Monday, 23 February 2015

Creamy Paleo Tomato and Pork Curry

If you're like me, and you like a curry that's aromatic, not too spicy and with different levels of flavours, then THIS is the one for you. 

It's creamy and mild, low on heat - but don't think that it's low on flavour, because it isn't. 

First of all, when you bite into a spoonful of this curry, you get tender, soft pork - and a sweet, creamy sauce. THEN flavours start to tingle all over your tongue. There's a definite warmth from the black peppercorns, green cardamom pods and cloves. There's the crispy fried red onions that are scattered over the top, and a citrus-boost from the fresh, bright coriander leaves. The tomatoes and the paprika add richness. THIS is a tasty curry. 

I was sent the pork to make this lovely bowl of goodness from Farmer's Choice, an online butcher that specialises in free-range meats. And it's fine for weeknights - taking just over half an hour to make from scratch. 

You could serve this with some paleo flatbreads, a pile of steamed cauliflower rice or as I do - just on its own, in a bowl, spooned out while the rain's pattering on the windows outside. 

Creamy Paleo Tomato and Pork Curry
Serves 4-6
3 fresh tomatoes (not tinned), quartered
1 piece of fresh ginger, about the size of your thumb, peeled and roughly chopped
3 chunky garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped into chunks
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground paprika
2 tsp coconut oil
4 green cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
7 whole black peppercorns
2 medium-sized red onions, both peeled and then cut in half and sliced thinly
700g diced pork
1 x 400ml can coconut milk (full-fat)
a good pinch - about half a teaspoon - of salt

Drop the tomatoes, the chopped ginger and the chopped garlic in a large mixing bowl or the jug of a blender. Blend using the blender or a stick blender until smooth. Stir in the ground coriander and the paprika and put to one side. 

Get out a medium-sized saucepan and heat up 1 tsp of the coconut oil. Add the cardamom pods, cloves and peppercorns and stir-fry in the hot oil for about a minute, until they're sizzling and aromatic. Throw in one of the sliced onions and fry until dark red and glossy. Next, pour in the tomato mixture and fold it into the onions, stir-frying for about 3-4 minutes. 

Once you can see that some of the liquid has evaporated from the tomato mixture, add the pork and then the coconut milk. Season with salt, and leave to simmer gently, with the lid off, for 30 minutes, or until the pork is tender and cooked all the way through. 

Once the pork is cooked through, and the sauce has darkened slightly, keep it on a low heat and fry the remaining onion slices in a little coconut oil, until crisp and golden. Serve the curry with the onion slices scattered over, with some freshly torn coriander leaves on top. 

I received a contribution for the ingredients to make the recipe, from Farmer's Choice, who also supplied the pork. Go and check them out on their website - their meat is free-range and really good. 

Friday, 20 February 2015

AIP Paleo Chicken Cacciatore - Hunter's Chicken

My husband's grandmother was from Spain and every time I'd cook chicken in tomato sauce he would say it reminded him of the smell coming from her kitchen when he was little. 

Well, I rarely cook with tomatoes now but wondered if a no-mato sauce could help me recreate the classic Italian Chicken Cacciatore - or Hunter's Chicken - dish that we used to love so much, and that brought back so many lovely childhood memories for him. So I had a go. And yes. Yes it could. 

Chicken Cacciatore is chicken, or more traditionally rabbit - first pan-fried and then cooked in the oven in a tomato sauce with herbs, garlic, onions and peppers. This dish is nightshade-free, so it doesn't have any peppers or tomatoes, but it's really big on flavour. There are lots of veggies in this sauce, and it's actually quite hard to believe that you're not eating a rich tomato sauce. 

So this version of Hunter's Chicken is nightshade, seed, refined sugar, gluten and dairy-free. It's suitable for the autoimmune protocol and paleo diets. It's fantastic served with a fluffy pile of cauliflower and white sweet potato mash and some cooked cabbage alongside. 

You can use chicken thighs or the breast meat here. While I know that thighs have more flavour and are more suited to slower cooking, I actually prefer to make this with chicken breasts. They don't take as long to cook, and there are no fiddly bones to worry about when you're tucking into this stew. But, as always, it's up to you. I hope you like it.

AIP (autoimmune protocol compliant) Chicken Cacciatore
Serves 4
1 tsp coconut oil
pinch of salt
4-6 chicken breasts or thighs (skin on)
half quantity of this no-mato sauce (the richer your beef broth, the better)
1 tbsp capers (or use some pitted olives, black or green - if you have them handy)
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

First, set your oven to gas mark 6/200ºC/400ºF. Melt the coconut oil in a large frying pan and fry the chicken, skin side down, in batches, so that the skin turns golden and begins to crisp. Turn over and fry the other side for a minute or two to seal the meat and then place on a plate. 

Pour the no-mato sauce into the bottom of a square roasting dish - the kind you'd bake a lasagne in - and place the chicken pieces on top, skin side up. Sprinkle with the salt and the rosemary and dot the capers or olives (or both if you have them) between the pieces of chicken in the sauce. Slide into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the chicken is golden and fully cooked through. Serve with the sauce, and some of your favourite veggie mash and greens. 

Monday, 16 February 2015

AIP Paleo Bacon Jam

Keep calm, people. 

For I have created a bacon jam recipe that's autoimmune protocol compliant. I repeat: BACON JAM that is AIP COMPLIANT. And it's fab on burgers. 

I remember my first taste of bacon jam, waaaay before I started the autoimmune protocol. It was sweet, salty, smoky and sticky. I ate it in sandwiches, salads, straight from the pot standing in front of the open fridge... and to be honest, I missed it. 

The original recipe I used to make contained coffee, chillies, nightshade spices, lots of brown sugar and obviously, lots of bacon. Well this one's been given an autoimmune makeover and still has the sweet, smoky flavour that I remembered. *high five*

It's gorgeous. Smoky, sweet, a kick from the vanilla. I wouldn't go overboard with it though. Use a small spoonful as a condiment - a topping for a burger, a spoonful alongside some pale, sweet scallops or in a prawn salad. You could also stir it into stews for a sweeter bacon flavour instead of adding the bacon itself. The recipe here makes quite a bit - enough to fill a large cereal bowl - and I think you could even freeze half of it to bring out later if you wanted to. 

The only bit of prep is that you need some no-mato sauce to stir in - when you've made a batch, keep back a few tablespoons and make this. You're going to love it. 

AIP (Autoimmune Protocol Compliant) Bacon Jam
Makes about 20 servings (keep in the fridge for about a week or freeze half for later)
500g smoked, streaky bacon, chopped into small pieces the smaller, the better)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 x 15ml tablespoons maple syrup
2 x teaspoons apple cider vinegar
250ml rich beef broth
1 tsp vanilla extract
5-6 tablespoons no-mato sauce

Finely chop up your bacon and gently fry, to release the fats, in a medium to large-sized saucepan, stirring regularly. If your bacon isn't very fatty, you can add a little coconut oil or duck fat to help it along, but not too much. 

Once most of the fat has rendered down from the bacon add the chopped onion and garlic cloves. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the onion has started to soften and the bacon is golden. Add the maple syrup, cider vinegar, beef broth and vanilla extract and stir, bringing to a gentle simmer. Cook on a low heat for another 20 minutes or so, until most of the liquid has evaporated but you still have a small amount in the bottom of the pan. Stir in the no-mato sauce until it's warmed through and then turn off the heat and allow to cool. 

If you want it more thinner and jammier, you can chop the bacon up a bit more in a processor, but I like it quite chunky. 

Once cool, store in an airtight container in the fridge. Use within a week. 


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