Mustard and Herb Leg of Lamb

20150201_144406by Karen Frazier

What I really want is Super Bowl food, but it’s not going to happen. I love stuff like nachos and chicken wings, but they just don’t like me. Too much stuff I’m allergic to. So instead, I’m making a lovely roast that should be ready at halftime. While the roast sits for the last 20 minutes, I’ll roast some carrots on high heat and toss them with a bit of balsamic and mustard. It will be tasty and super easy.

Mustard and Herb Leg of Lamb

  • 1 5-pound leg of lamb, bone in
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 5 sprigs rosemary, stems removed and discarded
  • 1 small bunch chives
  • 2 bunches fresh basil, leaves only
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Season the leg of lamb with salt and pepper.
  3. In a food processor, combine the rosemary, chives, basil, salt, pepper, garlic, mustard, and olive oil. Blend until a paste forms.
  4. Rub the paste all over the outside of the lamb.
  5. Roast in a roasting pan in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees and continue roasting, 10 to 12 minutes per pound until the roast reaches 145 degrees.
  6. Remove the lamb from the oven and tent it with foil. Allow the lamb to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

Balsamic and Mustard Roasted Baby Carrots

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, rosemary, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  3. Toss the carrots with the mixture and put in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, until the carrots are cooked.

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

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