Low-Carb Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned

pumpkinby Karen Frazier

My hubby, Jim, loves a good old fashioned. And he loves pumpkin spice stuff. This is the time of the year he starts asking me to make my low-carb pumpkin bourbon cheesecake. So why not combine the two?

Before you can make a low-carb pumpkin spice old fashioned, you first need to make low-carb pumpkin butter. It’s quick and easy in the slow cooker.

Low-Carb Pumpkin Butter

  • 1 (14-15 ounce) can organic pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup hard apple cider
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple extract (optional)

In a small slow cooker, combine all ingredients. Cook on high for three hours – stirring every 30 minutes to an hour. Remove the lid and continue to cook on high, stirring occasionally, for an additional 30 minutes or until you achieve the desired consistency. Refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for up to one week, or freeze for up to one year.

Basic Low-Carb Old Fashioned

  • 1/2 packet stevia (or a few drops of liquid stevia)
  • 3 dashes bitters (we love using orange-flavored bitters for this)
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Splash of water
  • Ice
  1. In a short glass, combine the stevia and bitters, stirring to mix well.
  2. Add the bourbon, water, and ice. Stir gently.
  3. Garnish with an orange wedge (you can also muddle the orange with the bitters and stevia, if you wish).

Low-Carb Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned

  • 1/2 packet stevia (or a few drops of liquid stevia)
  • 3 dashes bitters
  • 1 teaspoon low-carb pumpkin butter
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Splash of water
  • Ice
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  1. In a short glass, muddle together the stevia, bitters, and pumpkin butter.
  2. Add the bourbon, water, and ice. Stir gently to combine.
  3. Garnish with a fresh grating of nutmeg.

photo credit: garlandcannon Pumpkin Person via photopin (license)

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Coconut Blueberry Pancakes with Orange-Maple-Ginger Syrup

pancakesby Karen Frazier

Pancakes are a sometimes treat for us. I don’t do a lot of low-carb and paleo baking because I don’t want to get in the habit of eating baked goods. I prefer to stay pretty basic. However, from time to time, I get bit by the baking bug. While pancakes aren’t quite baking, they have a lot of similarities. In fact, with a few modifications this recipe also makes tasty muffins.

Coconut Blueberry Pancakes

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, plus more for cooking
  • A few drops liquid stevia
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Organic blueberries
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut oil, stevia, vanilla, and coconut milk.
  3. Carefully fold the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring until just combined.
  4. Heat a skillet on medium-high. Grease it with the coconut oil.
  5. Ladle the pancakes onto the skillet, dropping blueberries on each pancake.
  6. Cook until the pancakes bubble, about four minutes. Flip and cook a few more minutes on the other side. Serve with the syrup.

Orange-Maple-Ginger Syrup

  • 1 cup Truvia (not the baking blend, which has sugar – the stuff in the green jar), Swerve sweetener, or granulated erythritol
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3-4 slices ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
  1. In a small saucepan, bring all ingredients to a simmer on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer for five minutes.
  2. Turn off heat and allow the syrup to steep for one hour.
  3. Strain out solids.

The syrup won’t be thick like you’re used to, but it will add wonderful flavor to your pancakes.
photo credit: Blueberry & Ricotta Pancakes via photopin (license)

Chocolate Nut Butter Fudge

fudgeby Karen Frazier

I bought a few cans of coconut milk the other day and found, as often happens, the coconut milk had separated into cream at the top of the can with the water condensing in the bottom. This separation of the solids and liquids, I realized, is the perfect way to add a creamy element to a lot of different foods.

My first thought was using these coconut milk solids (the coconut cream) to make icing, since they had a texture similar to chilled butter, albeit a bit creamier and less dense. However, I didn’t feel like messing with paleo flours to bake a cake or brownies, but I still wanted to mess around with the cream a bit.

Then it hit me. If I mixed the coconut cream with a nut butter and some melted chocolate, it would develop a fudge-like consistency. Or that was my hope. So I gave it a try, and it worked. The result was a creamy, low-carb, vegan, paleo, tasty fudge with the perfect texture and the exact right level of sweetness.

You’ll need to use canned coconut milk here – the full-fat kind, not lite coconut milk. Usually you can tell if the solids and liquids have separated by giving the can a shake and listening. There won’t be a liquid sloshing sound. If, for some reason, it hasn’t separated, then you can refrigerate the unopened can overnight, which should do the trick.

The cans of coconut milk where this is most likely to happen are those without any additives or emulsifiers – so check the ingredients and make sure it only lists coconut cream and water. This is the type that is most likely to separate.

When you open the can, pour away the water and use a rubber spatula to scrape all of the solid coconut cream out. Some stores also sell coconut cream, and you can use that, as well.

Choose a nut butter that works with your diet. If you’re paleo, sugar-free, organic almond butter works well here. If you’re not paleo, then use organic, sugar-free peanut butter instead. I don’t specify an amount of liquid stevia (for paleo), or liquid sucralose (for non-paleo, low-carb) because sweetness preferences vary. I tend to like my dessert not very sweet, so I don’t add a lot of sweetener. To get the right amount of sweetness, add a bit of the liquid sweetener (5-10 drops), taste, add more, taste – and continue until you reach the desired sweetness level.

Chocolate Nut Butter Fudge

  • 2 ounces unsweetened dark, vegan chocolate
  • 1/3 cup nut butter
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, drained or 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Liquid stevia or liquid sucralose to taste
  1. Line an eight-inch square pan with parchment.
  2. In your microwave or on the stove, melt the nut butter and chocolate. If melting on the stovetop, do it on low heat and stir frequently. In the microwave, cook on high for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until smooth.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl or stand mixer, beat the melted chocolate and nut butter, coconut cream, vanilla, and sweetener until smooth. Taste and add more sweetener as desired.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan using a rubber spatula to spread it in an even layer. Freeze for one hour. Cut into squares, and store the fudge in a zipper bag in the fridge or freezer.

photo credit: Coffee Fudge via photopin (license)

Low-Carb Nachos

IMG_1462by Karen Frazier

I’m a big believer in the 90/10 principle of a paleo diet. Stick with paleo foods 90 percent of the time, and about 5 to 10 percent of the time you can sneak in a little something extra. For me, that something extra is often dairy. While I have a dairy allergy, it isn’t debilitating, although I will be stuffed up and inflamed for a day or two after eating it. Still, occasionally I sneak it in – just not very often.

However, even during that 10 percent of the time, I try to stay low-carb. I always avoid sugar, grains, gluten, starchy foods, and most processed foods. In fact, for me, dairy (and occasional sweetener like stevia/erythritol combos, or peanuts/peanut butter are my non-paleo foods I enjoy.

And every once in a while, I get a powerful hankering for nachos. That’s when I pull out these low-carb bad boys that have all the stuff that tastes marvelous with fewer carbs than traditional nachos. The dish is pictured here with a low-carb vodka, soda, lime cocktail.

This recipe serves 3 to 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups grated grass-fed Colby Jack cheese
  • 4 ounces grass-fed Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup guacamole (or more)
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Chopped green onions (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. In a large saute pan, cook the ground beef on medium-high, crumbling as you cook, until browned, about five minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to low. Add the water, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for four minutes. Set aside.
  3. Line your microwave with a piece of parchment.
  4. Working a quarter cup at a time, mound the Colby-Jack (or cheddar) cheese on the parchment, and then spread it into a thin layer in a rough circle.
  5. Microwave for two minutes on high, or until the cheese is browned and crisp.
  6. Peel the cheese from the parchment and place it on a cold ceramic plate to cool. Continue working with the Colby-Jack cheese until you’ve used it all.
  7. Break the large pieces of cheese into smaller bite sized pieces, putting them on a plate.
  8. Sprinkle the cheese chips with the grated Pepper Jack cheese. Microwave for one minute, or until cheese melts.
  9. Top with the ground beef, guacamole, sour cream salsa, and sprinkle with the green onions.

Grilled Beef Short Ribs with Apple and Jicama Slaw

short ribsby Karen Frazier

Okay – here’s the deal. I had leftover marinade from my earlier pork belly recipe, but alas, I had no unfrozen pork belly. Not to worry, however. I have about 10 pounds of it in my freezer (yay!)

So anyhoo…I wanted to use the rest of the marinade. Which is why I headed to the grocery store and picked up some flanken-style beef short ribs (the kind of beef short ribs where they are cut thin across several bones).

I marinated them in my extra marinade for a little over two hours, and then I popped them on my Foreman grill, which I consider a very underrated kitchen gadget. You can also grill them on the regular grill or use a grill pan.

Although the marinade was the same, the flavor was very different from the pork belly. The beef was super flavorful. As I was eating, I realized the ribs would be delish with a ginger broccoli stir-fry, but it’s also good with a crispy, slightly sweet, slightly acidic slaw (or why choose? you can do both!) I’ll include recipes for both, and you can decide.

Asian Marinated Flanken-Style Beef Short Ribs

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2-3 drops of liquid stevia
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
  • 2 to 3 pounds flanken-style beef short ribs
  • Sesame seeds
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, stevia, sriracha, garlic, sesame oil, and ginger root.
  2. Add the short ribs to a large zipper bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and squish it around (I believe squish is a technical term) until all the meat is covered. Refrigerate for two to four hours. The longer the marinade, the more flavor you’ll get. You can even marinade in the morning and cook when you get home.
  3. Preheat a grill on high.
  4. Grill the short ribs, three to four minutes per side.
  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Broccoli Ginger Stir-Fry

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. In a large saute pan, heat the coconut oil on medium-high until it shimmers.
  2. Add the ginger and broccoli and cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about five minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the soy sauce. Cook for one minute, stirring frequently.

Apple and Jicama Slaw

  • 2 sweet-tart apples (I like Honeycrisp or Pink Lady), cored and julienned
  • 1 Jicama, peeled and julienned
  • Juice of two limes
  • Zest of half a lime
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  1. In a large bowl, combine the apples and jicama.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lime zest, ginger root, rice vinegar, cilantro, olive oil, and sea salt.
  3. Toss the dressing with the apples and jicama.

So those are the recipes. Trust me, they’re delicious! But, I just thought of something else that would be really delicious with the short ribs…a bok choy stir-fry, cooked in a manner similar to the broccoli above. You might even toss in a handful of sliced shiitake mushrooms for a tasty low-carb side dish.

Low-Carb Paleo Stuffing/Dressing

stuffingby Karen Frazier

Yes – I know it’s after Thanksgiving, but some people turn around and make stuffing again at Christmas. Plus, I didn’t want to offer you a stuffing/dressing recipe until I’d tried it out on my own. That way, if it was terrible, we all would have all had disastrous stuffing on Thanksgiving. It wasn’t – it was tasty.

  • 8 ounces pancetta, cubed
  • 16 ounces bulk sage sausage
  • 2 tablespoons paleo-friendly fat (coconut oil, duck fat, etc.)
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 6 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 apples, chopped (optional)
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 6 rosemary sprigs, stems removed and chopped
  • 6 sage sprigs, stems removed and chopped
  • 6-8 thyme sprigs, stems removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large pot on medium-high heat, cook the pancetta and sausage,stirring occasionally, until browned, about five minutes. Remove the pork from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside in a large bowl.
  3. In the pot with the fat from the pork, add the paleo-friendly fat and cook until it melts.
  4. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about five minutes. Remove from the vegetables from the fat with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl with the pork.
  5. In the same pot, add the celery and apples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about five minutes more.
  6. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add the entire contents of the pot (including the fat) to the bowl with the other vegetables and the pork.
  8. Add the almond meal, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, and eggs. Mix well.
  9. Spread the mixture in a large casserole. Bake in the preheated oven for one hour.

Tips:

  1. Try replacing the apples with about a pound of chopped mushrooms.
  2. To quickly chop the herbs, put them all in a food processor and pulse for about 10 one-second pulses, or until well chopped.

photo credit: Stuffing at the ready via photopin (license)

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

Shrimp and Mushrooms with Garlic Mojo

shrimpby Karen Frazier

I know – more mushrooms. Like I said in an earlier post, fall is the perfect time to find delicious seasonal mushrooms, so I take advantage of the bounty. Plus, I love mushrooms. If you don’t care for them, go ahead and leave them out of this delicious paleo recipe.

I use a modified version of Rick Bayless’s garlic mojo. Make the mojo ahead of time, and keep it tightly sealed in the refrigerator for several weeks. Then, use the garlic mojo in the recipe.

Garlic Mojo

  • 1 1/2 cups peeled garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil (or some type of melted animal fat, if you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Juice of three limes
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a square glass pan (8×8″), spread the garlic along the bottom of the pan. Pour the olive oil or fat over the top. Add the salt and stir to combine, making sure all of the cloves are completely covered with oil. If they aren’t, add a little more oil or remove a few garlic cloves.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the garlic begins to turn golden, 45 to 50 minutes.
  4. Remove the garlic from the oven and stir in the lime juice and chipotle.
  5. Return the pan to the oven and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the garlic mojo from the oven and mash the garlic cloves with a potato masher or a fork.
  7. Allow the garlic mojo to cool completely and then put it in a container that seals tightly. Refrigerate for up to 90 days. Be sure the garlic remains submerged in oil when you store it.

Shrimp and Mushrooms with Garlic Mojo

  • 1/4 cup garlic mojo, divided
  • 1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced (use any kind you wish)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 recipe guacamole
  • 1 recipe pico di gallo (recipe follows)
  • Several large lettuce leaves
  1. Stir the garlic mojo before measuring it.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat two tablespoons of the garlic mojo over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until it turns pink, about six minutes.
  3. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and set it aside on a platter.
  4. Add the remaining two tablespoons of garlic mojo to the sauté pan. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and begin to brown, six to eight minutes.
  5. Return the shrimp and any juices that have collected on the platter to the sauté pan.
  6. Add the lime juice, chipotle chili and sea salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the shrimp heats through, about four minutes.
  7. Serve the garlic mojo using the lettuce leaves as tortillas. Top with guacamole and pico de gallo.

Pico de Gallo

  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

photo credit: Rene Venturoso via photopin cc

Mushroom Soup with Italian Sausage and Fennel

mushroom soupby Karen Frazier

Tendergrass farms makes a tasty grass-fed, sugar-free Italian sausage. I really like it, and so I enjoy using it in soups, spaghetti sauce (with zucchini spaghetti of course), and other recipes. In the fall when delicious mushrooms are so abundant, I especially enjoy mushroom dishes, which is why you’re seeing so many of them in my recipe feed lately.

This soup is delicious and hearty. It really hits the spot on a cold fall evening. I use my typical thickening method…pureeing the vegetables and adding them back into the broth, because it works so well.

Mushroom Soup with Italian Sausage and Fennel

  • 1 bulb organic garlic, the top sliced off
  • 2 tablespoons melted fat (lard, duck fat, etc.)
  • Sprinkling of sea salt
  • Sprinkling of organic chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 package organic dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 cups homemade beef or chicken bone broth
  • 3 tablespoons melted fat (I use duck fat)
  • 1 pound sugar-free, organic pastured pork Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 pound seasonal organic mushrooms (can be any variety), sliced
  • 1 bulb organic fennel, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (or more broth)
  • 1 teaspoon organic dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper.
  • Two tablespoons chopped organic fennel fronds
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the cut garlic heads on a large piece of foil. Drizzle them with two tablespoons of the melted fat and sprinkle them with salt and rosemary. Wrap them in the foil. Roast the garlic in the preheated oven for about 90 minutes, until soft. Allow it to cool slightly, and then squeeze the cloves out of the papery skin and into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the bone broth until it simmers. Remove the broth from the heat and add the dried porcini mushrooms. Cover and allow the mushrooms to soak until they are soft, about two hours.
  3. In a large dutch oven, heat three tablespoons of fat over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the Italian sausage and cook, breaking the sausage apart with a spoon, until it is browned, five to seven minutes. Remove the sausage from the fat with a slotted spoon and set aside on a platter.
  4. Add the onion to the fat in the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it softens and begins to brown, five to seven minutes. Remove the onions from the fat with a slotted spoon and set it aside in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade.
  5. If needed, add a little more fat to the pan. Over medium-high heat, cook the mushrooms in the fat, stirring occasionally, until they soften, seven to ten minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the fat with a slotted spoon. Put half of the mushrooms into the food processor with the onions and put the remaining half on the platter with the Italian sausage.
  6. Add the fennel to the remaining fat in the pan (or add a bit more if necessary). Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is soft, five to seven minutes.
  7. Add the red wine to the pot. Using the side of your spoon, scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  8. Use a slotted spoon to remove the reconstituted porcini mushrooms from the stock and put them in the food processor with the other vegetables. Pour the stock into the cooking pot.
  9. Add the cooked sausage and mushrooms from the platter, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer.
  10. Meanwhile, add the roasted garlic to the food processor with the mushrooms and onions. Process until the vegetables form a smooth paste, 30 seconds to one minute.
  11. Stir the vegetables back into the pot of soup to thicken it.
  12. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the soup warms through, about five more minutes. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
  13. Serve garnished with fennel fronds.

For an easier to make but still paleo version, but with a slightly higher carb count (about 12 g per serving versus about 7 g per serving):

  • 1 package organic dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 cups homemade beef or chicken bone broth
  • 3 tablespoons melted fat (I use duck fat)
  • 1 pound sugar-free, organic pastured pork Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 pound seasonal organic mushrooms (can be any variety), sliced
  • 1 bulb organic fennel, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (or more broth)
  • 1 teaspoon organic dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper.
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Two tablespoons chopped organic fennel fronds
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the cut garlic heads on a large piece of foil. Drizzle them with two tablespoons of the melted fat and sprinkle them with salt and rosemary. Wrap them in the foil. Roast the garlic in the preheated oven for about 90 minutes, until soft. Allow it to cool slightly, and then squeeze the cloves out of the papery skin and into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the bone broth until it simmers. Remove the broth from the heat and add the dried porcini mushrooms. Cover and allow the mushrooms to soak until they are soft, about two hours. Remove the mushrooms from the broth and chop them roughly. Return them to the broth.
  3. In a large dutch oven, heat three tablespoons of fat over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the Italian sausage and cook, breaking the sausage apart with a spoon, until it is browned, five to seven minutes. Remove the sausage from the fat with a slotted spoon and set aside on a platter.
  4. Add the onion to the fat in the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it softens and begins to brown, five to seven minutes. Remove the onions from the fat with a slotted spoon and set it aside with the sausage.
  5. If needed, add a little more fat to the pan. Over medium-high heat, cook the mushrooms in the fat, stirring occasionally, until they soften and brown, seven to ten minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the fat with a slotted spoon. Set them aside with the sausage.
  6. Add the fennel to the remaining fat in the pan (or add a bit more if necessary). Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is soft, five to seven minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add the sherry to the pot. Using the side of your spoon, scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  8. Pour the stock into the cooking pot. Add the cooked sausage, mushrooms, and onions back to the pot along with the thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer.
  10. In a small bowl, whisk together the arrowroot powder and water. Pour them into the simmering pot, stirring constantly, until the soup thickens slightly.
  11. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
  12. Serve garnished with fennel fronds.

photo credit: RonjaNilsson via photopin cc