paleo

Memorial Day is right around the corner. It’s often considered the first grilling weekend of the season across the United States, although it might feel a bit different this year without friends coming over. Either way, this recipe is tasty enough that it will hopefully compensate for the lack of Memorial Day parties we’ll all be attending in 2020.

While Tandoori Chicken recipes are found in my first two books, this beloved dish is making its blog debut today. It gets its name from the traditional clay oven found in South Asia, known as a tandoor in Hindi/Urdu. This dish as we know it today was likely developed in the 19th century, but evidence of similar grilled poultry dishes can be traced back to the Harappan Civilization, which existed in the Indus River Valley over 5,000 years ago. Given that most of these spices are native to the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia, it’s no stretch to believe that these flavors have existed for thousands of years.

For this recipe, we’re going to go as economical as possible – we’ll break down a whole chicken and grill its individual parts. If that doesn’t seem to be up your alley, no worries, you can use any combination of chicken parts on their own (more details below the recipe). Bear in mind that bone-in chicken imparts the most flavor, and you’ll want to remove the skin so that you can get as much flavor into the meat as possible.

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You probably don’t have any reindeer sitting around at your house (unless you do – hello, Canadians and Scandinavians, thanks for visiting my site!). Luckily, this simple recipe can also be used with venison if you or a loved one had an eventful hunting trip this year, or even with bison or beef steaks if you didn’t have a good hunting trip.

This dish hails from Finland, but is enjoyed in Sweden, Norway and Russia as well. What I like about this recipe is that it makes no assumptions – the key to this delicious meal is slicing it thinly, seasoning it sparingly, and nudging it gently towards tenderness with a combination of light braising and some crisping at the end. The whole process takes about two hours from start to finish, but it’s totally worth it.

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Nearly seven years ago, I developed my recipe for Sukuma Wiki, a Kenyan braised collard greens and ground beef recipe, and it’s been a favorite ever since. I put it in my first book, The Ancestral Table, and it’s often the dish I point to in the book when someone asks where they should start cooking. It takes about 30 minutes to prepare, and uses very affordable ingredients — and tastes great, too.

When writing The Heritage Cookbook, I knew that I wanted to include this dish to represent Eastern African cookery, but wanted to go back to the drawing board in terms of honoring the traditional preparation of this dish. What I came up with is a flavor provide very similar to my original recipe, but meat-free, and with nice meaty hunks of tomatoes to replicate those missing chunks of ground beef. Red onion also mellowed out the dish some compared to a white or yellow onion, which helped to balance everything just right.

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Does butter really make everything better? I think so. Julia Child also once said, “With enough butter, anything is good.” This week’s recipe proves her right.

Often, I will buy a small head of cabbage at the grocery store, with no concrete plans for it. They’re just so dang cheap, and they keep in the vegetable bin for a long time. Typically I will just sauté the cabbage in some butter, seasoned plainly with salt and pepper (a splash of apple cider vinegar also adds a bit of depth). But when I’m feeling very fancy, I’ll throw in some complementary flavors, like in this recipe, which includes radish and woodsy mushrooms. The trick is to pull the cabbage from the heat right as it starts to soften, or maybe a bit before — it’s always better to be undercooked than overcooked.

Other uses for cabbage:
Fårikål (Norwegian Lamb and Cabbage Stew)
Roasted Cabbage Steaks
Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad
Lazy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Pressure-Cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage

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When most people think of cured pork, they think of the two champions of the cured-pork world: bacon and ham. But the Cajun dish Tasso (sometimes referred to as Tasso Ham) beats these two famous counterparts in another way — you can’t beat its affordability and ease. Because Tasso is made with shoulder or loin, it’s much cheaper to prepare than bacon (pork belly) or ham (pork leg), because the former is much more expensive, and the latter is hard to find in its unprocessed state.

This is a two-step process: first, you cure the pork to remove its moisture and to impart its characteristic pink hue. Next, you smoke it at a low heat (under 180F if possible). The process is a little involved, but the end product is super versatile; I use it in my gumbo, jambalaya, or any dish that calls for bacon or salt pork.

You’ll want to cut the shoulder into smaller pieces — my rule of thumb is that each piece should be the size of a baseball. This gives you more surface area to work with, so that you can imbue it with all of that cajuny goodness.

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This dish is from Liguria, the coastal region in northwest Italy. This area is known for its abundant pine nuts, which make an appearance in this dish (fun fact: pesto, which relies heavily on pine nuts, is also from this region). Liguria also borders with the eastern side of France, and this dish shares French culinary staple — namely slow-braised meat in a wine sauce.

Cooking with rabbit can be intimidating to Westerners, but it’s actually quite simple. Just think of it like an oddly-shaped chicken, that’s made with all white meat. The hardest part is finding a whole rabbit, which you can often find at specialty butchers or Asian markets. They’re also available online, and my friends at US Wellness Meats regularly carry whole rabbits — just throw it in your box the next time you get an order of their incredible 75% lean grass-fed ground beef.

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Shrimp recipes generally fall into one of two categories: dead simple and fast, or elaborate and slow (with the shrimp thrown in at the end). This dish falls into both categories – you can whip it up in just a few minutes, or you could marinate it up to overnight for more flavor. Sky’s the limit. Not to be undone, there are also two variations of this dish you can prepare (Camarones a la Criollo and Mexican-style Camarones al Ajillo) if you’re up for the challenge — both variations add even more fun to this weeknight dish.

Clarified butter (or its toastier-tasting cousin, ghee) will allow you to cook the shrimp at a high heat without burning the butter. To make clarified butter, warm 3 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan over low heat for 15 minutes, skimming off any milk solids that accumulate at the surface. Alternatively, combine 2 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp olive oil to increase the butter’s smoke point.

Some of my other favorite shrimp recipes:
Bobó de Camarão (Brazilian Shrimp Stew)
Carolina Shrimp Bog
Bam Bam Shrimp
New Orleans-Style Barbecue Shrimp
Pad Priew Wan Goong (Thai Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry with Shrimp)
Hawaii-Style Garlic Shrimp

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Around the holidays, there are three dishes I like to prepare on certain days: turkey (smoked or roasted) for Thanksgiving, ham (citrus and honey glazed) for Christmas, and a rib roast for New Years Day. My traditional rib roast recipe is featured in The Heritage Cookbook, but last weekend I wanted to try out a smoked version of this classic dish, which I’m sharing today.

I tested this recipe on my new pellet smoker (full review here), but it would work well on a charcoal or gas smoker setup, too, which I detail at the bottom of this post. Don’t have a smoker? No worries, this is the exact method I make for an oven roast, and I simply put it in the oven at 180F for Step #2. It comes out great that way, too.

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For those of you who remember my Caribbean Sticky Wings recipe from last year, I jumped into the world of pellet grills about 18 months ago. Before then, my longtime grilling setup had been three-fold: a charcoal grill for direct-heat grilling, an electric smoker for low-and-slow BBQ, and a gas grill for consistent temperatures with minimal effort. After getting acquainted with that first pellet grill, I decided to sell my electric smoker and gas grill because the pellet grill provided the consistent temperature I like to rely on during recipe development, as well as low-and-slow temperatures for exceptional BBQ (see: my 3-2-1 Smoked Ribs recipe); I kept the charcoal grill on hand for high-heat direct grilling.

Recently, the team at Camp Chef offered to send me one of their new Woodwind 24 WiFi pellet grills, which seemed to be a significant upgrade to my current grill. So I thought I’d take a moment and run you through my impressions.

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These garlic pickles are a great introduction to fermentation. They’re a familiar flavor, and you can use the brine to marinate chicken breasts for my fan-favorite Gluten, Grain, and Garbage-Free Chick-fil-A Nuggets recipe (which is nearly seven years old – yowza!).

But really, this recipe is just the start of a beautiful relationship with fermented foods. In addition to those you can find in my books, I have a few on the blog. Here are some other fermented or pickled recipes if you’re ready to try out something new:

Kabees el Lift (Pickled Turnips)
Guineitos en Escabeche (Pickled Green Bananas)
Fermented Ketchup
Takuan (Pickled Daikon Radish)
Pickled Watermelon Rinds)

One last note – it’s important to seek out organic (or fresh from the farmer’s market) cucumbers for this recipe, because you want that natural Lactobacillus bacteria that forms on its skin to kickstart the fermentation process. Don’t have access to organic cucumbers? Just add a spoonful of that liquid that forms at the top of yogurt (aka whey) to your brine during step #1.

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