Paleo Slow Cooker Pork Chili Colorado

dried chiliesby Karen Frazier

With Tanner off to college and Kevin only here a few weekends a month, Jim has become my primary cooking “audience.” As you may have noticed in previous posts, I spend a lot of time discussing what Jim likes to eat as the impetus for the foods I cook. My Paleo pork chili Colorado is no exception. I want Jim to enjoy the foods he eats so he is more easily able to stick to the plan. His health (and mine) is very important to me.

Pre-heart attack and pre-Paleo diet Jim really liked to eat Chili Colorado at Mexican restaurants. One night about a month into the Paleo diet, he got a wistful look in his eyes and started talking about how much he missed Azteca’s chili Colorado burrito. Clearly a burrito was out of the question, but I figured I had chili Colorado within my reach.

For my first attempt, I had some grass fed bison stew meat in the freezer, so I thought I’d try that. I nailed the spice blend, so the flavors were great, but the bison was just too dry to lend itself well to the slow stewing that happens with chili. This week, I decided to try some pastured pork shoulder instead. What a difference. The fat in the pork added a richness of flavor, and the meat took on the spices nicely.

So now, when Jim gets that wistful look in his eye, I’m ready for him with a nice pot of pork chili Colorado.

Paleo Slow Cooker Pork Chili Colorado

  • 1 pastured pork shoulder roast (4-5 pounds), cut into one-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 dried New Mexico (or guajillo) chilies
  • 2 dried chipotle chilies
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups homemade beef, chicken, or pork stock
  1. Season the pork cubes with salt and pepper and put them in the slow cooker with the onions and garlic.
  2. Roughly chop the dried chili peppers and put them in the bowl of a food processor. Run the processor for 20 one-second pulses. Then, run it continuously until the peppers are chopped into a powder with a few small pieces in it.
  3. Add the peppers to the slow cooker, and then add the cumin, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and stock. Stir to combine.
  4. Turn the slow cooker on low and cook for eight to ten hours.

photo credit: MarxFoods.com via photopin cc

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Paleo Smoked Rib Eyes with Sweet and Sour Bacon Jam

Ribeyesby Karen Frazier

Jim is a meat lover. Man does that guy love his meat. If you put meat on top of meat, well he loves that even more. It’s why after his heart attack, I realized that the Paleo diet was the only way to go that would make him happy. I just couldn’t see him subsisting on a nearly vegetarian diet with a tiny amount of meat.

Fortunately, the research on the Paleo diet for people heart disease is very promising. After researching it extensively and talking to his cardiologist, this is where we settled. So far so good. He’s lost 30 pounds and his blood lipids are improving. His BP is low, and he is healthier than he has been in years.

It’s been great for me, too. I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and celiac disease. Both are autoimmune conditions, and research is showing that Paleo diets work well for those. Since October 1, I have lost 55 pounds (and still going). I have more energy than I’ve had in years. My celiac disease is under control, and I just feel so much better in general. For us, it has vastly improved our health.

Anyway – meat on meat. I got a little sidetracked there with the whole health thing. And while health is super important, if you’re eating tasteless, unsatisfying food, any diet can be difficult to stick to. Since I am so invested in Jim’s good health–I want him around for years to come–I tailor the foods I make to his tastes. I want to make him do a happy dance at how delicious the foods I provide are. That means that sometimes, I put meat on meat. Which is where I came up with the idea for smoked rib eyes with bacon jam. Because seriously – yum.

The bacon jam is the perfect combination of sweet and sour with just a little bit of spice, while the smoky ribeye is the perfect canvas for it. Jim got a smoker a few years ago for Christmas and it is his pride and joy. If it came down to his smoker or me, I think he might choose the smoker. Fortunately, I’m happy that he spends time outside adding a little smokiness to meat, because it really brings the flavor to dishes like this. If you don’t have a smoker, no worries. Just cook the ribeye (or your favorite cut of beef) on the grill, or however you enjoy cooking it. My instructions below are for the smoker.

I served this dish with a sweet potato that I’d spiralized into pommes frites style shoestrings, fried in lard, and sprinkled with a bit of Himalayan pink salt. If that sounds like a super carby choice, it is not as bad as you would think. One five-inch sweet potato (peeled) in a spiralizer makes a huge batch of pommes frites, and it only has 26 grams of carbs. Between two people, it’s 13 grams of carbs each, minus about 3 grams of fiber for a net carb count of 10 grams. If you do fry up some sweet potato pommes frites, make sure your oil is 375 degrees Fahrenheit before you start to cook the potatoes, and work in batches.

I also added a side of sautéed citrus spinach. I’ll put the recipe below. I can’t actually eat a whole ribeye, or even half one, but it gives me a few meals. As for the leftover bacon jam, roll it in your omelet tomorrow morning or warm it up and put it over a fried egg.

Smoked Rib Eyes with Sweet and Sour Bacon Jam

  • 2 12-ounce grass fed rib eye steaks
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into small dice
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into small dice
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup raw organic apple cider vinegar
  • Zest and juice from 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Swerve sweetener or 1 packet stevia
  1. Preheat your smoker to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Season the steaks generously with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  3. Smoke the steaks for 50 minutes.
  4. While the steaks smoke, in a large sauté pan, brown the bacon over medium-high heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan and set the bacon fat aside.
  5. Add the onion to the remaining fat and the bacon and cook it, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about five minutes.
  6. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add the vinegar, thyme, sea salt, orange zest and orange juice, sriracha or red pepper flakes, and stevia or Swerve. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces and the flavors blend, about 20 minutes.
  8. Heat two tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the smoked rib eyes and cook until well browned, two minutes per side.
  9. Serve the bacon jam spooned over the top of the steak.

Sauteed Citrus Spinach

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, duck fat, lard, or bacon grease
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups organic fresh baby spinach
  • Juice and zest of half an orange
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  1. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  2. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until shallot is soft, about four minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the spinach, orange juice, orange zest, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach wilts. Serve immediately.

photo credit: junehug via photopin cc

Slow Cooker Paleo Jambalaya

Jambalayaby Karen Frazier

I love spicy food. Jim is a little more reticent. He will eat it, but he prefers it not be too hot. Most jambalaya recipes have a lot of heat in them, making them spicier than Jim’s palate prefers. So I set out to make jambalaya (without rice for obvious reasons) that would fit Jim’s heat preferences.

This recipe turned out perfectly. It had a little heat from the andouille without setting fire to our mouths. If you like it spicier, add more cayenne.

Slow Cooker Paleo Jambalaya

  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 organic red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 organic yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 organic green pepper, peeled and chopped
  • 1 organic jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup homemade beef bone broth
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh organic thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh organic oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh organic basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 pound wild caught shrimp, tails removed, peeled, and deveined
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  1. In a large slow cooker, combine the onion, peppers, jalapeño, garlic, andouille, chicken, tomatoes, broth, thyme, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook, covered, in a slow cooker on low for seven hours.
  2. Stir in the shrimp and lemon juice. Cover and continue cooking, turning the slow cooker up to high, until shrimp is pink, about one hour.
  3. Stir in the parsley.
  4. Serve garnished with the scallions.

Crispy Skinned Pork Belly with Orange-Jicama Slaw

pork bellyby Karen Frazier

Pork belly is often difficult to come by, but if you can find it, snap it up. For those who don’t know, it’s essentially uncured slab bacon that comes with the skin on the top. With the unctuous fattiness of the meat and the crispy skin on top, it makes a delicious main course. Check with local ranchers to find pork belly, or dig around on the Internet and you’ll be able to find some to order.

In this recipe, the spices in the rub and the acidity of the orange, as well as the crunch of the slaw all serve as a delicious counterpoint to the sweet fattiness of the pork. When I made this, it was the first time I cooked pork belly, so I borrowed the crispy skin cooking method from The Clothes Make the Girl blog. Then, I added my own flavors and spices. Trust me, it’s really delicious and rich!

For the pork belly:

  • 2-pound pork belly
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons Swerve sweetener (or 1 packet stevia) (optional – omit for Whole30)
  • Juice from half an orange

For the slaw:

  • 1 jicama, julienned
  • 1 cup julienned cabbage
  • 3 green onions, very thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or sriracha to taste)
  • Juice from half an orange
  • Zest from half an orange
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)

For the pork belly:

  1. Pat the pork belly dry with paper towels. Score the pork skin in a cross-hatch pattern, cutting down to the meat but not through the meat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the paprika, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, coriander, cumin, sea salt, and sweetener.
  3. Rub the spice mixture on both sides of the pork. Wrap the pork in plastic and refrigerate for about two hours.
  4. Thirty minutes before cooking, put the unwrapped pork belly on a foil-lined baking sheet with the skin-side facing up. Allow it to come to room temperature.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Just before putting the pork belly in the oven, rub the skin with the orange juice.
  7. Bake the pork belly at 450 for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for another hour, until the skin has browned and crisped.
  8. Rest the pork, tented with foil, for 20 minutes before serving. While the pork rests, prepare the slaw.

For the slaw:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the jicama, cabbage, onions, and carrots.
  2. In a blender, add the avocado, garlic, red pepper flakes, orange juice and zest, apple cider vinegar, cilantro, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Taste and season with salt, starting with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and continuing to add it until it is properly seasoned.
  3. Pour the avocado mixture over the vegetables and toss to coat.
  4. Serve the slaw alongside the pork.

photo credit: linecook via photopin cc

Asian Pork Meatball Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Dipping Sauce

pork meatballsby Karen Frazier

This recipe is not strictly paleo because I use a few non-paleo ingredients. But it’s still low-carb and pretty darn delicious. While I avoid non-paleo ingredients 80 to 90 percent of the time, I occasionally do use them. I like to serve the meatballs with leaves of tender butter lettuce. Wrap the meatball in the lettuce and dip it in the tasty sauce.

Asian Pork Meatball Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Dipping Sauce

For the meatballs:

  • 2 pounds ground pastured pork
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped green cabbage
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce (or coconut aminos for paleo)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (omit for paleo or find cold pressed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili oil (or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes for paleo)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • Butter lettuce leaves

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce (or coconut aminos for paleo)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (or to taste) or 1/2 teaspoon chili oil (or to taste) (for paleo, try red pepper flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon Swerve sweetener, 1 packet of stevia, or 1 tablespoon honey (optional – omit if using coconut aminos)

To make the meatballs:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the meatball ingredients together (except for lettuce leaves). Use your hands to mix well.
  3. Roll into medium-sized meatballs and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve wrapped in lettuce leaves dipped in the sauce.

To make the dipping sauce:

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Start by adding a little of the garlic chili sauce or chili oil, and then adding more to achieve the desired level of heat.

photo credit: matthewf01 via photopin cc

Bacon-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin with Duxelle, Red Wine Sauce & Crispy Shoestring Sweet Potatoes

tenderloinby Karen Frazier

I’m excited to share this one with you. It makes a great special occasion meal. We had it for New Year’s Eve, but you can make it any time. I wanted to wait to post the recipe until I’d fully developed it – wouldn’t want to steer you wrong, but with this combination of flavors it was pretty hard to go wrong.

This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, and paleo.

Tips:

  • I made the duxelle a day ahead of time and refrigerated it so it was completely cool before I put it in the beef tenderloin.
  • Marinate the tenderloin overnight.
  • Put the tenderloin on on the counter for an hour before cooking it to bring it to room temperature.
  • Save the marinade to combine with a few extra ingredients to make the sauce. Boil the marinade for five minutes to  cook out any bacteria.
  • To butterfly the tenderloin, slice it lengthwise about halfway through the meat, and then slice horizontally into each side of the cut. Fold the meat outward to make a flat fillet.
  • I use a spiralizer for the shoestring potatoes. However, you can also use a mandolin on the thinnest setting, or even grate the sweet potatoes.
  • For super low-carb, eliminate the sweet potatoes.
  • If you’re not comfortable cooking with wine for paleo meals, then eliminate the sauce, skip the marinade, and replace the wine in the duxelle with homemade beef broth.
  • While you can roast the beef in the oven, if you’ve got a smoker, I highly recommend using it.

For the duxelle:

  • 2 tablespoons duck fat (or some other paleo-friendly fat)
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine

For the marinade:

  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the tenderloin:

  • 1 5-pound beef tenderloin, butterflied
  • 1 pound thick-sliced pepper bacon

For the sauce:

  • Leftover marinade
  • 1 cup homemade beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

For the sweet potato strips:

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled, sliced, and cut into very thin shoestrings
  • 2 tablespoons duck fat (or other paleo-friendly fat)
  • Sea salt

For the duxelle:

  1. In a large saute pan, heat the duck fat until it melts and shimmers.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the juice from the mushrooms has evaporated, five to seven minutes.
  3. Add the shallots, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for another five minutes, until shallots are soft and mixture is dry.
  4. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid evaporates.
  6. Refrigerate the duxelle and allow it to completely cool before using in the roast.

For the marinade and roast:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well combined.
  2. Place the butterflied roast in a flat dish and pour the marinade over the top, covering the beef.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.
  4. Heat the oven to 375 (or, we used a smoker – heat that to 375).
  5. Remove the roast from the marinade and pat it dry. Reserve the marinade for the sauce.
  6. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap, and lay the strips of bacon in it in a row, slightly overlapping.
  7. Place the roast on top of the bacon strips. Spread the roast with the chilled duxelle. Use the plastic wrap to roll the bacon completely around the roast. Tie the roast with butcher’s twine to keep the bacon in place.
  8. Heat a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the roast and cook, searing the bacon on each side until it begins to brown, three to five minutes per side.
  9. Move the sauté pan to the preheated oven and cook until a thermometer reads 130 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit, about 30 minutes.
  10. Remove the roast from the oven and allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

For the sauce:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the reserved marinade over medium-high heat until it boils. Boil, stirring occasionally, for five minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper). Simmer until the liquid thickens and reduces, about 20 minutes.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the sweet potatoes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a small bowl, toss together the sweet potato strips, melted duck fat, and sea salt.
  3. Pour the potatoes onto the parchment-lined pan in a single layer.
  4. Bake until the potatoes are crispy, 20 to 25 minutes.

To serve: After resting the roast for 20 minutes, slice it and carefully remove the twine. Spoon the sauce over each piece of beef and top with the crispy sweet potatoes. For sides, we served garlic sautéed green beans and a green salad.

photo credit: CraftyGoat via photopin cc