My Sister’s Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken

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I’ve received many requests for a Paleo-friendly marinade so I went to my sister, the bestest chef I know, and begged her for a recipe.

After lots and lots of pestering (I’m a good whiner with years of practice), she relented and sent me a recipe for her go-to, Thai-inspired, herb-y green marinade. This marinade is PHENOMENAL and can be used on a wide variety of meats or as a tasty condiment. This recipe is idiot-proof.

You HAVE to follow the jump ‘cause you’ll NEED this recipe in your repertoire…

Here’s what I gathered to make enough grilled drumsticks to feed 4-6 people:

  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 1/4 cups packed basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup packed mint leaves
  • 4 tablespoons of  Red Boat fish sauce
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves
  • zest of 1 lime
  • plenty ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Aleppo pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of apple juice (or 1 teaspoon of maple syrup if you’re not on a Whole30)
  •  Kosher salt
  • 3 pounds of chicken drumsticks or thighs

Here’s how I made it:

I gathered the ingredients…

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

… and made the marinade by combining the onion, cilantro, basil, mint, fish sauce, garlic, lime zest, black pepper, Aleppo pepper, and apple juice into a blender

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and pureed until smooth. 

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I tasted for seasoning and added salt to taste. Since I was using it as a marinade, I was more heavy-handed with the salt than I normally would be if it was used as a sauce.

I placed the chicken in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag…

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and poured the marinade over it.

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I let the chicken marinate overnight (marinate for at least an hour and up to a day).

The next day, I took the chicken out of the fridge an hour before I was ready to grill it. (If you are baking the chicken, roast on a wire rack for ~35-45 minutes at 400 F. Start with skin-side down, and flip skin-side up at the 20 minute mark.)

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The gas grill was set on high and after the chicken was placed on the grates, the temperature was immediately decreased to low.

The chicken was grilled for approximately 25 minutes (or until the internal temperature reached 165 F)… 

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…turning every 5-7 minutes. But be patient: Don’t go and flip the bird (legs, that is) before they naturally release from the grill surface — otherwise, you’ll leave a lot of tasty, crispy, marinated skin stuck on the grates!

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I served the drumsticks with lime wedges.

Try this recipe — you won’t be sorry!

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

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Today, I present another winner from Slow Cooker Revolution. I love that the cooking geeks at America’s Test Kitchen are super OCD about testing and retesting their recipes so I don’t have to tweak them too much at home. 

They list some great, eye-opening tips for cooking chicken in the slow cooker:

  1. Cook chicken ONLY 4-6 hours on LOW.
  2. Choose meaty thighs for flavor.
  3. Trim the fat and remove skin so your braising liquid doesn’t become an oil slick.
  4. Position a whole chicken breast side down (and cook a whole chicken on LOW for ONLY 4-6 hours).
  5. Brown only when necessary for flavor.

Unfortunately, a TON of the recipes in the book are totally grain or legume heavy. For example, all recipes that use ground beef incorporate a panade, bread mixed with milk, to help keep the meat moist.

The chicken cacciatore recipe, similar to the one for Korean short ribs, is pretty simple and the results were yummy. The only Paleo substitution I made was to omit the tapioca so the resulting sauce is a little thin. This dish reheats beautifully and I know ‘cause I cooked it in the slow cooker a couple days ago and served it tonight for dinner.

Here’s what I assembled to serve 6 hungry adults: 

  • 2 onions, minced in my food processor
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste (I like the stuff that comes in a tube)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1/2 ounce of dried mixed wild mushrooms, rinsed and minced (use all dried porcini mushrooms if you have it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 pounds cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved if small or quartered if large
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup organic chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 pounds of boneless and skinless chicken thighs (the original recipe called for 12 skinless, bone-on thighs)
  • 1/4 chopped fresh basil

Here’s how I made it:

I dumped the onions, tomato paste, butter, garlic, oregano, wild mushrooms, and red pepper flakes in a microwave safe bowl…

…and nuked everything on high for ~5 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the onions were softened.

I put the cooked aromatics in the slow cooker and stirred in the cremini, tomatoes, broth, and wine.

I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper and nestled them into the slow cooker and mixed everything well.

Then, I put on the lid and cooked the dish for  4-6 hours on low.

When the dish was finished, I transfered everything to a Corningware container and stored it in the fridge.

When I was ready to reheat the chicken cacciatore, I removed all the hardened fat on top, and dumped the contents in a medium sized pot. I reheated it over medium-high until it reached a boil and then I lowered the heat to simmer the stew for around 10-15 minutes. Before I served it, I topped the dish with some basil chiffonade.

I used to hate making chicken in a slow cooker but now I know it’s because I always overcooked it. See? You do learn something new everyday.

David Lebovitz’s Super Easy Roast Chicken with Caramelized Shallots (Whole30 Style)

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David Lebovitz, will you marry me and be my gay husband? I know I’m not worthy but I’ll promise to adore you, do your laundry, and laugh at all your jokes.

Seriously, he’s one of my favorite food bloggers and cookbook authors of all time. I’m a daily snooper on his site because his posts are so damn funny, witty, and chockfull of fail-proof recipes. Before I morphed into a cavegirl, I was always making one of his ice cream recipes or a batch of his cookies. Maybe that’s why I always had a thick middle…

One of my regular go-to weeknight meals is his savory recipe for roast chicken with shallots. The recipe takes about 5 minutes of prep time and the rest of the cooking is done in the oven. You’ll have plenty of time to make side dishes or even a sidecar cocktail.

Upon closer inspection, his recipe isn’t really Whole30 compliant due to the soy sauce and I don’t want to use extra virgin olive oil since it’s being roasted at a high temperature. I was determined to make it work so tonight I made some substitutions to make the dish more pleasing to my Paleo friends. You’re welcome.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil (or butter, coconut oil, ghee, animal fat)
  • 3 tablespoons Banyuls vinegar (or your favorite vinegar - sherry is fantastic!)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 4 large shallots, peeled and minced (you can also substitute 2 medium onions)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
  • large handful of Italian parsley, coarsely chopped

Here’s what I did:

I preheated the oven to 425 F. In a 9x13 baking dish, I whisked together the avocado oil, vinegar, shallots, coconut aminos, a generous amount salt (I used 3 large pinches) and freshly ground pepper.

Then, I tossed the chicken with the mixture making sure the pieces were well-coated with shallots.

I turned the chicken skin-side up and popped the dish in the oven. After 20 minutes, I flipped the chicken pieces (making sure to top the chicken pieces with shallots again).

About 25 minutes later, the chicken was finished cooking and the shallots were caramelized. I removed the chicken from the oven…

 …flipped it skin side up…

…and tossed on the chopped parsley.

This chicken was really flavorful: slightly tangy, onion-y, and delicious. The dish creates it’s own sauce which you MUST spoon onto your chicken. It smells so damn good while it’s cooking and it’s so effing easy. You should definitely put it in your repertoire!

I’ve tried this recipe with lots of different vinegars (e.g. sherry, red wine, balsamic, champagne) but Banyuls vinegar is awesome. It’s a nicely balanced vinegar made from Banyuls, a dessert wine  produced from old vines cultivated in terraces on the slopes of the Catalan Pyrenees in the Roussillon county of France.

Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Try it if you can find it!

Sous Vide Pork Belly

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Tonight was the first time I ever served pork belly, let alone sous vide pork belly. Thanks to my SousVide Supreme, it wasn’t a disaster and I didn’t have to order takeout as a back up.  In fact, it turned out pretty yummy.

A few nights ago, I brined two ¾-pound bricks of pork belly per the guidelines I found on David Barzelay’s site, Eat Foo. 

(Yes, the brine has brown sugar in it.)

The following morning, I removed the bellies out of the brine, dried them, and vacuum sealed them. 

Then, I dunked them in my SousVide Supreme (set at 160 F) and let them hang for 24 hours.  After a day passed, I put them in an ice bath and then stored them in the fridge until I cooked them off tonight for company.

I wasn’t sure whether or not to reheat the pork bellies in my SousVide Supreme before searing them so I opted to dunk them back in for 30 minutes at 160 F.  It might have been a mistake because when I tried to weigh the pork bellies down to flatten them post bath, the fat layer sheared right off the meat. Oh well. I decided to brown the four pieces separately and reassemble afterwards.

To sear the pork belly, I heated my cast iron skillet to medium high with 1 tablespoon of lard.  Then, I removed the pork bellies from their bags, pat them dry, and scored the fatty side with a sharp knife.

I browned the fat side for a good 4-5 minutes undisturbed and flipped it over to cook for an additional minute on the other side. 

The other two pieces were meatier, so I just seared them a minute on each side.

I plated them and then reassembled them to look like two solid pieces again.

Since I wasn’t sure we’d have enough meat to eat, I crisped up my last two sous vide chicken thighs straight from the fridge (6 minutes skin side down…

…then 2 minutes on the meat side).

Here’s our meat on a chipped serving platter:

For veggie sides, I served spinach and shallots sautéed in lard…


roasted butternut squash in lard

…and curried cream of broccoli soup.

Here’s my dinner plate:

The pork belly was tasty but the chicken thighs were awesome! I love that I can fry them straight from the fridge!

Paleo Finds at Nijiya Market (Mountain View, CA)

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I love Japanese grocery stores! A lot of the food is excessively packaged and super processed, but the stores are so damn clean, especially compared to other Asian markets. (Been to a 99 Ranch lately? Yowsers!)

I hadn’t been to Nijiya Market in a while because I no longer need to stock up on mirin, soy products, soba noodles, Japanese curry mix, etc. since going Paleo. But today, I returned to check out Nijiya’s selection of meat and organic produce (which is pretty extensive).

I picked up a few veggies and some packages of organic peeled and cooked chestnuts…

…Rocky free-range chicken thighs, boneless, with skin-on…

…and pork belly!

I love that Nijiya carries unusual cuts of meat that are harder to find at most big-chain American grocery stores. I’m gonna be sous viding the pork belly and thighs, so keep your eyes peeled for a blog post about ‘em later this week.