Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 2/6/11

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Ahhhh…there’s nothing like waking up to the smell of pork slowly braising in your oven.

However, that same smell also made me bolt out of bed because it reminded me that I had a ton of stuff to do before our guests came over to watch the Super Bowl.

Shortly after I awoke, I assembled the ingredients to roast portobello mushroom caps.

I recruited Big-O to help me season and make the packets…

…before I sealed them up and popped them in the oven.

After 35 minutes in a 400 F oven, the ‘shrooms were done and I sliced them up and put them in a Tupperware to plate later with the rest of my roasted veggies.

While the mushrooms were roasting, I chopped up a bunch of raw vegetables for a crudite platter and I threw together a quick breakfast salad with organic greens and leftover rotisserie chicken.

Once the mushrooms were out of the oven, I prepared a tray of delicata squash that I roasted for 30 minutes at 400 F.

The last thing I did before lunchtime was assemble  prosciutto-wrapped asparagus spears and stick the trays in the fridge.

I didn’t want to mess up the kitchen even more by fixing lunch, so our family stopped by The Counter to scarf down some grub. I got myself another burger in a bowl of greens with cheddar cheese, tomatoes, sliced avocado, roasted bell peppers, hard boiled egg, and cucumbers.

When I came home, I finished cooking and plating all the dishes for our party. The party food wasn’t 100% Paleo because although I believe that this is the best way to eat, I don’t want to impose my views on my guests who don’t feel the same way. That’s just being an a-hole host.

For full disclosure, these are the non-Paleo items I served:

  • chips and salsa (these came free with my $30 purchase at Sigona’s)
  • salumi and cheese platter with crackers
  • my mom’s homemade spareribs (they’re delicious but there’s quite a bit of sugar in them)
  • Rick’s Rather Rich Ice Cream cookies and cream ice cream pie (Don’t hate! This pie was for a 5-year old celebrating her birthday at our house.)

The Paleo-friendly items: (~75% of the food)

Assorted nuts and coconut flakes…

…raw veggies with Aubergine dip and homemade ranch dressing made with full fat Greek yogurt…

…roasted vegetables drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar…

broiled prosciutto-wrapped asparagus drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar…

…mini bratwursts…

overnight oven-braised shredded pork tacos served with salsa and homemade guacamole…

…and fresh berries for dessert.

Our Super Bowl party was a big success: lots of fun, laughter, and good eats! Wait, who won again? Oh yeah, the team with the Paleo quarterback!

Slow Braised Pork Leg with Citrus and Fajita Seasoning

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Last month, my meat CSA sent us a pasture-raised boneless pork leg roast. WTF was I supposed to do with it? Undeterred, I scoured the internet and my voluminous cookbook collection and settled on a recipe in Molly Steven’s All About Braising. Remember? She’s the original creator of the World’s Best Braised Cabbage.

I modified her Caribbean Pork Shoulder recipe by subbing in fajita and taco seasoning for her spice blend, using a teaspoon of dried oregano in place of thyme, adding a couple bay leaves, and juicing a Meyer lemon instead of a lime.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • 3 pound boneless pork leg, tied
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1 medium orange)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon fajita and taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Here’s what I did:

I seasoned my pork leg liberally with salt and pepper. Then, I rubbed on the dried oregano and fajita and taco seasoning.

For the marinade, I whisked together the orange and lemon juices with the minced garlic. I placed the leg in a gallon Ziploc bag and poured on the marinade. I let the roast marinate in my fridge for 24 hours.

The next day, I preheated the oven to 300 F and I let the pork sit at room temperature while the oven heated. I transferred the pork leg to a large Dutch oven (5 to 6 quart) and poured on the remaining marinade and the 1/4 cup of water.

I covered the pot with parchment paper, pressing it down until it almost touches the pork, and put on the lid.

 I cooked the roast in the oven for 3.5 to 4 hours or until tender, turning it every hour.

I removed the string webbing…

…shredded up the meat…

…and poured on the defatted braising liquid.

Pretty tasty but a little on the dry side. Next time, I’m going to try this recipe with the cut she recommends: a 4 to 5 pound boneless Boston butt with skin on.

Go, butts!