Friday, January 24, 2014

Pork Chops w/Fig Orange Sauce

I really don't think there is any meat that goes quite as well with fruit as pork does.  I happened to come across dried organic figs (with no added sugar or oil!)  at the grocery store the other day and I knew they'd be perfect with orange over a thick cut juicy pork chop.  I was right...

Pork Chops with Fig/Orange Sauce

3 tbsp. coconut oil
4 thick cut bone-in pork chops (1 inch), room temperature
1/2 c. onion, small dice
7 ounces dried figs
1/2 c. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 c. vegetable stock
2 tbsp. kerrygold butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Chop the figs into small pieces and put in a bowl with the orange juice.  Allow the figs to macerate.  Usually about 1 hour depending on how soft the figs are.

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over high medium high heat.  The point of this step is to sear each side of the chop.  You don't want it to burn but you need it hot enough to produces a deep golden sear.  
Generously salt and pepper both sides of the pork and then add to the now almost scorching pan.  Sear for 3 minutes per side and then immediately place each chop onto a rimmed sheet pan.  Place in oven.

Allow to cook for about 20 minutes or until the center is soft firm.  The benefit to having your pork chop at room temperature before cooking will ensure even cooking through out the whole chop.  Plus, if you know where you get your pork from, as you should, you don't need to worry about any bacterial issues.  Promise.

About 10 minutes into the cooking drain all but 1 tbsp. of remaining fat and oil in the sauté pan.  Return pan to medium heat and the add the onions.  Cook until translucent.  Then add the figs, cooking an additional 3-5 minutes.  Add the stock and allow it to reduce by 1/2.  Then add the OJ and again allow it to reduce by 1/2. To finish the sauce, whisk in the kerrygold butter.  When it starts to thicken, remove from heat and salt and pepper to taste. 


Oh!  I served mine over a cabbage, kale and chive sauté.  Perfection.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hearty Beef Vegetable Stew

I am not sure what is better...chicken noodle soup or beef stew.  They both are the quintessential food, at least to me.  

But if we are going to stay paleo, beef stew is going to have to be the winner.  While I really make a killer chicken soup, there is something to be said about chicken noodle soup.  It really doesn't compare.

This beef stew is a perfect combination of flavors.  And I promise the wait is worth it!

Hearty Beef Vegetable Stew

6 tbsp. coconut oil
1 c. onion, small dice
1 c. carrot, small dice
1 c. celery, small dice
1 c. green beans, sliced into 1" pieces
1 c. broccoli, small pieces
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
2 zucchini, small dice
1 tbsp. dried thyme, rosemary and parsley
5 1/2 c. beef stock
1 lb. flank steak, pounded well and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tbsp. arrowroot
2 tbsp. ghee

Over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp. of the coconut oil and sauté the onion until dark golden brown, about 10 minutes.  
Add the green bean, carrot and celery.  Cook until all of the vegetables start to soften, about 15 minutes.
Add the broccoli, zucchini, mushroom, dried spices and 5 cups of the beef stock.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.  Simmer until all of the vegetables are soft.

Allow to cool and then put in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.  This allows the flavor to develop.

When you are ready to finish the stew, heat the remaining coconut oil over medium high heat in a large sauté pan.  Generously salt and pepper the flank and then sear evenly, about 3-5 minutes.  After all pieces are done add them to the stew.  

Put the stew over medium heat and allow to cook for about 30 minutes.  

In the cooled large sauté pan, add the remaining 1/2 c. stock. Whisk to incorporate beef drippings. Then add the arrowroot and whisk until combined.  Slowly pour into stew and stir, allowing the stew to start to thicken.  

Add the ghee and stir until it is melted and mixed well.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Coconut Lemon Pepper Shrimp

This month my challenge is the Whole 30.  If you aren't familiar with it, it's very similar to paleo but with a little extra push on whole food.  Meaning, no paleoified baked goods, no sweeteners (that are allowed on paleo) and no grassfed dairy.  I started Monday and it will be fun coming up with recipes that are specifically Whole 30 but completely paleo too.

The first night I made an incredible beef stew, but since I just posted a soup I will wait a few days to get that recipe on the blog.  Last night shrimp was on the menu.  But not any shrimp, mind you.  Insanely good coconut lemon pepper shrimp.  So good that I didn't even miss the butter I would have used to finish the sauce for this dish.

Coconut Lemon Pepper Shrimp

1 lb. shrimp
zest of 3 lemons
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tbsp. freshly ground pepper 
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 1/2 c. vegetable stock
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp. coconut butter

Place the shrimp in a bowl with zest, juice of 1 lemon, pepper and salt.  Stir until shrimp are evenly coated.  Do not allow this mixture to sit too long as with traditional marinades or it will start to cook the shrimp. 

In a large saute pan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat.  Add the shrimp and cook until pink and slightly firm, about 3-5 minutes until they look almost cooked through.

Remove and set aside while you do the sauce.

Add the stock and remaining lemon juice and reduce by half.  Then and the coconut butter and whisk until it blends and sauce starts to thicken, which will be pretty quick.

Salt and pepper to taste.  
Return the shrimp back to the pan and heat for an additional minute, stirring to coat.

Serve over caulirice.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Turkey Vegetable Soup

The holidays have finally passed and it seems like life is slowing down a bit.  We have tried to stay busy over the break, but the cold, and I mean COLD weather outside makes it hard to want to go out and do anything!  

Anything but make soup that is.  Over Thanksgiving I boiled down my turkey carcass for turkey stock and stored it in the freezer.  I love having homemade stock.  Store bought, even the "real" stocks aren't even comparable.

I also had some turkey that I froze just to be used in soup.  But there is a key to using meat already cooked in soups.  It must be added last and not allowed to come to a boil.  That makes meat chewy and tough.  

This soup is perfect for a blistery day and will warm you right up.

Turkey Vegetable Soup

2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 c. onion, chopped small dice
1 c. carrot, chopped small dice
1 c. celery, chopped small dice
1 c. butternut squash, chopped small dice
2 tbsp. dried thyme
2 c. frozen peas (yes, I used sweet peas that I froze from my organic garden...sue me)
6 garlic clove, sliced
8 ounce mushrooms, sliced
8 c. turkey stock
2 c. shredded turkey breast
salt and pepper to taste

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium temperature.  Add the onions, carrot and celery and cook until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the squash, mushrooms and thyme.  Cook so the mushrooms release moisture and then it starts to reabsorb, about 10 minutes.

Add the peas, garlic and stock.  Stir well.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cover almost all the way.  When the vegetables are tender, add the turkey, salt and pepper to taste.  Cook over medium until the turkey is warmed.