Paleo Phở with Bonus Slow Cooker Bone Broth

photo 3

from: Jamey Bennett
to: Daniel Larkin

Dude,
I had a great idea tonight to try out a low carb and paleo pho. Last week I made some pastured organic chicken bone broth, and I was trying to figure out what to do with it, then it popped into my head to make some pho! I will definitely make this again. Also, while it kinda sounds like a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps, it’s quite simple.

Let me start with the broth. Of course, one could always buy a store-broth, but I like to have more control over that, and the health benefits are so much higher from a fresh homemade broth than the high sodium stuff you get in a can. I generally seek out grass-fed beef bones for broth, the omega-3:6 profile is so much better than with chicken, but this was a healthy chicken, so I feel good about it. Essentially, I just put a chicken in the slow cooker all day with a little bit of salt, strained out the meat at the end of the day and had that with dinner. I left the bones in, put in a few cups of water, and added the neck, carrots, celery, parsley, a bay leaf, and a handful of other brothy things, and let it go all night. Strained out the solid matter, and I had a delicious broth.

photo 2

I’ve never done pho at home before, so I did a lot of googling of what other people do for their pho and I devised my own from common themes. In no particular order, the ingredients I put together are:

  • 3 cups homemade bone broth
  • Shiritaki noodles (Miracle Noodle fettucini style, or if carbs are your thing, white rice noodles)
  • About 12 ounces thinly sliced sirloin or skirt steak
  • 1 portabella mushroom
  • Five Spice Seasoning Powder (several varieties should be available in the International Asian-ish section of most conventional grocers, just make sure it has at least anise and cinnamon)
  • 4 tablespoons Fish sauce (watch out for added sugars and either find one with little or no sugar, or just limit yourself to 2 tablespoons…four tastes so great, it’s a small sacrifice 😛 )
  • Two small to medium white or yellow onions
  • A heaping cup of bean sprouts
  • 1 radish
  • 1 small piece of fresh ginger, minced
  • Two jalapenos (I got green and red for color)
  • Salt and pepper (I used regular sea salt and charcoalized black sea salt from Hawaii, but use whatever)
  • 4 Scallions
  • Minced garlic to taste
  • Cilantro (basil works, too, for cilantro haters)
  • 1/2 lime, cut into four pieces
  • Optional: Sriracha

Prep the meat by poking with a fork or pounding it with a meat mallet to tenderize it. Sprinkle salt and pepper on each side of each piece, and set aside.

Slice the mushroom, onions, radish, jalapenos, scallions, and cilantro and set aside. Also mince the ginger and cut the lime.

Heat up a skillet, super hot, use whatever fat you want, lard, coconut oil, whatever…we’re going for smoke point here. Breaking some rules. It’s okay though. Just this once. Sear the thin beef, 10-15 seconds on each side, 30 seconds if you aren’t blazing hot. Take the pieces aside, and slice thin-ish strips against the grain.

photo 1

Oil that skillet back up with some lard or whatever, reduce the temperature to low to medium. Throw in the onions. Give them a minute or two head start. Add the sliced radish and mushroom. Eventually After 4 or 5 minutes, whatever, just make sure you like how the onions are looking, slowly add the garlic and ginger. This is one of those low heat is best treatments. When everything is looking good, slowly stir in the bone broth. Up the heat, bring to a boil, and then scale back to simmer.

Now it’s time to work on the noodles. If you go rice noodle, just follow directions on the package. But I prefer my shirataki noodles, and here’s a brief primer on preparing them. The ones I buy come in a bag, wet, with a solution that smells fishy at first. So what I like to do is rinse them in a collander for about fifteen seconds, and I like to take kitchen scissors and put a few cuts in the middle to make the noodles a bit shorter. Boil them for one minute in water, strain them again in a collander, then throw them back in an empty pan for about thirty seconds to sort of dry them. Set aside.

Now you’ve had five or ten minutes go by with the simmering vegetables and broth. Throw in the jalapenos (deseed them if you want a milder pho), stir in a teaspoon of the seasoning powder, a little bit of salt, and four tablespoons of fish sauce. Taste the broth. Tweak as necessary, but it should be tasting pretty darn good now. Give it a few or five minutes. Add the beef. Give that a couple minutes. Add the bean sprouts.

After about a total of twenty minutes (from the time you added the broth), you should be good. Separate the noodles between bowls (this amount is about four bowls of pho), and spoon out the goods. Garnish generously with scallions and cilantro (or basil), squeeze a lime on top, and if you need an extra kick, add some sriracha.

If you’re willing to accept the challenge, this could be our first paleo-vegetarian challenge. You could easily up the mushrooms and axe the meat, but finding a fish sauce and vegetable broth sub might be more difficult.

Let me know! And enjoy.

PS. If I had it to do over, I’d do more broth, and would have to adjust the seasoning and fish sauce.

Sent from my iPad

from: Daniel Larkin
to: Jamey Bennett

When the hell did Sriracha become optional?

I did a little research, and it looks like veggie fish sauce does exist, so I’m going to try this. If I can’t find any packaged vegan fish sauce, I’ll try to make it. (That may be a blog post in it’s own right.) I’ve been wanting to figure out a way to crust up tofu like a good seared steak. This may be the time to do it, although I may have to use the tofu as a topping rather than cooking it in the sauce for the last few minutes.

Who knows? I can plan all I want, but I know it’ll all be made up as I go along on the day of.

from: Jamey Bennett
to: Daniel Larkin 

Yeah, I think a couple of the recipes I read said to just mix the beef in at the end, and I think I even saw one that said to serve the beef raw. I just wanted to make sure the beef was served warm!

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Chorizo, Bacon, and Eggs Rutabaga Hash

from: Jamey W. Bennett
to: Daniel Larkin
date: Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 8:19 PM

Hey Dude,
I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written an email with a legitimate winning “recipe.” So I’m going to give it a shot here. I was inspired for this recipe by this cauliflower bacon hash here, thanks to a Facebook ad today. But I deviated quite a bit, so I won’t bother explaining the differences.

I love breakfast hash, but I almost never order it, because Hash House A Go Go in San Diego has ruined all other hashes for me. Until now, because now I have a legitimate hash of my own. (BTW – they have a Hash House A Go Go in Orlando now, may be worth checking out, and they have vegetarian options.)

So this is basically a SUPER EASY Mexican-food-inspired, high-fat, low-carb (or maybe lowER-carb), Paleo feast. Mine majored on animal fat, since I used chorizo and bacon and incorporated ALL of the fat, but I wanted to make sure it was sharable and adaptable for a vegetarian. To make up for the fat, I’d say use coconut oil (it will change the character quite a bit), or olive oil. And then use meat substitutes for the chorizo (like Upton’s Natural Seitan, though a gluten product, it’s the best tasting and least processed vegetarian chorizo I’ve had) and bacon (maybe omit the bacon, because veggie bacon makes me sad).

Okay, enough of the mouth running. Let’s get down to business. I’m just going to bold the ingredients through the description.

Somewhere along the way you need to fry enough eggs for however many servings you’re going to have. I split this two ways, and did two sets of three eggs. These will go on top of the hash.

First, cook 10 oz. beef or pork chorizo in a skillet while cooking 5 or 6 pieces of bacon in a second skillet. When just about ready, remove the chorizo and bacon and set aside, and combine the fat of the two meats into one skillet.

Add a handful of diced onion bits to the fat, and cook over medium heat or so. After a couple minutes, and a teaspoon of minced garlic (a clove or two) and a 4 ounce drained can of sliced mushrooms. Cook for another couple minutes, but don’t burn anything.

Add 3/4 lb diced rutabagas from the frozen section of the grocer, and stir in until the frozen bits have all fallen off, then add 1/2 tsp. of paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until you feel like everything is coming along nicely. Sip some wine. Drink some beer. I don’t know.

What follows (and the spices), I mostly lifted from the other recipe. Well, until the end. You’ll see.

Add three or four Tbs. water and cover for a few minutes.

Return the meat to the hash, along with the juice of a whole lemon (they use half).

After a couple of minutes dish it into to four bowls (this is a hearty meal for two), cover with the fried eggs, pour a few teaspoons of El Pato Jalapeno Salsa (from the Mexican section of the grocer, sub a superior salsa if you wish) on top of the eggs, and garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro.

That’s it. Everything was pretty much packaged in some way (even the lemon in its rind) or could be (frozen diced onions). The whole thing took about twenty or twenty five minutes from start to finish.

The finished product was every bit as satisfying as white potato hash—maybe even more—and I think the starchy carbs were reduced to about 1/5 of potatoes.

Enjoy!

from: Jamey W. Bennett 
to: Daniel Larkin
date: Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 12:01 AM

Oh, I forgot a crucial ingredient that makes it a little more south of the Border and less of a rip-off! I used a 10oz can of diced tomatoes and green chilies (medium heat) when I added the lemon. They warmed up in the couple of minutes left in the cook. I can get the Ro*Tel brand for $1 at Dollar Tree or Target. They were a wonderful component, and I didn’t want to cook the life out of the tomatoes, so I thought adding them at the end would be like two minute hops in homebrew. 😉

from: Daniel Larkin
to: “Jamey W. Bennett” 
date: Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 9:08 AM
subject: Re: Chorizo, Bacon, and Eggs Rutabaga Hash

I saw a Cauliflower Hash recipe on Facebook, and I’ve actually been planning it in my head ever since. My plan was to go with tempeh pre-boiled in a mix of water, soy sauce, vegan Worcestershire, and liquid smoke. I’ll go with your spices and tomato/chili mix for sure. This has Brinner written all over it.

from: Jamey W. Bennett
to: Daniel Larkin
date: Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Wow, that’s quite a different direction, and sounds delicious.

[Note: Pictures were taken of this, but seem to be lost to the author. Apologies.]

Philosophy of Sausage Making

from Daniel Larkin
to jamey w. bennett

I’m so far behind in my TwoDudes emails that I don’t even know where to begin.  Luckily for you, I made sausage the other weekend, so this seems like as good a place as any to pick up the ball.

I don’t know if you’ve ever made sausage, but I hadn’t, and I assumed it was going to be ridiculously difficult.  I had always thought a fun and easy way to do it would be to buy some ground meat, mix in some spices, and make “sausage” patties.  Well, when an old cast-metal, hand-crank meat grinder showed up at our neighborhood yard sale, I knew that plan was shit.  It was time to go all in.

None of us really knew what spices make “sausage.”  We knew that sage makes good breakfast sausage and that you can’t make Italian sausage without fennel, but that’s where our recipe knowledge stopped.  We each did a small amount of research online, but in the end, we decided to just avoid a recipe and just make it up as we went.  This approach, along with morning beers, led to a very distinct lack of note taking.

The spices consisted of a small amount of dry spices along with a handful of fresh herbs from my garden.  Here’s how we collected our meat:  I went suburban and bought a 3-1/2 pound bone-in pork shoulder at the grocery store.  (I looked for the best/most marbling I could see.)  Brandon had a trip coming up to see his family in the country, during which he bagged a rabbit with a .22 rifle.  John went to Lay’s meat market in the backstreets of Knoxville (aren’t the best meat stores always in a crappy building in the PJs?) and bought a 5 pound bag of “pork fat.”

We started out with around 10 pounds of flesh, bone and skin, but after we cleaned the rabbit, carved the bone out of the shoulder, and pulled the skin off the pork fat, we were down to about 7 or 8 pounds.  (In case you’re wondering, yes, we cooked the skin in a cast iron pan to render the remaining fat and make cracklins.)  As we were cleaning our respective meats, we chopped them into small pieces — around 1/2 to 1 inch cubed.  Into this, we mixed our haphazard assortments of herbs and seasonings.

The final mix went something like this. 

  • Meat and fat mix
  • Two tall stalks of rosemary
  • Two tall sprigs of oregano
  • Six sage leaves
  • A handful of thyme sprigs
  • Whole bundle of garlic, roasted
  • Powdered coriander (Maybe 2 tbs?)
  • A good coating of Kosher salt
  • Plenty of red pepper flakes
  • Lots of cayenne pepper
  • Black and white pepper
  • 6-8 ounces of Muprhy’s Irish Stout

We chopped the fresh herbs, sprinkled the dry herbs, poured in the beer, and mixed it all into the cubed meat.  Then we put the mix into the fridge while we drank more beer.  You want the fat to be cold, so that it chops easier.

Once everything was chilled, we ran it through the meat grinder on the coarsest setting.  We proceeded to case half the mix in hog intestines, but we were so unprepared for that process, and it was such a disaster that I don’t feel qualified to give any tips.  Well, maybe one tip — buy a sausage stuffer!  Faced with the prospect of stuffing more intestines, we decided to leave the other half as a loose mix which we split evenly between us.

We sampled the sausage in patty form just after grinding, and again as links at the end of the day.  Both times were fantastic, but we noticed that the heat of the peppers drastically declined the longer the sausage sat.  The most surprising thing was how sausage-like the flavor was!  It was incredible!  I’ve got about 8 ounces of loose mix in my freezer now that I’m going to use for spicy cheese dip for the CochFord Chicken Fry.

I realize that I was kinda weak on the details here, so what I’m about to give you is a brief Philosophy of Sausage Making — a term that I actually Googled beforehand, but sadly discovered does not exist.  If you ever find yourself with a meat grinder and a day to spend elbow deep in pork fat and beer, just follow these instructions.

  • Pour yourself a beer, because you’re on your way to Awesometown.
  • Whatever animal/animals you choose, make sure you have a good fat-to-meat ratio — good being at least 30% fat.
  • Remove everything Kosher before you start — because it’s about to look like a pig exploded in your kitchen.
  • Make sure the mix is chilled before grinding.
  • Add a little liquid to help the texture through the grinder.  Beer is a good option.
  • Make a small patty to sample your recipe after grinding.  Then you can make minor adjustments.
  • It doesn’t matter what spices you use, just as long as you use a ton of them.  Sausage is supposed to be flavorful, dammit!
  • If you want spicy sausage, use a lot of peppers.

There you go, dude.  Daniel’s Philosophy of Sausage Making.

Sheila’s Amazing Beer Chili

from: Jamey W. Bennett 
to: Daniel Larkin

Dude,

My friend Sheila in Nashville makes what is possibly the best chili I’ve ever had. Last year, she gave me her recipe to use in a chili cook-off at church, and she has given me permission to share it with the world.

She sent me a follow-up email about a meatless version she makes. She said she does it pretty much the same way as below, except for no meat and more beans.

Cheers,
Jamey

From: Sheila Uselton
Subject: Re: chili
To: “Jamey W. Bennett” 

Okay Jamey. Here is my attempt to remember how I make chili.

First I brown a pound or so of good quality ground beef. (ground round or sirloin, etc.) AND a pound of hot sausage like Jimmy Dean’s or whatever. While that is browning I also throw in a chopped poblano pepper (or two if they are really small.)

After the meat is brown I start adding stuff. I add my chili mix, which is usually the Wick Fowler chili kit. Just get one or two if you are making a big batch.I like chili mixes that contain masa. Then I add a large can or two of crushed tomatoes. I always get two cans in case it needs it. Then add your beans. I use black beans and light red kidney beans. I also put in a can of yellow hominy to pay homage to our love of New Mexico southwestern style cooking. I always add a bit more garlic and ground cumin too.Then take two beers out of the fridge. Pour in one beer and make sure it is not a sweet beer. Drink the other beer. At this point, just eyeball it and add whatever else you think it might need.

Now, here is the secret that I just discovered that is amazing. Buy a can of chipotle chilies (smoked jalapenos) and add those. It gives it the most amazing flavor. You will find these little devils in the Mexican food section of your store. Or go to the Mexican grocery store if it’s close by. The ones I used came in a small can with some kind of red sauce in them. Put the chilies AND the sauce in. I think they also can be found in a dried form, but I did not want to have to mess with rehydrating them due to my laziness. Keep in mind however, that this will make your chili HOT, so be discriminating as you add these. Your judges might be pansies from the East who can’t take the heat.

Call or text me if you have any questions. Hope you win!

Love,
S.

[Editor’s Note: Don’t forget the sour cream, cheese, Fritos, hot sauce, or whatever else you like with your chili.]

Jive Turkey

Daniel Larkin 11/23/10
to me 

So I’m in charge of the turkey and stuffing for this year’s Knoxville Thanksgiving.  Believe it or not, with as much cooking as I’ve done, I’ve never roasted a bird.  But you have, during the turkey sandwich challenge.  Do you have anytips/suggestions?  The only twist I plan on implementing is rubbing chopped herbs between the skin and meat of the breast and thighs.  (that sounded dirty)

I don’t own a real roasting pan with a rack, so I’m planning on doing this in a disposable aluminum one.  How did you go about this?

Jamey W. Bennett 11/23/10
to Daniel 

Easy. Here’s what I did after consulting my friend Sarah.

Disposable aluminum.
Thawed the turkey in cold water (this takes like 8 hours)
Pulled out all the junk and set it aside
Separated, carefully, the skin from the breast
Rubbed a shitload of butter in there between the skin and breast
Rubbed thyme and rosemary in the same place
Lightly sprinkled the skin with salt and pepper

Dropped that beast into the oven at 475 for 20 minutes to sear the outside and lock the juices in (or at least that’s the theory)

Reduced to 250 (leaving the bird in), and calculated 20 minutes per pound

I didn’t have a thermometer, but I had one of those little pop-out indicators and I did fine. But EVERYBODY says you should use a meat thermometer. Either way, stab that beast when you think it’s ready, and it should be juicy, but clear

I did not do stuffing. I know lots of people do, but there are also a lot of critics about the stuffing in the bird. Dowhachalike.

My grandma uses a rack, and she flips the bird upside down so all of the fat and juices cook into the breast. My mom swears by it.

And for your enjoyment from Facebook:

Saying prayers for the 45 million turkeys whose lives will be taken in the US this year, and hoping for the truth about the origins of Thanksgiving to make it into the minds, hearts and bellies of humans everywhere!

May the truth set the birds free…….Say NO to genocide for all species!!!!