Nom Nom Paleo

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder Roast

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So. Damn. Easy.

The hardest part of this recipe is to remember to defrost and season your roast a couple days in advance. When you’re ready to eat it, just pop the pork and some chopped aromatics in your slow cooker and your dinner cooks while you’re at work (or while you’re sleeping).

Here’s what I assembled to feed 4 hungry adults:

  • 2.5 pound tied boneless pork shoulder roast (I wish I had a bigger one but I got this size in my CSA box)
  • 2-4 tablespoons Chili Con Carne Seasoning (or your favorite dry rub)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 large carrots, cut into 1/2” slices

Here’s what I did:

I dried off the pork roast with some paper towels and seasoned it liberally with salt, pepper, and the spice blend. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive with the seasoning.

I placed the roast in a gallon sized Ziploc bag, squeezed out all air, and stuck it in the fridge. The roast should marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

A couple days later, I threw some chopped carrots and onions into my slow cooker and tossed them with salt and pepper.

I placed the roast (and collected juices) on top of the vegetables, covered it with a lid, and cooked the pork on low for 8-10 hours.

When the roast was finished cooking, I preheated my broiler. I placed the roast on a greased wire rack on a lined baking sheet and put it under the broiler (~ 6 inches from the heating element) and browned it for about 2 minutes on each side.

I cut the binding on the roast plated the carrots, onions, and gravy. I put the roast on top of the veggies and used two forks to shred the meat.

Yummy. My only regret is I didn’t have a larger roast because I barely had any leftovers!

Simple Crab Salad

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The hardest part of this recipe is making the homemade mayonnaise. If you already have some on hand, you can have this dish on your table in 5 minutes. 

Here’s what I assembled to serve 3-4 people:

  • 1 pound can of lump crab meat (I get mine at Trader Joe’s or Costco)
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons of Paleo mayonnaise
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made it:

I assembled my ingredients and chopped my herbs.

Then, I cracked open the can ‘o crab and squeezed out the extra liquid.

I dumped the crab in a medium sized bowl…

…and mixed in the scallions, parsley, salt, and pepper.  

Next, I added the mayonnaise and the lemon juice.

Taste it to see if you need more mayo, lemon juice, salt, or pepper. 

Serve it over greens and top with avocado or guacamole. Or, if you want to throw together a quick appetizer, mix the crab salad with some finely-diced red bell pepper and spoon it in some endive spears.

Pretty!

Super Easy Tandoori Chicken

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Man, oh man, this chicken dish is easy and delicious! Provided you have some Penzeys Tandoori seasoning on hand…

You do need to plan ahead a little bit because the chicken has to marinate for at least 4 hours, but the actual hands-on time is pretty minimal. In fact, this dish can be thrown together in about 10 minutes before you head off to work and it will be ready to bake when you get home. (Or, if you’re a night shift worker like me, you can throw it together in the morning before going to bed and it will be ready to go when you wake up.) I followed the tandoori chicken recipe on Penzeys Spices website with a few modifications and my results were quite remarkable.

Here’s what to assemble:

  • 4 pounds chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup full fat Greek yogurt (or substitute full fat coconut milk)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Penzeys tandoori seasoning
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or fat of choice

Here’s what to do:

Grab your thighs and trim off any excess blobs of fat. Season the chicken parts evenly with kosher salt and stick ‘em in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt and the tandoori seasoning.

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Pour in the lemon juice and mix well to combine.

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Sometimes little hands are better at this step.

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Once the marinade is ready…

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…spoon it over the salted chicken…

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…and work it into the poultry with your hands. 

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for 4 to 8 hours to marinate.

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When you’re ready to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 375°F on convection roast setting (or 400°F in a non-convection oven).

Place a wire rack on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Grease the rack with a paper towel dipped in melted coconut oil.

Arrange the chicken on the rack skin-side down…

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….and pop the tray in the oven for about 40 minutes…

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…flipping the pieces skin-side up at the halfway mark.

The chicken’s done when there’s yummy charred bits all over and the juices run clear when stabbed with a skewer.

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This dish was super-duper easy, moist, and delicious to boot. Get your keisters to a Penzeys ASAP!

Quick & Simple Roasted Rack of Lamb

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I’ve never made rack of lamb at home before because it always seemed overly intimidating. And ‘cause I’m lazy.

But when I was at Trader Joe’s this afternoon, the little itty packs of frenched lamb racks looked pretty harmless…and tasty. So on a whim, I bought some. Turns out rack of lamb is easy to make and take no time at all. Plus, if you have a kick-ass meat thermometer, there’s no way you can mess this up.

Here’s what I assembled to feed two people:

  • 1 rack of lamb (~1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon of Dukka seasoning
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Here’s what I did:

Basically, I followed the directions in my Cook’s Illustrated The Best Meat Recipes book for roasting a rack of lamb. Those kitchen nerds haven’t let me down yet!

I preheated my oven to 425 F and placed a foil-lined baking sheet on a rack in the lower middle of my oven.

After seasoning the lamb very generously with salt and pepper, I sprinkled on the Dukka seasoning.

Per my chef sister, you should always try to salt your meats ahead of time (up to 24 hours), but I salted them only 10 minutes prior to searing. Still, the chops tasted great.

I heated 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over high heat in my large cast iron skillet, and when it began smoking, I added the rack of lamb, meat side down. I let the meat sizzle for 4 minutes until a nice crust formed. Then, I flipped the rack over and cooked it for 2 more minutes on the other side.

Next, the rack went into the oven on the preheated baking sheet.

In case you’re wondering, inside those two other foil packets were Portobello mushrooms that I planned to serve as a side dish.

I roasted the lamb for roughly 12-15 minutes, If you want it cooked medium rare, wait ‘til the temperature of the meat reaches 125 degrees; for medium, wait for it to hit 130 degrees. Mine ended up closer to 133 degrees because I kind of forgot to check on my lamb.

After I removed the rack from the oven…

I loosely tented it with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Then, I sliced the rack into four pieces (2 ribs per slice) and served it up.

Who knew roasted rack of lamb could go from fridge to table in just 30 minutes?

Slow Cooker Grass Fed Beef Shanks & Cabbage Stew

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Makes 6 servings / Hands-On Time: 15 minutes / Total Time: 11 hours

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I’m always looking for shortcuts to deliciousness, so even though my last slow cooker experiment was an abject failure, I was determined to undertake a new experiment this morning. I’d defrosted a couple of 2-inch center cut grass fed beef shanks, and was looking forward to chucking everything into the slow cooker so I’d have a tasty cabbage and beef shank stew ready to devour when I woke up in the evening. (Well, I was hoping it’d be tasty…)

Here’s what I assembled:

  • ½ pound organic baby carrots
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 small cabbage (about 2 pounds), cored, and cut into 8 wedges
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves
  • 2 center-cut grass fed beef shanks (about 2” thick)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 15 ounce can of organic diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup organic chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos

And here’s what I did with the stuff:

I dumped the baby carrots and chopped onions into the bottom of my slow cooker

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…and layered the cabbage wedges on top.

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I threw in the smashed garlic cloves and bay leaves, and seasoned the beef shanks with salt and pepper to taste (by the way, feel free to be pretty heavy-handed with the S&P).

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Then, I plopped ‘em on top of the cabbage.

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The last step was to pour in the diced tomatoes and broth…

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…before putting on the lid. I set the slow cooker on low and let it do its thing for 9 hours while I hit the sack. (Ah, the nocturnal life of a night shift worker…)

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When I woke up, the house was suffused with a rich, beefy aroma. I couldn’t wait to peek at the stew. Lifting the lid off the slow cooker, I saw that the meat had pulled away from the bone and the marrow was perfectly cooked. Score!

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I removed and plated the bones (and delicious marrow), shredded the meat, and tasted the stew for seasoning. The pot liquor was exploding with flavor, but it was a bit on the sweet side for my taste from all the onions and carrots, so I added a couple of tablespoons of coconut aminos and some more salt and pepper.

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In the meantime, I oven-roasted some cremini mushrooms tossed with Tabil seasoning and macadamia nut oil (400 F on convection roast for 25 minutes) and quickly whipped up some garlic cauliflower mashed “potatoes” (this time, substituting extra virgin olive oil for the grass-fed butter).

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Here’s my dinner plate:

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All in all, not too shabby for a simple dump-and-cover slow cooker meal. Because the meat was grass fed, it wasn’t quite as meltingly tender as your typical crappy (but admittedly yummy) grain ‘n corn-fed stuff. Nonetheless, it was TONS better than the grass fed “beef stew” that crawled out of my slow cooker a few days ago. Plus, bone marrow is just so damn tasty –- mouth-filling, fatty, and full of umami goodness. I’m really happy I joined our meat CSA; left to my own devices, I never would’ve thought to buy beef shanks. Now, I’m gonna order them as extra items when I get next month’s box o’ animal parts!