The 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.
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)
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
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.
Bring the broth to a boil. Add the beef and cook for one minute. Add the noodles and cook one minute more.
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.
Clam chowder….what can I say? It’s a family favorite, but with my Celiac disease and dairy allergy, I’ve had to make it over in a way that works for my diet. This version is made with anti-inflammatory ingredients, and it’s lowish in carbs and paleo, so it’s perfect for people with all sorts of inflammatory autoimmune conditions, like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
1 celery root (celeriac), peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch red pepper flakes (or to taste – I like mine a bit on the spicy side)
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
In a large pot, cook the pepper bacon on medium-high until it is browned. Remove the bacon from the fat in the pot with a slotted spoon and set it aside.
To the fat in the pan, add the fennel, celery, onion, and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown, five to seven minutes.
Add the bone broth, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with the side of a spoon.
Add the clams, celery root, thyme, tarragon, pepper, salt, and pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer. Reduce to medium-low and cook until the celery root is tender, about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the arrowroot powder and water. Pour it into the soup in a thin stream, stirring constantly. Simmer, stirring, until the chowder thickens slightly, about three minutes more.
I used to love patty melts. In fact, it was one of my favorite things to order when we went out to dinner at a greasy spoon. Celiac disease (and a low-carb paleo diet) put the patty melt out of reach for me, but I know I could find a way to get all the same flavors without it having to be a greasy burger.
Whenever I’m trying to recreate flavor profiles of a favorite dish I can no longer have, my first stop is soup. I figure you can recreate almost any flavor in a soup. In this case, it worked. Patty melt cravings satisfied in a delicious, low-carb, paleo way.
Patty Melt Soup
4 slices bacon, cut into pieces
2 pounds ground beef
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground caraway seed (use a spice grinder if you can’t find it ground)
I’m on a soup roll. I’m making it about once a week right now because it keeps and freezes well, and because soup is tasty. This week, I decided to try my own take on an avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup made fragrant with garlic and herbed lamb meatballs. It was fully experimental, but incredibly delicious, and the house smelled fantastic! This is a simple soup that came together very quickly. It took me less than an hour to make. For fun, I used purple carrots in it, which added some nice color. I think next time, I may stir in about two cups of baby spinach after I add the lemon and eggs, because spinach goes so nicely with both lamb and lemon. The heat of the soup will wilt and cook the spinach almost instantly.
Avgolemono Soup with Herbed Lamb Meatballs
15 garlic cloves, divided
2-3 tablespoons fresh marjoram
2-3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
2-3 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds ground lamb
2 tablespoons duck fat (or your favorite fat, such as olive oil)
In a food processor, pulse together ten of the garlic cloves with the marjoram, rosemary, oregano, salt, and pepper until finely chopped. If you don’t have a food processor, just chop the herbs and garlic finely and then mix with the salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, mix together the chopped garlic/herb mixture with the ground lamb. Roll into one-inch meatballs and set aside. I use my stand mixer for this, because my hands get so cold when I mix the meat by hand.
In a large pot, heat the duck fat or olive oil on medium-high until it shimmers. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about five minutes.
Chop the remaining five garlic cloves and stir them into the onions. Cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the chicken broth. Bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Drop in the meatballs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Turn the heat off under the soup. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and the lemons. Working about a tablespoon at a time, whisk about 1/4 cup of the hot broth into the egg and lemon mixture to temper the eggs so they don’t cook when you add them to the soup. Then, in a thin stream stir the egg mixture into the soup. If adding spinach, stir it in after you’ve stirred in the egg and lemon mixture.
Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
I know, I know. More soup. It’s the first day of fall, so a nice, warming soup is perfect for your dinner.
One of the reasons I like soups and stews so much is that they really provide an opportunity to build flavor, which gives them a complex, rich taste. In the case of this soup, the complex flavors come from taking the time to brown your meat and caramelize your onions, which adds a deep savory richness to the soup. This soup is pretty easy and hands-off, so while it takes a bit of time to come together, it isn’t terribly labor-intensive.
Caramelized Onion and Italian Sausage Soup
2 tablespoons duck fat, lard, or your favorite fat
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, then you may have noticed that I make a lot of soup. It’s because I love soup. I make some type of soup at least once a week. You can load soups with healthy bone broth, veggies, meats, herbs, and spices and never have the same meal twice. Well, actually – I usually have the same meal twice with leftovers for the freezer, but that’s because I follow the cook once eat twice (or more) philosophy. That means I always make an extra big batch of soup because I just know some is destined for the freezer. Of course, that also means I have a slow cooker full of broth simmering on the counter several days per week, as well. Because if you’re going to make the most flavorful soup, you definitely need homemade bone broth
While I used homemade duck stock for the soup and ground duck for the meatballs, feel free to replace those ingredients with chicken stock and ground pork if you wish.
Spicy Asian Meatball and Vegetable Soup
3 bunches green onions, chopped, divided
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed but reserved, caps sliced
10 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 teaspoons grated gingerroot, divided
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon Chinese dry mustard powder
2 pounds ground duck (or ground pork)
1/2 teaspoon expeller pressed sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon Red Boat fish sauce
2 tablespoons homemade sriracha, divided (or 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes)
2 tablespoons of duck fat (or another paleo-friendly fat)
6-8 cups homemade duck stock (or chicken stock)
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 bunches of baby bok choy, chopped
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade, add one bunch of the green onions, the shiitake mushroom stems (save the caps), 5 cloves of the garlic, half of the cilantro, 1 teaspoon of the gingerroot, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the mustard powder. Pulse for 10 one-second pulses, or until everything is extremely well chopped.
In a medium bowl, combine the ground duck, the sesame oil, the fish sauce, and one tablespoon of the sriracha with the contents of the food processor. Mix with your hands until well-combined. Form into one-inch meatballs and set aside.
In a large pot, heat the duck fat on medium-high until it shimmers. Add the remaining two bunches of chopped green onions and one teaspoon of grated gingerroot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, four to five minutes.
Add the remaining five cloves of chopped garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the duck stock, the pepper, the remaining sriracha, the carrots, and the sliced shiitake mushroom caps to the pot. Bring it to a boil.
Drop the meatballs into the boiling soup and return the pot to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Add the bok choy and the remaining cilantro to the pot. Turn of the heat. Allow the soup to sit for five minutes before serving.
I love soup! It’s delicious, you can load it with veggies, and it’s quick and easy to prepare. We’ve got some big-time meat eaters in our family, so I especially like making soup with meatballs in it to make a really meaty soup. Tonight is the first time I’ve made this soup, but it was really tasty.
Italian Meatball Veggie Soup
1 pound hot Italian sausage
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons duck fat (or another paleo-friendly fat)
1 onion, chopped
8 cups homemade beef or chicken stock
1 can (14 ounces) organic chopped tomatoes (undrained)
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 zucchini, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
3 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the Italian sausage, ground beef, one tablespoon of the garlic, the Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper, mixing until well combined. Form into one-inch meatballs. Set aside.
In a large pot, heat the duck fat over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, about five minutes.
Add the stock, the remaining one teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, tomatoes, fennel, red pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, and carrots. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil.
Drop in the meatballs. Return the soup to a boil and cook until the meatballs are cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes (depending on size).
Stir in the baby spinach and basil. Remove the soup from the heat.
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.
Season the pork cubes with salt and pepper and put them in the slow cooker with the onions and garlic.
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.
Add the peppers to the slow cooker, and then add the cumin, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and stock. Stir to combine.
Turn the slow cooker on low and cook for eight to ten hours.
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
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.
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.
I’ve probably mentioned this in my blog about a zillion times now, but I’m super allergic to dairy products. In fact, I re-discovered just how allergic I am on Christmas Eve when I dipped a piece of lobster in a tiny bit of butter. I’ve been paying for it for the past two days.
Still, I love chowder. I love its rich creaminess paired with seafood. I love it so much, I almost feel like I’d be willing to suffer the wrath of dairy for it. However, after Christmas Eve, I am reminded that really, no bite of food is worth all of that. And so, I had to come up with a way to make a delicious creamy seafood chowder without dairy and without a grain-based roux to thicken it.
I just made this chowder, and it’s pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself. Yesterday I prepared some homemade chicken broth, which I made from chicken feet (creepy looking!), chicken necks, onion trimmings, rosemary, and a few other ingredients. I refrigerated it overnight, and then skimmed the fat from its surface this morning. I used the defatted stock to make this delicious shrimp chowder. The recipe yields about six to eight servings, depending on how much you eat. For me, it makes eight servings. For Jim, it’s six or fewer. Anyway – based on eight servings it has around 230 calories, 8 grams of fat, 9 net grams of carbs (unless you leave out the sweet potatoes or pick around them like I do), and 28 grams of protein. To make it lower in carbs, leave out the sweet potato.
Spicy Shrimp Chowder with Coconut and Sweet Potatoes
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
1 piquillo pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
Juice of one lime
6 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon paleo fish sauce (I use Red Boat)
1white sweet potato, cubed
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 pounds shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 cup water
1 (14 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
Sriracha or red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and all of the peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown, seven to ten minutes.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the lime juice, chicken stock, and fish sauce, stirring to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
Add the sweet potatoes and carrots and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes and carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is pink, 5 to 10 minutes more (five if it’s thawed, about ten if it’s frozen).
In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot powder with the water and whisk to make a slurry. Pour the slurry into the soup, stirring constantly. Simmer until the soup thickens.
Stir in the coconut milk, sriracha or red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Photo used under flickr creative commons license. Some rights reserved by InSinU8.