Happy Poppa’s Day!

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My dad is patient, funny, and loves lamb. Thank you, pops, for keeping your cool back in 1989 when I smashed our brand-new Volvo into the neighbor’s mailbox. I love that you always laughed whenever I’d slap down the newspaper you were reading—even though I did it just about every day until I was in high school. (Sorry I was so annoying.) Most importantly, thank you for nurturing my picky palate, offering me honest and actionable feedback on my dishes, and being one of my biggest cheerleaders. I love you, dad!

Slim Palate’s Lamb Osso Bucco With Gremolata

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I’m still in Austin, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about you and your cooking needs. Here’s a fantastic recipe you can braise in the oven TODAY for your Sunday supper:

Doesn’t this dish look fantastic? What’s even more amazing is that my guest blogger, Joshua Weissman, isn’t even old enough to vote yet. In fact, he just finished his finals for junior year last week. Of high school. Boy, do I feel old.

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Joshua Weissman is a 17-year-old food blogger with a passion for cooking, food and health. Joshua always loved food but his love for food led to an eventual weight gain. After years of endless ridicule and physical harassment, he decided to change his life and lost over 100 pounds through healthy eating and exercise. On his blog, Slim Palate, he documents his latest culinary creations with fun stories and gorgeous photography.  To keep abreast of his kitchen shenanigans, follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Take it away, Josh!

Before I start rambling, I have to take a moment to thank Michelle for having me guest post. Of the many food bloggers that I adore, she has a special place in my heart because we share a similarity in cooking styles and tastes. At my house, we joke around and call Michelle one of my “second mothers” along with Stacy from Paleo Parents. Now look what I’ve done; I’ve begun rambling and I haven’t even gotten to the post.

The dish I’m writing about is Lamb Osso Bucco With Gremolata.

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I’m in love with braising because the technique’s practically foolproof and almost always yields perfectly voluptuous, tender and flavorful meals. When braising meat, you can opt for tougher cuts because the low and slow cooking melts the tough connective tissue. 

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Paleo Eats: 4/27/13

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Hey, look! A new Paleo Eats! Remember when I used to post every single day about what I ate? Things have been more than a little crazy over here (and you’ll find out why soon enough!), so photographing and editing daily posts about my meals has taken a backseat to family time. But yesterday, I whipped out the trusty camera again to capture a few food-related Kodak moments.

We were already behind schedule by the time we woke up. Henry was dashing off with power tools to Lil-O’s co-op preschool for a mandatory maintenance day, while I stayed home to help Big-O with his science project. So for a quick, hearty breakfast, I made everyone fried eggs over leftover Pressure-Cooked Kale & Carrots.

While Lil-O busied himself with his Lego collection, Big-O and I turned our focus to his second-grade science project: Making a poster to show how he made yogurt. (Yeah, I know it’s not Paleo, but for you dairy-abstainers, you should definitely check out this recipe for this Simple Coconut Milk Yogurt.) 

Want to see how we transformed a liquid into a solid with the magic of bacteria?

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Pressure Cooker Indian Curry Lamb Spareribs

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I got the inspiration for this dish after tasting my buddy Noopur’s bright and fresh-tasting curried mutton the other day. She’s a fellow CrossFitting foodie who obsesses about what’s she’s going to eat all the time — just like me. Noopur told me the secret to her recipe is to use lots of lemon juice and chopped cilantro.  Here’s a simplified (and bastardized) American version of her phenomenal recipe.

Ingredients (Serves 2-3 people)

For the lamb

For the sauce

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (I use Maharajah Style Curry Powder)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

Toss the spare ribs with 2 teaspoons salt…

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…and 1 tablespoon curry powder.

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Use your hands to thoroughly coat the ribs.

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Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours and up to a day.

When you’re ready to cook off the ribs, melt the coconut oil over medium heat in a 6-qt pressure cooker.

Brown the spare ribs in two batches…

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…and remove them to a plate when they’re done.

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While the ribs are sizzling, grab the onion and tomatoes…

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…throw them in a blender

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…and blitz until smooth.

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Once the spare ribs are seared…

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…add the minced garlic to the empty pot off the heat.

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I take the pot off the heat so the garlic doesn’t burn — that’ll add a yucky metallic taste and it’ll ruin your curry.

Stir the garlic until fragrant (30 seconds) before adding the tomato and onion puree.

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Put the pot back on a burner set at medium heat.

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Add curry powder, salt, 1 cup chopped cilantro, and lemon juice.

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Bring to a boil…image

 …and add the lamb back in.

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Mix the spareribs to coat with curry sauce.

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Lock on the pressure cooker lid and increase heat to high to bring up to high pressure. Once high pressure is reached, decrease the heat to low to maintain high pressure for 20 minutes.

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Let the pressure release naturally (10-15 minutes).

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Taste for seasoning and stir in scallions and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.

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Rogan Josh (Lamb Stew) - The Easy Version

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Folks, I’ve discovered another game changer.

After reading John “Doc” Willoughby’s article “Deep Flavor, No Browning Required” in the NYT, I’ve decided to forgo pre-searing meat when I cook stews. According to the article, the way to “cold start” a stew is to skip the normal searing of meat in hot oil and replace it with a gentle warming of the protein in some fat, aromatics, and spices. No sputtering oil or grease burns AND you still get a delicious, flavorful dish? Awesome.

The other day, I decided to test out this method with my Rogan Josh recipe. How’d it turn out? The final dish was yummy and flavorful and nobody missed the browned bits (or the greasy mess).

Here’s what I gathered to feed 6 adults:

  • 2.5 pounds of boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (or coconut oil)
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Rogan Josh seasoning
  • ½ cup full fat Greek yogurt (or coconut milk)
  • 2/3 cup water Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made it:

I preheated the oven to 300 F, prepped the lamb…

…chopped the veggies…

…and melted the ghee in a large Dutch oven over medium low heat.

Once the fat melted, I dumped in the lamb, onions, carrots, spices, salt, and pepper.

I stirred the mixture constantly for 5-8 minutes until the spices were fragrant.

Next, I added the water and yogurt and increased the heat to high to bring the contents to a simmer.

I put on the lid and placed the stew in the oven for around two hours or until the lamb was very tender. I removed the stew from the oven and adjusted the seasoning with salt and pepper.

I transferred the finished dish to a storage container with the intent of reheating it in a few days.

Stews always taste better when they’ve been allowed to mellow out in the fridge for a day and this was no exception. My parents kept on remarking that the lamb was super tender and delicious. I think they’re just surprised that my food is edible these days. Practice makes perfect…

Rogan Josh (Lamb Stew)

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I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Indian food. I used to trek all over the Bay Area just to taste a great masala dosa or special thali. Although I still love the complex and intense flavors of Indian food, it’s hard for me to resist the grains and legumes when I see them on the menu. Now that I’m comfortably settled on the Paleo bandwagon, my Indian eats have been few and far between. That’s why I was so excited to find Melissa Joulwan’s recipe for Paleo Rogan Josh. Rogan Josh is a spicy and aromatic lamb stew that would be uber hard to make if it weren’t for the magic of Penzeys Rogan Josh seasoning. I whipped some up this morning, with some minor tweaks, and it was super easy and delicious.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • 1 pound of lamb stew meat, cut into 1.5 inch chunks
  • 2 small onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces of mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Penzeys Rogan Josh seasoning
  • ½ cup of coconut milk
  • ½ cup of water
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made it:

I assembled and chopped my ingredients and preheated my oven to 300 F.

I don’t know about you, but despite what the label says, this doesn’t look like ground lamb to me…

I heated the coconut oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat and tossed the lamb with salt and pepper. Once the pot was hot, I seared my lamb chunks in a single layer for about 4 minutes undisturbed on each side.

I removed the browned lamb to a separate plate and added the carrots and onions to the empty pot. When the onions were translucent…

…I threw in the mushrooms along with a dash of salt and pepper.

After the liquid had cooked off, I tossed in the garlic and stirred everything around until fragrant (around 30 seconds). Next, I added lamb back in along with the Rogan Josh seasoning, making sure it was well distributed.

Then, I poured in the coconut milk and water.

The liquid level was about ¾ the way up the meat and veggies. I covered my pot and stuck it in my oven for until the meat was nice and tender (about 1.5 to 2 hours). (I like to braise my stews in the oven ‘cause the temperature is constant, the flavors get concentrated, and you don’t have to babysit it).

Wow! This dish is awesome! Next time, I’m gonna double the amount of meat because the pot only yielded about three servings. Also, the spice blend packs some heat, so back off on the seasoning if you can’t take it.

Thanks for the great recipe, Melicious!

Quick Lamb Burgers Topped With Fried Egg and Sautéed Shiitake Mushrooms and Onions

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There’s nothing I like more than waking up in the evening to the delicious aroma of seared meat. (For all you newbies, I’m not sleeping away the day because I’m lazy or depressed — I’m a shift worker.) Today was my lucky day: not only did my hubby entertain the kids all day, he also made dinner! I’m telling you, when someone else makes dinner, the food takes on a mysterious, MSG-like, flavor-enhancing quality.

What was on the menu? Butter-lettuce wrapped grass fed New Zealand lamb burgers topped with a fried egg, homemade guacamole, sautéed mushrooms and onions — with roasted carrot fries on the side. As an added bonus, dinner was on the table in around 30 minutes, which was just enough time for me to do a quick metcon workout (lots and lots of burpees!) while the kids caught an episode of Scooby Doo on the boob tube.

Here’s what the husband assembled for dinner:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 frozen grass fed lamb patties
  • 1 large avocado
  • ½ pound of shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 leaves of butter lettuce (I like using Live Gourmet brand with the roots attached. The heads stay fresher longer and are grown pesticide-free)
  • Handful of shredded carrots (optional garnish)
  • 5 or 6 carrots
  • Coconut oil and/or avocado oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper

Here’s how he made the burgers:

Earlier in the day, the boys hit Whole Foods and stocked up on Atkins Ranch New Zealand frozen lamb patties (which happened to be on sale — $4.99 for each package of two patties).

When they returned from the store, Mr. Mom put a two-pack in the fridge to defrost and put the rest in the freezer. If you forget to defrost them, you can take the patties straight from the freezer and use the defrost function on the microwave to thaw them. (But be careful defrosting meat in the microwave because if you’re not watching it like a hawk, you’ll end up cooking part of it.)

About an hour before he started making dinner, he took the patties out of the fridge and seasoned them liberally with salt and pepper.

Per Thomas Keller, you should always bring your meat up to cool room temperature before cooking to get the best results. But don’t be dumb and leave it at room temp for half a day or your meat’ll become a veritable petri dish of badness.

At around 5:00 p.m., hubs prepped his veggies and popped a tray of carrot “French fries” tossed with avocado oil, salt, and pepper into the toaster oven (400 F for about 25 minutes).

Then, he made some guacamole by simply smashing up the avocado with some salt and pepper. Personally, I like to add a squirt of lemon or lime juice but I swear I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth!

Next, hubby heated a heaping tablespoon of coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and sautéed the onions until they were translucent. He added the sliced shiitake mushrooms along with some salt and pepper and sautéed everything until all the liquid had evaporated.

At the end, he tossed in the minced garlic and stirred the veggies around for about 30 more seconds. If you toss the garlic in earlier, you’ll burn it — and burnt garlic adds a yucky metallic taste to everything.

Once the mushrooms and onions were finished, he rinsed and dried out the skillet, added another dollop of coconut oil and set it over medium-high heat. When the oil was shimmering, he added the lamb patties to the pan.

He seared them for about 4 minutes on each side and checked that the internal temperature was ~ 145 F with our handy-dandy meat thermometer.

Finally, he rinsed the skillet again before frying a couple of eggs in some melted coconut oil.

He plated the burgers over the butter lettuce and topped ‘em with sliced tomato, fried egg, shredded carrots, guacamole, and sautéed mushrooms and onions. By this time, the roasted carrot fries were finished…

…so we sat down and scarfed down dinner.

Bun-less burgers can be pretty messy to eat, so I ate mine with a fork and knife since I’m a cavegirl with good manners. My husband, however, didn’t seem to mind the meat juices running down his hands and forearms as he devoured his burger.

These Paleo lamb burgers were fan-effing-tastic. Cavemen, make this meal for that special someone in your life and I promise that the 30 minutes you spend will be repaid in sex. Er, I mean spades.

Sous Vide Mustard and Herb Seasoned Butterflied Lamb Leg

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Remember how I sous vided a butterflied lamb leg and tri-tip roast earlier this week?  Well, I finished cooking off the lamb tonight and it was fantastic!

Here’s a recap of how easy it was:

Purchase this pre-seasoned lamb leg at Costco while they last:

Re-vacuum seal in your own bag and without the absorbent paper:

Plop in your SousVide Supreme set at 130 F for 24 hours:

Remove the cooked meat from SousVide Supreme and plunge in an ice water bath for 1 hour and store in fridge or freezer until needed.  If reheating from fridge, set SousVide Supreme to 130F and drop in packet for 30 minutes. 

Then, remove the packet from the bath and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat up 2 tablespoon of lard in a cast iron skillet on high.  Sear the leg, fat side down when fat is smoking.  Leave undisturbed for 2 minutes.  Flip over and sear on the other side for 2 minutes.

Slice up and dig in!

Really delicious!  In the past, when I’ve roasted boneless leg of lamb the conventional way, parts of it would be too rare and other parts would be too well-done. This piece of meat was pink throughout and really tender and juicy.  Plus, it was seasoned really well.  I’d definitely plunk down $20 plus change for this pre-seasoned, ready-to-cook piece of lamb.  There’s definitely enough meat for 6 hearty eaters.  Next to pork chops, this was the best thing I’ve made in my SousVide Supreme thus far. 

I served the sliced lamb leg with garlic cauliflower mashed “potatoes”, and sautéed spinach. Nom. nom. nom.