Posts tagged crockpot
Posts tagged crockpot
For some reason caramelizing onions takes me forever! And it requires constant attention, stirring, checking, covering, adding water (according to some recipes), lather, rinse, repeat, etc.
So this time I threw my chopped onion into a crockpot with a shitload of olive oil, set it, and forget it. Yes, it takes a long process and makes it longer, but it’s worry free. This is how mine looked after 4 hours on high. But if I wanted, I could let them go a lot longer and get darker and more caramelized. You can make a batch and use it in recipes all week long. In eggs, on steak, in side dishes, on hot dogs, burgers, etc.
This is what I did with my carrot pasta from the other day. I slow cooked some grass-fed beef stew meat in arrabbiata sauce (marinara sauce made spicy with crushed red pepper flakes), and then tossed it all with the carrot fauxghetti (as the sauce and meat finished cooking, I threw the carrots on top for 15 minutes or so and let them steam). I also had some fresh basil that put this dish over the top! So far I’ve made pasta from zucchini, parsnips, and now carrot, my favorite to this point. Ugga-Bugga!
It’s autumn and I’m in slow cooker heaven! Last week I made fiery hot Venison Vindaloo again (it was glorious, but sorry no new pictures), and today I’m browning this meat in the cast iron skillet for Osso Buco! Never made it before, but my grass-fed beef farmer had these on sale. Not going the traditional route, because I want to use up the last of my hot sauce from the summer to slow cook them in the crock pot, over thick slices of yellow onion. Gonna serve it simply over parsnip pasta once it falls off the bone. Ugga-Bugga!
Apples are in season! This is my favorite time at the farmers market because the fall stuff is just starting to come in, and the frost hasn’t killed off the summer produce yet (especially the spicy peppers), so there’s unlimited recipes just waiting to be created! I also found some great herbs from a new organic farmer at my market (in the last year 3 new organic farmers have joined my local farmers market, encouraging news for cavemen everywhere). Fragrant sage filled the air at the market this Sunday, so I picked up a bunch, along with some apples, and a ton of jalapeños and Serrano peppers and went home to create something.
Sage and apples go so well with pork, and I have a freezer full of wild boar from the Broken Arrow Ranch, so I defrosted some stew meat! I had an idea to make some sort of All-American stew (can’t get more American than apples, sage, and wild boar). Into a crock pot for 6 hours on high went the following organic ingredients:
1 pound wild boar stew meat
4 Fuji Apples
2 Granny Smith Apples
Fresh grated Ginger
Chard stems (for the natural saltiness, can substitute celery)
Some grass-fed beef bone broth
Some arrowroot dissolved in water (for thickening)
A mix of SPICY red and green jalapeños and Serrano Peppers (obviously optional for your particular taste)
I wasn’t sure these ingredients would all go together (like ginger and rosemary), but I didn’t have a plan or recipe I was working off of, and just played it by ear. I can tell you though that my apartment smelled amazing, and when it was done, it tasted amazing! But it was WAY too spicy for my friend Julie who popped by for a taste. Still, she thought it was delicious, and she wondered what cut of beef I used (she was shocked it was wild boar).
I’m not usually a fan of sweet dishes, unless they’re also really spicy, so this one was great. The apples and cinnamon gave it the sweet, and the ginger just gave it a touch of Asian influence in what was otherwise an All-American dish. And the peppers made sure my mouth was blissfully on fire! The wild boar was tender and wildly delicious! Even though Julie thought it was beef, it tasted just like pork to me, and went perfectly with the apples.
I served it all over cauliflower rice:
Really delicious! And it smells AMAZING! First time I made anything like this, and it came out great! First a word about the venison I used. From Broken Arrow Ranch, their hunting and butchering process is unparalleled in delivering healthy wild animals to our dinner table, with no gaminess whatsoever! And these animals are truly wild, eating only what they find naturally in the forest. This is only the second time I’m cooking with venison, and I’m loving it! Tastes very much like a mild beef to me. And it has much less fat than beef, and less cholesterol than skinless chicken! But feel free to use the traditional lamb (just make sure it’s pasture raised to keep it paleo!).
The only other Indian dish I’ve made before this was my Chicken Curry, which I only made by mistake (click here to see what I mean). But this was better! I didn’t have a recipe, I just used a lot of what I already had, and tried to recreate what I thought might be in a traditional vindaloo. I’ve since looked up vindaloo recipes, and I’m probably way off, but the taste is distinctly Indian. Maybe I should’ve called it Venison Curry, but Venison Vindaloo sounds so much better!
I was a real lazy bastard today, so I just dumped everything into the crock pot and hoped for the best. It worked! The Crock Pot, making lazy bastards out of us all since 1971 (I looked it up)! So here’s my recipe, but feel free to vary for your tastes.
All Ingredients, All Organic, All the Time:
Venison Stew Meat (you can brown it before slow cooking, but I didn’t)
Water (you can substitute coconut milk for the coconut butter and water, which is what coconut milk is)
Crushed Red Pepper (or Chili) Flakes (lots for me, ‘cause I likes it hot!)
Optional: I threw in a little leftover Caveman Ketchup I need to use up.
Some Olive Oil (to make up for the lack of fat in the meat)
Cook until meat is tender and enjoy! Maybe serve it over cauliflower rice! Now if only someone can invent some paleo naan to sop it up (naan? naa!). Ugga-Bugga!
I’m not sure this pic does my paleo mushroom barley soup justice either, but it’s better than the old pic, which I’m replacing immediately. You know how some people get upset when you post a picture of them they think is bad? I feel that way about pics of my food. At least this pic shows how thick the soup actually came out.
I think it helped that I refrigerated it overnight, and removed all that healthy short rib fat (healthy yes, but it did make the soup a little greasy and thin). Don’t worry, I saved the fat for deep frying some fried chicken that I’ll make in the next week or so (beef fat has a high smoke point, ideal for deep frying, and because it’s from a grass-fed cow, it’s very healthy).
Next time I’ll make it slightly more chunky, and then I think it’ll be as close to my grandmother’s soup as I can get. It’s really an amazing experience cooking your grandmother’s dishes (in a healthy way, that is). Your palate acts as a magic carpet ride flying through all the wonderful memories of your youth. But because it’s paleo, there’s no stroke or heart attack waiting for you when you get back. Why not try to paleoize some of your favorite childhood meals? Ugga-Bugga!
P.S. - It’s ironic I’m now a caveman, since I spent most of my time as a kid eating this soup on a TV tray while watching the Flintstones.
Last night’s dinner was a 3 pasture raised egg omelette filled with leftover collard greens that I recently made in the crockpot (just used some chicken stock, onions, whole garlic, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, spicy and delicious). And a side of my paleo toast. I’m becoming a master omelette maker. The key is low heat, a well greased pan, and patience. Take a look:
You may notice how my toast is glistening. No, that’s not butter, a paleo no-no (although you can make a good case for clarified butter, aka ghee, being okay to use on paleo, but I still stay away from it). It’s actually a throw back to my youth, something my grandmother used to spread on bread or matzoh with a little kosher salt sprinkled on top. She called it schmaltz, but the cruder name is chicken fat!
Okay, stop throwing up in your mouth, chicken fat is actually quite amazing, both in taste, and in health! As I’ve said before, when the low-fat craze hit, we used to laugh and cringe about how our grandmother gave us that schmaltz/bread/salt concoction. Now that we know better, who would have realized years later that the chicken fat was actually the healthiest part of that meal?!
Now I’m not saying all chicken fat is healthy. If your chicken eats corn, and soy, and is injected with growth hormones and antibiotics, and packed into a giant pen squeezed in with thousands of other chickens and can barely move, then I wouldn’t say any part of that chicken is healthy, so stay away from it. But if your chicken roams freely on grass, and enjoys a diet of whatever it can find like bugs, worms, seeds, and grasses, then that animal is completely healthy, and everything in it is healthy as well, especially the fat!
When a wild animal kills another wild animal, the flesh isn’t the treat they’re looking for, it’s the fat. Fat in the organs, and bone marrow. Wild animals know instinctively that they need Omega-3 fat to stay healthy. And all wild animals are filled with Omega-3 fat. The salmon industry does a good job of marketing how rich fish are in Omega-3, but really all wild animals have it, not just salmon. By the way, a farm raised salmon doesn’t have any of the healthy Omega-3 fat, they just have the bad saturated fat doctors warn you to stay away from. This is the same reason we eat grass-fed beef on paleo, because the animal is leaner, and the fat is healthier. Saturated yes, but don’t get scared, it’s a good saturated fat, like in a coconut.
So recently I made some chicken stock from a pasture raised chicken, put it in the fridge overnight, and in the morning there was a wonderful layer of fat on the top. I skimmed that fat and put it in a jar.
Admit it, it doesn’t look as bad as you thought it would does it? It doesn’t taste like butter, but it is creamy, savory, melts easily, and is absolutely delicious! I spread some on a slice of fresh baked paleo nut bread for my friend, and didn’t tell her what it was. She flipped out at how good it was. I told her it was a spread my grandmother used to make, and never explained it was chicken fat, which I know would’ve made her gag. But I couldn’t stop eating it! I cooked my omelette in it, and spread it on my toast. It really tastes great, and is extremely healthy. Plus, animal fat has a high smoke point, so it’s better for cooking than any of the paleo allowable oils.
I’ve cooked with beef fat before, and the smell doesn’t always agree with me, but cooking with chicken fat smells like Thanksgiving, a smell I think we can all agree is pleasant and mouth watering (admit it vegetarians and vegans, even you like the smell). I plan on using this jar just as I would if it were filled with butter, only my heart won’t get clogged, and my weight won’t go up. I’m not lactose intolerant, but if you are, I suggest you give this a try. Just call it schmaltz, or your friends might think twice about trying it. Enjoy! Ugga-Bugga!
Simply outrageous! I first had pork belly while on a speaking tour in Australia, and my cousin Ari ordered it in Sydney, where he was living at the time. I had heard about it many times, but never saw it or ordered it. I tried some of his and it was one of the most decadent and delicious things I ever tasted. More fat than meat, but amazingly delicious fat.
Well, I wouldn’t make a habit of eating unhealthy saturated fat like that, from pigs that probably aren’t raised in healthy conditions, and are fed soy, corn, and god knows what else, so I never had it again. But now that I’m a caveman, and I recently found wild boar from the Broken Arrow Ranch (thanks again for the recommendation Nell Stephenson), I know that the pork belly from a wild animal is going to be full of healthy Omega-3 fat, so it was time to give it a try again. And also a great reason to use up the last of my Plum Loco Sauce from the freezer!
After researching many recipes from the internet, I settled on an Emeril Lagasse recipe and converted it to paleo. First I scored the fat on top (a criss-cross pattern with a knife so the fat doesn’t curl up the meat as it cooks and shrinks), and then marinated it for 24 hours in green tea (to replace the soy sauce), garlic, fresh ginger, black pepper, onion slices, and honey.
The next night, right before going to bed. I put it all in the crock pot (thanks again to my friend Julie for the great Christmas gift), and set it on low (tip, put the onion slices on the bottom so the meat doesn’t burn). But I also added some stock to it. The stock was the key! Hold on, this is too complicated, let me start a new paragraph to explain. Meet me down there.
Hi, thanks for coming. Last week I made a meal that I didn’t blog about, but it was absolutely amazing (don’t look at me like I cheated on you, I don’t see a ring on my finger). I had these organic turkey wings in the freezer since November (when they were on sale). I also had some marinade in the freezer from last summer, which was actually a sauce gone wrong. I blended some peaches, garlic, honey, and a habanero pepper in the blender (a variation of my Plum Loco Sauce), and was going to add cilantro afterwards, but I made the mistake of blending the cilantro leaves as well, and it turned the whole sauce green! Didn’t quite look as appetizing as I had hoped, so I just jarred it, and stuck it in the freezer until I found a use for it. I figured it would work as a great marinade for the turkey wings, and I was right. I marinated the wings for 24 hours and into the crock pot, covered them in water, and cooked for 6 hours on high. They were perfect, falling off the bone delicious! I didn’t blog about it though because the pictures were unappetizing looking and didn’t do the taste justice (my readers have very high standards).
But besides the wings, the meal yielded me this incredible turkey stock! After cooling in the fridge, it turned to pure gelatin, just like Modern Cavegirl told me it would (thanks for the stock tips, Jessica)! It was like turkey flavored jello with hints of peach, habanero, and cilantro! So good I could’ve just eaten it with a spoon (and did at times)! Anyway, long story longer, I used that stock to cook the wild boar pork belly in (see, we’ve come full circle).
But I wasn’t done. The next morning, about 7-8 later, I took out the pork belly, wrapped it in foil, and put it in the fridge until dinner time. Then I chopped up some collard greens (all ingredients, all organic, all the time), and threw that into the broth, now a combination of turkey stock, that peach/habanero/cilantro marinate, the pork belly marinade, and the fat dripping of the wild boar itself. Add to that the caramelized onions from the bottom of the crock pot, now mixed in, and the pot liquor that comes when you make greens like collards, and it might be the best side dish I ever made! I cooked the greens on low for about 6 hours, and some got crispy on top, which, when I mixed it into the pot liquor (you liquor, you brought her!), the textures of the crunchy and soft put this dish over the friggin’ top (it was already there anyway).
But wait, there’s more! Took the pork belly out of the fridge and crisped it up in a cast iron skillet before serving. Then, I doused it in my Plum Loco Sauce, and, repeat after me, it’s still the BEST THING I EVER TASTED! Damn, after being in the freezer since August, this sauce tastes like I just made it today! No preservatives, all organic, and completely raw! It’s mind blowing good. Well, don’t take my word for it, look for yourself:
Ugga-Bugga! Fatty yes, even for a lean wild animal, but that’s the belly for you! It tastes like boneless Chinese spare ribs! If you shy away from fat, don’t buy this cut of meat, but if you embrace fat like the caveman did (and all wild animals continue to do), then this is a MUST TRY! You don’t have to cook it as anally as I did, but the taste is explosive. Enjoy!
Wild, as in wild boar! For a while now I haven’t been thrilled with the quality of pasture raised pigs, because when I ask the farmers, there always seems to be some corn and/or soy based feed involved. The same for chickens! Although I did find a farmer that feed their pasture raised egg laying hens nothing, and I’m thrilled with my egg quality! But I recently found out they do feed their meat chickens soy! I feel completely duped. So for now no eating chicken, and for awhile now, no pork.
But my good friend and paleo expert Nell Stephenson, the Paleoista, turned me on to a wild game farm in Texas that ships anywhere, and they have wild boar! And all their animals are truly wild, killed humanely, without adding stress to the animal, so there’s no gaminess caused by the animal’s adrenaline when it knows it’s about to be killed (like in a slaughter house). This is the closest to paleo meat one can get, and I highly recommend them! They’re called Broken Arrow Ranch, and they also have wild antelope and venison (which I will make chili from once jalapenos are back in season). They have some non-paleo stuff too like quail (fed grains) and pre-made sausages (which I’m guessing contains salt), but I’m sticking to the paleo game meat, from animals that eat what they find roaming around the range!
And that includes wild boar! Finally pork has re-entered my life! Only much leaner with much better Omega-3 fat (like all wild animals have). I also bought some wild boar pork belly (not sure what to do with that yet), some ground meat (hello sausages!), and a shoulder roast! My friend Julie gave me a crock pot for Christmas (finally, a crock pot!), and I have the extra batches of my Plum Loco Sauce in the freezer (best thing I ever tasted in my life), so let’s make that shoulder into some paleo pulled pork!
I didn’t season the roast much (the Plum Loco sauce will add enormous amounts of flavor), just some black pepper. Placed the 2 pound roast in the crock pot on top of slices of yellow onion, and added a cup of water. Set it and forget it on low for 12 hours (the apartment smelled amazing!), then removed and drained the water. Took the onions and the roast and shredded it. It fell apart. Added it back to the crock pot and mixed it with the Plum Loco Sauce. Back on low for a couple of hours, and it was done (it didn’t even need it, it was ready to go right then and there)!
To go with, I made some Paleo Cole Slaw with:
(all ingredients, all organic, all the time)
Put it all on a piece of Swiss Chard (sturdier for wraps than lettuce, and adds a natural saltiness, which adds a lot when you don’t add or cook with salt like me), and had some paleo pulled pork tacos!
I’m so happy to have pork back in my life. Maybe I’ll make salt free paleo bacon from the wild boar belly (now that would be a bacon I can finally endorse!) And the Plum Sauce holds up great in the freezer! This is a raw product, and 100% organic and paleo! Now that I know it freezes well, I’m thinking of bottling it and selling it as the first product under the Cooking Caveman/Caveman Cafe brand. But until then, you’ll have to make it yourselves, you lazy bastards!