomato / onion mixture.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours (longer is okay, too). Skim the excess fat off the top while it’s still warm or refrigerate and the fat will solidify on top and can be scooped off.
This was delicious with a couple of eggs for breakfast!
Banh Mi is basically a Vietnamese sandwich made with French bread and layers of amazing flavors: sweet, salty, tangy, umami (savory) and spicy. [Side note: “Whaaaat?! A Vietnamese sandwich with French bread?” Yes. A quick Google search of French Indochina will give you all the historical details]. Vegetables, meat and spices combine in harmony and sing on your palate. There are as many variations and ways to make banh mi as you can possibly imagine, even breakfast versions and those with more traditional fillings like Vietnamese cold cuts and (gasp!) head cheese. This recipe is a take on Banh Mi flavors.
Of course, as all good Paleophiles do, you’ve tossed all offending grains and grain products out of your life for good. Sandwiches in the traditional sense are long gone, unless you resort to making or buying Paleo bread – which is usually pretty disappointing, am I right? These Banh Mi Sliders are going to punch you in the face with so much flavor that you won’t even miss the bready platforms of yesteryear.
One of the key ingredients in these sliders is the homemade umami mayo. If you’ve never made it, I highly recommend you check out Melissa Joulwan’s recipe for mayo from her awesome book, Well Fed or her website (linked below). You can make the mayo and the pickled carrot and daikon ahead of time if you’re busy during the week; heck, make a big batch of sliders in advance – the recipe doubles nicely as well – and just assemble these tasty wee bites on demand.
Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 10 min Makes: ~15 sliders
For the pickled carrot and daikon:
½ cup water
¼ cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
½ cup julienned carrot
½ cup julienned daikon radish
In a small saucepan, combine the water, vinegar and honey. Heat on medium-high until boiling.
Pour the hot liquid over the carrot and daikon radish in a heatproof bowl. Add salt to taste.
Let the vegetables pickle for at least 30 minutes. You can make this the day ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.
For the umami mayo:
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp mustard powder
1.25 cups light tasting olive oil
Coconut aminos (you’ll use 1.5 tsp for every ¼ cup mayo)
Check out the directions for making homemade mayo here or watch the video here.
Mix ¼ cup of the mayo with 1.5 tsp coconut aminos in a small bowl.
These satisfying little rolls of meat and cabbage take me back to my childhood, and having a Polish grandmother meant that golumbki were often on the menu when we went to visit. When I made this recipe, I instantly reminisced about her standing in the kitchen cooking for all of us. Traditionally, golumbki are made with rice so I substituted cauliflower to give a similar look and texture. Grandma always used a can of Campbell’s tomato soup (contains corn syrup and gluten!) to pour over the golumbki while they cook, but I used plain crushed tomatoes to give the same flavor without any weird ingredients. This one takes a little bit of time to prepare so to make up for it, I threw it all in the crockpot on low for 5 hours – you could bake them in the oven at 350F for about 1.5 hours. Or to make the process super easy, layer the ingredients in a dish, lazy-style.
1. Rice / grate the cauliflower. I use the grating attachment on my food processor or you could grate by hand – but it’s a pain in the ass. Save 1.5 cups for this recipe and the rest for something else…it’s tasty fried up in this side dish.
2. Dice the onion finely.
3. In a large bowl, mix the beef, pork, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
4. Put a large pot of water on the stove over high heat. To prepare the cabbage for rolling, you’ll lightly boil it whole and peel the leaves off a few at a time. Cut the core out of the cabbage and place in the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. As the leaves soften, you can peel them off with a spoon. Take care not to rip them in half. The whole process usually takes about 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can throw the whole cabbage in and let it simmer for about 15 minutes – the outermost leaves will become very soft but still usable. In either case, peel as many of the leaves off as you can and let cool a bit.
5. In a large skillet over medium-high heat put a spoonful of coconut oil or your fat of choice. Add the onion and grated cauliflower and and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the onion is translucent and the cauliflower is softened. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
6. Combine the onion / cauliflower with the meat and mix by hand to incorporate all the ingredients.
7. Roll the golumbki by taking a cabbage leaf – concave side up with the stem toward you – and placing a large spoonful of the meat mixture at the stem end. Then roll forward, fold the sides in and end with the seam down.
8. Mix the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce (not pasta sauce) in a bowl. Put ~1 cup in the bottom of the crockpot (or casserole dish). Lay the golumbki in with the seam side down. Cover with the remaining tomato mixture once the crock is full.
9. For a crockpot, cook on low for 5 hours. If using the oven, cover the top of the dish with foil and bake for 1.5 hours at 350F (175C).
The first time I ever had pork belly was at the Ad Lib, a restaurant in Glasgow back in September. To say that I was dumbfounded by how good it tasted would be an understatement. It seems to be relatively tricky to find in the States – at least in non-specialty stores in my area, and I’d been unable to shake it from the back of my mind since I came home. As good fortune would have it on a recent trip to Marks & Spencer (a somewhat posh department / food store here), two lovely pork bellies sat on the 1/2 price meat shelf just waiting for me to scoop them up. After some quick research on how to best prepare them, I set out on my pork belly adventure. I made homemade applesauce while the pork was cooking. Store-bought applesauce will probably be too watery for this application unless you try to reduce it a bit on the stove. The homemade sauce is quite simple to prepare and just takes a bit of time. This is a great recipe for making on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
For the pork belly…
1.5 lb (0.7 kg) pork belly
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried sage
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp honey
For the applesauce…
4 apples (I used Pink Lady but any will do)
1 tsp cinnamon
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp butter
Score the fat on the top of the pork belly lengthwise. Sprinkle liberally with salt, rub into the score marks and place back in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 275F (140C). Line a baking baking dish or tray with foil.
Smash the garlic cloves with the back of a knife. Place the pork belly onto the baking dish with the fat facing down. Spread the smashed garlic cloves onto the meat. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and the dried sage. Turn the pork belly over so the fat is facing up. Add about 1/2″ of water to the pan.
Bake for 2.5 hours at this temperature. Meanwhile, prepare the applesauce by peeling and dicing the apples. Put the apples and cinnamon in a medium sized pot. Add about 1/4 cup of water. Cover with a lid (but crack it so that steam can escape) and cook on low for about 45 minutes or until the apples are very soft – exactly how long depends on the type of apples used. At the end, add the lemon juice and butter and mash the apples to the desired consistency. I like mine a bit chunky.
After the pork has been in the oven for 2.5 hours, remove it from the oven and increase the temperature to 425F (220C). Mix about 1/3 cup of the applesauce with 1 tbsp honey and spread over the top of the pork. Return to the oven for about 20 minutes or until the top is crispy and brown.
I served mine with extra applesauce and kale chips. So good!
I’m not sure if you’ve read the back of a package of sausages lately but man, there can be some really weird ingredients in them (including gluten and all sorts of preservatives). The best solution is to make your own sausage patties: I mean really…who wants to stuff sausage casings? This recipe brings you all the flavor with a fraction of the work. I usually make savory Italian sausage patties by using something like Penzeys seasoning or Melissa Joulwan’s mix from “Well Fed”, but I had a hankering for something more breakfasty with a touch of sweetness. These would also be tasty if made with ground chicken or turkey.
1 pound (500 g) lean ground pork
1 small onion, minced
1 apple, peeled and minced (I used a Pink Lady apple)
1. Chop the onion and apple into a small dice. You want the pieces to be small enough that they’ll soften down and blend well into the patty.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt a spoonful of your fat of choice. Sautee the onions until translucent, a few minutes. Add the apple and sautee both until softened, about 5-6 minutes total. Let cool for a few minutes.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine pork, sage, fennel, salt and pepper. When the onion / apple mixture is cool, add and mix well. I use my hands. Man up.
4. Form the sausage mixture into patties. I made mine about 2″ (5 cm) in diameter but you can make them as big or small as you’d like…it’s your show after all!
5. Heat the same skillet to medium-high. Add another spoonful of fat and fry the patties for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through completely.
Every once in a while, I like to show you all a recipe that is a bit fancy but has several options for making it faster and easier…this Mushroom and Fig Stuffed Pork Tenderloin is no exception. If you’ve been stuck in a protein rut lately (I’m guilty of eating grass-fed ground beef or eggs for several days in a row), try pork tenderloin. It’s lean and with the right preparation can remain juicy and flavorful. I used a brine (adapted from a recipe in “Well Fed”) to infuse more tasty goodness and moisture, but if you don’t have time you can skip it. I brined the meat for about an hour, but up to 3 or 4 would be great. No time to butterfly and stuff the meat? While it’s baking you can prepare the mushroom and fig mixture and serve on the side! See…no excuses. In order of prep time, here are some options:
Most = brine and stuff
Less = stuff the meat but skip the brine
Least = skip the brine and make the stuffing on the side
For the brine:
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 Tbsp sea salt
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1-2 bay leaves
For the pork and stuffing:
1 pork tenderloin (about 1.5 lb. or 0.7 kg)
6 dried figs, black or brown, hard stem ends removed
2. Prepare the brine solution by combining the garlic cloves, sea salt, peppercorns, cumin seed, coriander seed and bay leaves in a plastic zip top baggie. Add the pork tenderloin to the bag and fill with water so the meat is covered. Seal the bag and place in a dish or large bowl. Refrigerate for 1-4 hours. [Note: you can certainly skip the brining process but the meat may not be as tender.]
3. Rehydrate the dried figs by placing them in a bowl or measuring cup and covering with boiling water. Let sit for 10-15 minutes or until softened.
4. While the figs rehydrate, chop the mushrooms and mince the garlic and rosemary.
5. Heat a large skillet on high, add a spoonful of your fat of choice, and sauté the mushrooms with a pinch of salt until browned and cooked through [hint: use a large enough pan to avoid overcrowding the mushrooms which will make them soggy.]
6. When the mushrooms are nearly done, add the garlic and rosemary and cook for about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat. Drain the water off the rehydrated figs, chop them, and add to the mushroom mixture.
7. If you brined the meat, remove from the bag and pat the tenderloin dry with a paper towel (it’s okay if some spices stick to the meat). Lay the butterflied tenderloin flat and place the stuffing mixture on top. You may have extra depending on the size of the meat. Fold the edges of the meat over and secure with several toothpicks (see pictures).
8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190C).
9. Heat a large skillet on high (I used cast iron because it can go right into the oven but you can brown the tenderloin in a skillet and transfer to an oven-safe dish to finish the cooking). Add a spoonful of fat and sear the outside of the meat for about 4-5 minutes on one side. Flip and sear the other side to create a nice crust. Transfer the meat to the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads about 145 degrees F (63C).
10. Let the meat rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. You can also add a bit of water to the iron skillet, place it on the stove and loosen the caramelized bits of meaty goodness with a spatula or whisk for a quick pan sauce.
I absolutely adore my CrockPot/slow cooker. It’s the ultimate in convenience cooking…gather simple ingredients, throw in the pot, set it and walk away. There is a bit of planning involved (as in it takes time to complete the meal), but I usually fill it up before I go to sleep. When I wake up, the house smells amazing and dinner for the night is already made. Invest a few extra bucks in a slow cooker that has a digital timer and a “keep warm” function.
This recipe is awesome for having a large amount of protein on hand for various uses throughout the week, and since it’s “just meat”, you can throw the pork into lots of yummy applications…street tacos, served with eggs, paired with a simple veggie side dish, poured over salad and topped with salsa….
Though I prefer to use boneless pork shoulder from US Wellness Meats, I didn’t have one on hand so I bought two lean pork loin roasts from the butcher at my local market and was sure to strip the fat off after cooking.