Paleo Ph’o

by Karen Frazier

img_2633The first time I tried ph’o, I knew I’d found something special. It’s possibly my favorite soup of all time (ha! I say that about a lot of soups. I just. Love. Soup!). Anyway – it’s been almost three years without it, and I knew it was time to give it a try. I had some flat iron steaks, and I realized ph’o would be the perfect use of the steak. Jim, who pretty much believes meat should be used as – well, meat – was skeptical. However, I’m happy to say he’s a convert.

The recipe uses fish sauce – and Red Boat fish sauce is both Whole30 approved and paleo. The recipe serves 4 to 6.

Paleo, Whole30 Ph’o

  • Grass-fed beef bones
  • 1 or two onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic bulbs, split lengthwise (tops cut off, but use both the top and the bottom)
  • 3-inch knob of ginger, sliced
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2 or 3 thai chilies, split lengthwise (it’s up to you – they’re pretty spicy and they add a good bit of heat for how tiny they are. You can remove the seeds to minimize the heat a bit or leave them out altogether)
  • 6 star anise pods (or about a teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice – or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons Red Boat fish sauce (or to taste)
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 to 2 pounds sirloin steak or flat-iron steak, very thinly sliced against the grain
  • 4 to 6 zucchini, spiralized into noodles using the angel hair blade
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (or Thai basil)
  • Finely chopped thai chilies
  • Green onions, thinly sliced
  • Lime wedges
  • Bean sprouts
  1. In an 8-quart slow cooker, cover the beef bones, halved onion, garlic bulbs, ginger, thai chiles, and star anise pods with cold water. Add the fish sauce, peppercorns, and salt. Cover and cook on low for 12 to 24 hours. Strain into a large pot and discard the solids. Taste and add fish sauce, salt, or Chinese 5 spice as desired to adjust the flavor to your taste.
  2. Bring the broth to a boil. Add the beef and cook for one minute. Add the noodles and cook one minute more.
  3. Serve garnished with cilantro, chopped thai chilies, sliced green onions, lime wedges, and bean sprouts.

Next time, I’m adding sauteed shiitakes. Just because.

For faster ph’o, you can simmer your beef bone broth on the stovetop for about four hours.

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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

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.

Spicy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

PotRoastby Karen Frazier

I tend to cook fairly seasonally. In the spring, summer, and early fall, I go to the local farmers market to pick out beautiful locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs and then plan my meals based on whatever I bring home. In the late fall, winter, and early spring our local farmers market closes, and I am left with what I can find in grocery store’s organic section or, occasionally, what I can pick up at the year-round farmers market in Olympia.

Cooking in this way also follows my natural appetites. In the summer, my meals are lighter with fresher flavors and lots of greens. As summer fades, however, I tend to cook heartier foods with more warming, deeper flavors. I also cook lots of root vegetables, because that’s what is available.

Pot roast is the quintessential fall/winter meal. It features an affordable and fatty cut of meat and flavorful root vegetables. Because the fatty cuts you use for pot roast perform best under low, slow, and moist cooking conditions, the slow cooker is the ideal vehicle for a tasty pot roast.

I’m a big fan of browning meat and vegetables before putting them in the slow cooker. This just adds an extra depth of flavor. However, if you don’t feel like doing any browning, then just toss everything in the slow cooker raw. It will still be pretty darn tasty.

Spicy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

  • 4 tablespoons fat, divided (I used rendered bacon grease for this one for a little bit of additional smoky flavor)
  • 1 organic onion, sliced
  • 4 organic garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 three to four pound grass fed chuck roast
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine (or beef stock)
  • 1/2 cup homemade beef bone broth
  • 1 teaspoon organic garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon organic onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon organic ground mustard seed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated organic horseradish root (or more to taste), divided
  • 2 cups organic whole baby carrots
  • 2 bulbs organic celeriac, peeled and cut into cubes
  1. In a large saute pan, heat two tablespoons of the fat over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, seven to eight minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds more.
  3. Put the onions and garlic in the slow cooker and return the sauté pan to the heat. Add the remaining two tablespoons of fat.
  4. Season the chuck roast liberally with salt and pepper. Put it in the hot fat and cook it, searing it on all sides, four to five minutes per side. Put the chuck roast in the slow cooker with the onions.
  5. Return the sauté pan to the heat. Add the wine and stir, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan with the side of a spoon. Add the beef stock and whisk in the garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard seed, and freshly grated horseradish. Simmer for about three minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  6. Put the baby carrots and celeriac in the slow cooker with the roast and onions. Pour the wine mixture over the top.
  7. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low until the meat is tender, eight to ten hours on low or four to five hours on high.
  8. Grate in the remaining one tablespoon of horseradish root just before serving.
  9. Optional: If you wish to turn the sauce into gravy, then ladle out the liquid from the slow cooker. Put it in a saucepan and whisk in 1/4 cup of arrowroot powder mixed with 1/4 beef stock. This will add about 28 grams of carbs to the entire recipe, so if you are eating low-carb paleo, you may wish to skip this step. For low-carb paleo, simmer the liquid in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it reduces and thickens, about ten minutes.

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Pork and Spinach Meatballs with Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Gravy

meatballsby Karen Frazier

Recently, I bought some lovely ground pastured pork from a local farmer and knew I wanted to make something tasty with it. Okay – true – I always want to make something tasty. As always, I turned to my slow cooker.

You may notice I’ve been posting a lot of slow cooker recipes lately. Here’s why. When you cook real food – that is, food that doesn’t come in packages, jars, and cans – it can be pretty time and labor intensive. Of course, the results are totally worth it, and I love to cook. But I’m cooking three real food meals every day – and I get tired of cleaning up the kitchen. Not the cooking – just the cleaning. Plus, Jim and I are often on different schedules, so we need to eat at different times.

The slow cooker takes care of both of these problems. First, my slow cooker is 7 quarts, so I can make a lot of food in it. Therefore, I typically double any recipe I post here. It simmers all day long, and I’ve got meals for two nights, plus leftovers for the freezer. (Bonus: The house smells great!) My freezer is packed with yummy slow cooker food that I can take out and heat up for any meal. That means that I not only get two dinners out of one day of cooking, but I also have additional breakfasts and lunches on demand. It gives Jim the opportunity to grab a healthy meal for lunches at work, too, instead of having to turn to something like a fast food meal.

The other reason I’ve been using the slow cooker so much is scheduling. When Jim and I are on our wildly divergent schedules, we can each eat a hot meals straight from the slow cooker when time permits. Slow cookers make it easy for busy families to grab a quick meal when they have the time.

So, that’s why I love my slow cooker and use it so much. Oh – and one other reason, as well. The slow cooker is a closed system that cooks on low heat all day. This tenderizes meats and allows flavors to meld beautifully, so the meals are hearty and delicious. What could be better?

For the caramelized onions in this recipe, I make a huge batch in the slow cooker. You can also make a batch by cooking thinly sliced onions on the stovetop on low heat in a sauté pan with a few tablespoons of fat and a pinch of salt for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pork and Spinach Meatballs with Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Gravy

  • 2 tablespoons duck fat (or your fat of choice)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped, divided
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 pound pastured ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder, divided
  • 3 cups organic spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 pound organic mushrooms, divided
  • 1 organic carrot, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup homemade beef or chicken stock
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions (about one onion)
  1. In a large saute pan, heat the duck fat over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add one of the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft, about five minutes.
  2. Add the two cloves of the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Remove the onions from the heat and allow to cool completely.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked onions and garlic, pork, 1/2 teaspoon of the mustard powder, spinach, 8 ounces of the mushrooms (finely chopped), the grated carrot, the dried thyme, the sea salt, the pepper, and the red pepper flakes. Using your hands, mix well to combine.
  4. Roll the mixture into meatballs that are slightly smaller than a golf ball. Put the meatballs in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  5. Add the remaining onion (chopped), the remaining garlic (minced), the chopped carrots, the remaining 8 ounces of mushrooms (sliced), the stock, the rosemary sprig, and some salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cover and cook on low for six hours.
  7. Before serving, remove the lid of the slow cooker and allow it to simmer for about 30 minutes uncovered. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meatballs from the slow cooker and set them aside on a platter, tented with foil. Remove the rosemary sprig and discard it. Using the same spoon, remove the solids (the carrots, mushrooms, and onions) from the broth in the slow cooker. Put them in a food processor or blender with the caramelized onions and the remaining half teaspoon of dried mustard and process until they form a smooth puree. (Remember to protect your hand with a folded towel and to allow steam to escape through the open top chute of the processor).
  8. Pour the mixture from the food processor back into the slow cooker, using a rubber scraper to make sure you get it all. Whisk the mixture to combine the broth in the slow cooker with the pureed vegetables.
  9. Return the meatballs to the slow cooker and stir to mix them with the gravy.
  10. Serve on pureed celeriac or cauliflower.

photo credit: gavinr via photopin cc

Slow Cooker Lamb Osso Buco

osso bucoby Karen Frazier

Several years ago, I came into possession of some cross-cut veal shanks, so I made Jim osso buco. He was immediately enamored, and it is one of his top requested meals. Of course, veal isn’t necessarily so easy to get where I live, but lamb is. Recently I picked up some pastured cross-cut lamb shanks, and I decided to adapt my osso buco recipe for the slow cooker, and for lamb. With an orange gremolata stirred in at the end, it’s really delicious.

Lamb Osso Buco

  • 4 pastured (grass fed) cross-cut lamb shanks
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 large organic carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 stalk of organic celery, sliced
  • 1 can (14 ounces) organic diced tomatoes, drained
  • Juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, washed, dried, and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Zest of one orange, finely grated
  1. In the crock of a slow cooker, combine lamb, onion, carrots, garlic, celery, tomatoes, orange juice, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
  2. After the osso buco is cooked, remove the lid and turn the slow cooker up to high. Allow to simmer, uncovered, for an additional 30 to 60 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the parsley, cloves, and orange zest with a pinch of sea salt. Stir into the osso buck just before serving.

photo credit: Micaiena via photopin cc

Caramelized Onions – In the Slow Cooker

caramelized onionsby Karen Frazier

Caramelized onions add a sweet umami flavor to any dish. Just a few of these delicious onions make the dishes to which you add them display deeper complexity and richness. Plus, they are just plain delicious, and they’re a great way to add flavor to ancestral recipes.

I use them to top burger patties and steaks. I puree them with faux mashed potatoes made from cauliflower or celeriac. I stir them into soups and stews. I puree them with other cooked veggies and stir them back into braising liquid to make a flavorful thick sauce or gravy. I fold them into omelets, cook them with chicken, mix them with pureed avocado for a creamy dip, and find dozens of other delicious uses for them.

So it stands to reason with that, with so many uses for caramelized onions, it makes cooking easier if I make them in bulk and freeze them. When I make a single serving of caramelized onions on the stovetop, it takes about 45 minutes, which isn’t realistic for busy weeknights. However, if I make them in bulk in the slow cooker and freeze them, they are really easy to incorporate in all kinds of delicious dishes.

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

  • 5 to 7 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced (or however many fit in your slow cooker)
  • 3 tablespoons melted duck fat, lard, or your preferred fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  1. Toss all ingredients together in a slow cooker to coat the onions.
  2. Cover the slow cooker and turn it on to low. Cook for about nine to ten hours, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and golden brown. Remove the lid and continue cooking the onions on low, stirring occasionally, for an additional one to two hours to allow excess liquid to evaporate.
  3. These will keep in the freezer for up to six months.

A note about the onions: The Environmental Working Group lists onions as one of its Clean 15, items that test only negligible amounts of pesticide residue. If I pick up onions at the farmers market, I buy them organic. Otherwise, I typically by conventionally grown onions at the grocery store.

One of my favorite cooking publications, Cooks Illustrated, recommends Spanish onions as the perfect caramelizing onion. I agree – if you can find them, try these. Otherwise, yellow onions are perfect. Sweet onions will make a very sweet caramelized onion, which may be a bit too much sweetness for some people. I prefer my caramelized onions on the more savory side with just a hint of sweetness, which is why I tend to use yellow onions or Spanish onions.

My favorite onions are cipollini, so I was excited to give those a try to caramelize. To my surprise they were almost aggressively savory – so just a few onions went a very long way.

photo credit: I Believe I Can Fry via photopin cc

Slow Cooker Bone Broth

by Karen Frazierbroth

Anemia has been a big problem for me in the last five years or so. Not the mild anemia that makes me a little tired, but severe, often debilitating anemia that makes me exhausted to walk down the hall from my bedroom to my living room. In the past several weeks, however, I’ve added mineral rich, nourishing bone broth as a food I eat daily. It seems to be helping.

I have my bone broth in the morning just like someone else would have a cup of coffee. It’s rich in minerals and gelatin. It’s also really helped with how I feel. My energy is up. My digestion is working better. And my hair and nails from the gelatin – wow are they in good shape.

Many people are intimidated to make their own broth, but with a slow cooker, it’s really easy. I let mine simmer on the counter for 12 to 24 hours, extracting all of the good, rich mineral content from the bones. I use bones from organic, pastured animals, and I split them with a cleaver before sticking them in my slow cooker in order to make the mineral rich marrow more readily available to absorb into the broth as it simmers. I also add iron-rich parsley to bring even more iron to my healing brew.

My homemade broth serves as the base for or an ingredient in many of the foods I make. I use it to moisten stews, make gravies, create sauces, and make soup. Homemade broth adds delicious savoriness to your meals that is free of chemicals and artificial ingredients.

All About Bone Broth

So what goes into bone broth?

The bones: I use bones from pastured animals of all stripes. The bones can come from cooked foods (like a roasted  chicken carcass) or they can be raw. Sometimes I use chicken wings. I have beef marrow bones. I have beef knuckle bones. I save bones from whatever we eat. I have a baggie in the freezer full of bones. Whenever we have something with bones in it, I save the bones. I have a few ducks necks. I have some chicken feet, which add a wonderful gelatin to the broth. I have oxtails. While I get my pastured meat from local farmers and stores, I also order some of it from US Wellness Meats, which has high quality bones ready for your bone broth.

You can make your broth from a single source – like all beef or all chicken – or you can mix up bones from a variety of different animals. Just make sure you get some good cartilage bones in there like chicken feet, wings, or backs in order to up the gelatin content. Some people like to roast their bones ahead of time for additional flavor. This is especially true of beef bones, which get a delicious umami flavor when roasted.  Be sure to add some bones with some meat on them for even more flavor. When I use poultry wings, backs, or necks, I just toss them in meat and all. If you want to use the meat for something, rescue it from the bones after four or five hours of cooking and set it aside for use. Then, put the bones back in the stock to keep simmering.

The veggies: I’m a traditionalist in my veggie selections. I toss in an onion (usually cut into quarters or eights – you don’t have to peel it, and you can throw in the root ends), carrots, leeks if I’ve got them, and some celery. Occasionally I’ll throw in a few mushrooms, as well. If I’m feeling super fancy, I’ll add some organic dried shiitake mushrooms. I use all organic veggies, and I wash them thoroughly before putting them in the pot. You don’t need to cut them into tiny pieces. I just do a very rough chop (cutting carrots into three or four pieces each, same with celery). I always toss in a few celery leaves, as well.

One of the tricks I have for adding veggies to bone broth is this: I save my veggie trimmings from other cooking and freeze them in a large zipper bag. So I save onion peels, onion root ends, carrot root ends, celery tops, mushroom stems, etc. Then, I just dump them in my bone broth when I’m ready to make it.

The herbs and spices: You can use any herbs and spices you like in your broth. I prefer fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage. I just toss a few branches in there – I don’t bother to chop because they’ll be strained out later. I also add whole peppercorns, and a little bit of sea salt to the mix. I also add parsley for additional iron content. I usually add an entire bunch of organic parsley.

The liquid: I add just enough filtered water to cover the veggies/bones. I also add about a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar. This helps pull the minerals out of the bones. I actually let the water and vinegar soak with the bones for about an hour before I turn the slow cooker onto low.

Basic Bone Broth

  • Pastured organic bones and joints, a few containing meat
  • One or two organic onions, roughly chopped
  • Two organic carrots, roughly chopped
  • One organic celery rib, roughly chopped, with leaves
  • 1 sprig organic thyme
  • 1 sprig organic rosemary
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1 bunch organic parsley
  • 1 to two tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • Enough filtered water to cover the bones and vegetables
  1. Use a cleaver to split the bones open.
  2. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker. Add water just to cover the bones and vegetables.
  3. Cover the slow cooker and allow the stock to soak off heat for one hour.
  4. Turn on the slow cooker to low.
  5. Simmer on low for 12 to 24 hours. Poultry bones do better closer to 12 hours, beef bones 24.
  6. Strain the broth into a container, discarding any solids. Save the bones – you can reuse them until they go soft. Just freeze them in a zipper bag and pull them out the next time you make a broth.
  7. Chill the container, and then scrape any fat off the top before using the bone broth. The broth will turn to gelatin when chilled, which gives it wonderful body when you use it for soups and sauces.

This broth also is excellent in soups and stews – way better than anything commercially prepared. I always have a bunch frozen in individual containers in my freezer.
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Wine and Horseradish Braised Short Ribs with Caramelized Onion Cauliflower Mash

short ribby Karen Frazier

Jim went to his cardiologist yesterday and got the go ahead for his primal diet. I was thrilled, because some doctors don’t like it that much. I’m glad to know my instincts were decent in this case. So tonight, I’m making use of my slow cooker and some grass fed, organic primal cut short ribs we picked up. I’m braising them in red wine and horseradish sauce, and turning the braising liquid into a gravy with which to top the cauliflower. I’m trying to give Jim non-primal flavors with a good health payoff.

There’s some controversy in the paleo world about red wine. Some people have it. Some don’t. If you know Jim and me, then you know we are wine enthusiasts. So I’m cooking with it tonight. It’s a sometimes thing instead of an every night indulgence now.

Jim has been so careful about following his diet that I wanted to make him something delicious, and I think this qualifies. Plus, I wanted to experiment with paleo gravy techniques.

Slow Cooker Wine and Horseradish Braised Short Ribs with Caramelized Onion Cauliflower Mash

For the short ribs:

  • 3 slices pastured sugar-free bacon (we get ours at US Wellness Meats), cut into pieces
  • 2 three-rib slabs of grass fed organic beef short ribs, cut into individual ribs
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 pound organic cremini mushrooms
  • 1 pound organic baby carrots or 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 sprigs organic fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs organic fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons organic prepared horseradish (or more to taste)
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced or through a garlic press
  1. Season the ribs with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper and place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. Brown the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until the fat is rendered. Using a slotted spoon, put the bacon in the slow cooker. Set aside the bacon fat for the caramelized onions and cauliflower you’ll make later.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and stir. Cook, covered, on low for 8 to 10 hours or high for five hours.
  4. When the meat has cooked, remove it from the cooking liquid with tongs and set aside on a platter.
  5. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, remove all of the vegetables from the cooking liquid and place them in a food processor. Remove the thyme and rosemary branches and throw them away.
  6. Leaving the top slot of the food processor open so steam can escape, puree the vegetables until smooth. Stir them back into the cooking liquid in the slow cooker until the liquid thickens.
  7. Return the meat to the cooking liquid and reduce heat to keep warm while you prepare the cauliflower.

For the cauliflower:

  • 2 tablespoons pastured bacon fat
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 heads organic cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 2 tablespoons of reserved bacon fat (or, if you’re not allergic to dairy like me, substitute pastured butter or another animal fat such as lard or duck fat)
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  1. In a large saute pan, heat the bacon fat over medium heat until it melts.
  2. Add the onions in a single layer in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are reduced and caramelized, about 45 minutes.
  4. In a large pot, cover the cauliflower with water. Cover the pot and set it on the stove to boil on high heat until the cauliflower is soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Drain the cauliflower well and allow it to sit in the colander for a few minutes to remove as much liquid as possible.
  6. Transfer the cauliflower and caramelized onions to the food processor. Add one to two tablespoons of butter, bacon fat, or some other fat. Process until smooth. Be sure to leave the top slot of the food processor open so the steam can escape.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Now, serve the meat and gravy over the mashed cauliflower. Delicious, I promise!

A bit about my food processor warning. When I was a little kid, my mom was pureeing hot lentil soup in the food processor. It went boom and wound up all over the kitchen ceiling. My mom was lucky she didn’t get burned by the scalding hot soup.

When blending hot foods in a blender or food processor, steam build up can cause hot liquid and food to force its way out of the top of the processor. It can blow the lid clean off a blender. The best way to protect yourself is to open the chute at the top of the blender or food processor as you blend. Then, fold a towel several times and place it on top of the blender or processor. Place your hand on top of the towel to hold the lid in place. The towel will protect your hand. Finally, don’t stick your face right over the top of the open chute, just in case. Open the lid cautiously after blending hot  foods.

So – when I mentioned I was making mashed cauliflower on Facebook, I got some negative feedback about it. Apparently it’s a love it or hate it kind of food. I like it. With this, the caramelized onions really do mellow the flavor, and the bacon fat (if you use it) adds a lovely smokiness. Still – if you just can’t see yourself eating mashed cauliflower, consider another mashed paleo-friendly food such as celeriac or sweet potatoes.

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