AIP Pork Belly “Ramen” – Paleo/Gluten-Free

I am a huge fan of Japanese food, and one of my favourites is Ramen.  Not the icky, cheap, packets of ramen you can buy in the grocery store, that are really nothing more than a chemical-shit-storm in a packet.  I am talking REAL ramen….

PBR4

The problem is that ramen noodles are made with wheat.  And the broth usually contains soy.  2 things I cannot eat…

The solution is to make my own using spiralized zucchini as the noodles, and a rich flavourful pork bone broth infused with AIP friendly Asian flavourings.  The broth is made with a pigs foot, and has that sticky, rich quality that you only get from a gelatin rich bone broth…

The pork belly is a simpler form of the AIP Crispy Pork Belly that I have posted about in the past.  The only difference in this case was that the pork belly I had happened to buy was not in one piece and I did not marinate the pork before cooking it as I felt that the finished dish would be flavourful enough without it…

pbr6

This recipe does take a fair bit of forward planning if you are going to make the broth, but if you had some chicken bone broth stashed in the freezer you could always use that instead….  it probably would not be quite as good as if you made this broth, but it will still be very good!

Don’t be dismayed by the long list of ingredients or the time that this takes to make – the results are worth it!

PBR1

 

You will most probably have far too much broth – that is OK, just store it in a mason-jar in the fridge or freeze it for another time.

AIP Pork Belly “Ramen”

Serves 2

PBR2

For the Asian Pork Broth:

  • 1 pigs foot – split in half
  • 1lb meaty pork neck or back bones
  • 1 onion – halved (no need to peel)
  • 1 stick celery – chopped
  • Trimmings from 1 fennel bulb (optional – this provides a slight aniseed flavour not unlike star anise)
  • ¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves – peeled but left whole
  • 1″ chunk of root ginger – peeled and sliced into discs
  • a piece of Kombu (Dried kelp), 3″ x 1″ – optional
  • Stems from parsley and cilantro
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

For the Pork Belly:

For the Ramen Noodle Soup:

  • 2 medium sized zucchini – spiralized using the finest blade (I use this spiralizer)
  • 2oz crimini/baby bella mushrooms – sliced
  • 2oz enoki mushrooms – trimmed
  • 2oz sliced bamboo shoots
  • 2 green onions – chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • Coconut Aminos to taste

To make the broth:

The first thing that needs to be done is to get the pork broth made.  This is best started a day or two ahead of when you plan to make the ramen.

Soak the shiitake mushrooms in some boiling water for 1 hour.

While this is happening, place the pigs foot and the pork bones in a large pan and cover with cold water.  Bring the water just to a simmer but do not allow the water to boil.  Skim off any scum that forms on the surface of the broth.  Do not skip this step as this helps to make the broth nice and clear.  Boiling the broth will allow the impurities in the scum to mix back in with the broth, and this will make it cloudy.  After about 20 minutes of simmering, no more scum should be forming.

Now add the mushrooms and the soaking liquid, and all the remaining broth ingredients to the pot.  Return to a simmer, and continue to cook for around 8 hours, topping up the liquid as necessary to keep the bones covered.

Strain out any solids, and transfer the broth to the fridge to cool, where it should set to a firm jelly with a thick layer of fat on top.  Remove the solidified fat from the top of the broth, and save it for cooking, or use it to cook the pork belly.

Cooking the pork belly:

The next step is to cook the pork belly.  This also needs to be started the day before you plan to serve the Ramen Noodle Soup.

Take the pork belly and score the skin with a very sharp knife, taking care not to cut into the flesh.  It does not matter if your pork belly is all in one piece or is in several small pieces as mine was.

Place the pork, skin-side up on a rack over the skin and pour over a kettle-full of boiling water.  This firms and contracts the skin and is the secret to getting it really crispy.

Place the pork belly in the fridge and allow it to dry out overnight.  Don’t skip this step – it is essential that the skin is really dry before it is placed in the oven or it will not crisp!

An hour or two before you plan on serving the soup, you need to cook the pork belly.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Melt the lard, coconut oil (or the fat you skimmed off the top of the pork broth), and rub this well into the skin-side of the pork belly.  Sprinkle the skin with salt and rub it in to the scores you cut.

Place the pork belly, skin-side up on a rack over a roasting tin, and place in the oven.

Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F (175°C).  Continue to cook the pork for 15-20 minutes more until it is cooked through, and the juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife.  At this stage, you can decide if the pork skin is crispy enough for your liking

pbr6

If you want it extra crispy, preheat the broiler to high, and broil the pork, skin side up for 30-60 seconds until it is crisp but not burned.

Remove the pork belly, cool slightly and slice into thin slices.

To assemble the ramen noodle soup:

Cut the ends off the zucchini and spiralize them using the smallest blade on a spiralizer.  I have this one.

Place 3-4 cups of the pork broth that you made a day or two earlier in a pan and bring to a simmer.  Taste it, and add coconut aminos as necessary until it tastes just right for you.  Don’t add so much that it is very salty however!

Add the zucchini noodles to the broth and simmer for 3-5 minutes until the noodles are just cooked but not mushy.

Remove the noodles from the broth and divide them beteween 2 soup bowls.

Add the sliced crimini mushrooms and the bamboo shoots to the broth and simmer for 2 minutes to heat through and just cook the mushrooms.

Meanwhile, divide the spinach, cilantro and enoki mushrooms between the 2 bowls.  Pour over sufficient broth to cover the noodles, adding the mushrooms and bamboo shoots.  Add the sliced pork belly on the top and serve at once.

PBR5

 

Eat with chopsticks, using a spoon to slurp up all that delicious broth!

Shared at:  Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable

 

Wild And Raw – Calgary

I went down to Wild and Raw in Kensington (Calgary) today because I had to meet someone.

I had never been there before, but I knew that they at least served bone broth (because the person I was meeting was the person who supplies their grass-fed beef bones that they use in the broth (Rachel from Trail’s End Beef).

When I walked in to Wild and Raw, the first thing they did was ask how they could help me.  I asked for advice, explaining that I could not have anything with dairy, gluten, soy, seeds or nuts (I forgot to mention nightshades)…  and they came up with a few recommendations.

They have a pretty extensive menu – lots of juices, lots of smoothies (that they call shakes), their “Euphoric Elixirs” (this category includes Bulletproof Coffee, Bone Broth and Veggie Broth among others), and even Kombucha “on-tap”.

But by this time, I had already decided that I was going to try the bone broth despite the fact that it contained “spices” (which almost certainly included nightshades).  And as I have never reacted to nightshade spices in the past, I decided to heck with it…  even if I am supposed to be doing an AIP-exclusion “reset”, I was still having that broth!

And let me tell you that broth was delicious!  Gingery, spicy, and you could just tell that it was doing you good!

I would recommend it to anyone unless they really do react to nightshade spices…

Wild and Raw is quite a small place – only half a dozen tables or so (I did not count them), and it had only been open less than 30 minutes when I walked in, so it was empty…  but after about 5 minutes Rachel, her husband Tyler, her 2 children and a friend all came in….

It was a really friendly place and I will most definitely be going back!

And I would recommend it to anyone, whether they are Paleo, AIP or whatever they eat.  This is a really nice place that has something for everyone.  (They even do a vegetarian broth for the non-meat-eaters…)

Next time, I want to try their Kombucha…

Turkey Leftovers

After eating turkey yesterday for our Thanksgiving Dinner, I processed the rest of the turkey today.

This was what I was working with:

turkey9

As you can see, we ate little more than one complete breast (and even so, we were all STUFFED!).

So the first thing I did after dinner was cleared away was to put the entire thing in the fridge, where it sat overnight.  And the next day (today) I set about dismembering the remains.

I pulled off the legs, drumsticks and wings and removed as much meat as I could. I then cut off the second breast and cut that into pieces.  And finally I picked as much of the little bits of meat from the bones, resulting in an entire dish of dark and light meat that will be used for several recipes this week (buffalo frittatas for lunch, Turkey and Vegetable Soup and a Turkey and Avocado salad wraps.  I also served a turkey salad for lunch today, and plan on using it several more times in the lunch boxes.  Any that is left at the end of the week will be bagged up and frozen for use later on.

turkey7

I also removed all the skin, but that went into the pan with the bones, and used it to make bone broth.  I like turkey skin (and chicken skin too) when it is crisp and hot, but not once it goes cold and slightly soggy.  Instead, I put the leftover skin in the bone broth that I make so that we do benefit from the nutrients in it.

All the bones, skin, gristly bits went into the biggest pan that I own, along with the onion, garlic and herbs that were inside the cavity.  I discarded the orange however as simmering that can make the broth get a bitter taste.  I also added a big glug of apple cider vinegar, a chopped carrot and a chopped celery stick. This is essentially the same method that I use to make chicken bone broth, it is just the fact that turkey bones are very much larger.

turkey8

Then I topped it up with water and simmered it for hours and hours and hours.  I like to simmer my bone broths for at least 12 hours, preferably longer.  Normally, I let them cook in the slow-cooker, but in this case, the carcass was too big to fit (besides, I have pulled pork in mine at the moment!).  So this broth is being simmered on the stove-top, and I won’t leave the ring on overnight, so it will get no more than around 15 hours of simmering time.  If I make bone broth in the slow cooker I tend to leave it for at least 24 hours.

Once done, I will strain off the broth, remove the fat using my gravy separator and pack the resultant bone broth in glass jars for storage.

hambroth

Usually after straining, I put the bones back in the pan, add more water, more carrot, onion, celery, herbs etc and another glug of vinegar and simmer it for another 15-14 hours, which results in yet more broth.  I repeat this for as long as the bones are holding together, with each repeated batch of broth becoming less flavourful, but no less nutrient packed.  I want to extract as much nutrition out of those bones as I can!  I tend to make the subsequent batches in the slow cooker (the turkey bones have cooked down and will fit after the first batch!), so they usually get a longer cooking period – at least 24 hours.

I don’t even waste the fat.  The fatty, rich bone broth that I have separated off will be chilled in the fridge, and tomorrow I will be able to separate the 2 layers, pack the turkey fat in jars to be used for cooking and add the jellied broth to the rest of the bone broth.

This is one reason why I LOVE cooking turkeys – it might take time, but you end up with loads of leftovers, lots of bone broth and lots of fat that can be used for other things…  I suspect that even by paying for a higher priced free-range turkey I save because I utilize every single scrap of that bird.

 

 

 

Ham Soup

I know I have said this before, but I make a lot of soups…  mostly for lunches, but sometimes for dinner as well.

And last night, we ate soup for dinner, along with some gluten-free (but not low carb) bread.  The bread was not AIP, the soup however is.

And tbh the bread was more there to wipe the remainders out of the bowl once we were done as the soup itself was filling and very satisfying.   In fact it was really only the girls that ate the bread…  Hubby and I didn’t need it.  And I think they had it more because it was there.

Tonight’s soup featured a very rich ham-bone broth that I had made.  Each time I have been cooking the hams we obtained from our half of a pastured pig, I popped the bone into the freezer.  By the time I had four of them, I made some ham bone broth.

You could also use the stock/liquid that you obtain from cooking a boiled ham.

And then I used this broth to make this delicious soup.

Even though we ate this for dinner, it would make a fantastic lunch, and if you had an insulated food jar, you could even send it into school with your kids as part of a packed lunch (actually, that is most likely what will happen to our leftovers!).  Older kids and adults that have access to a microwave could also be given this in a small mason jar.  Just remind them to remove the lid before microwaving!

Ham Soup

serves 6 with leftovers for lunch

hamsoup

1-2 tbsp of fat of your choice (I used bacon/ham fat)

1 onion – chopped

2 cloves garlic – crushed

2 large carrots – peeled and chopped

2 sticks of celery – chopped

2 small sweet potatoes – peeled and chopped

4 cups of ham stock/broth

2 tbsp chopped parsley

2 cups shredded leftover ham

sea salt to taste (if your ham broth is salty, you may not need this – taste it first!)

This recipe is simplicity itself, much like a lot of soup recipes.

First of all you need to melt your fat in a pan ad add the veggies (onions, garlic, celery, carrots, sweet potato).  They don’t need to be cut too finely as you are going to puree the soup once the veg is tender.

Allow the veg to cook over a medium-high heat for around 5-10 minutes to soften slightly, then add the ham stock/broth.  Allow to simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are all tender, then puree with a stick blender.

Add the parsley and leftover ham, heat through, then taste and season if needed with sea salt.

hamsoup1

Serve hot…

Ham Bone Broth

hamstock1

Each time I cooked one of our bone-in pastured ham joints I took the meat off the bone and then froze the bone ready to make some broth when I had enough.

Eventually I had amassed 4 ham bones, and decided to make the ham-bone broth.

This was done in the slow cooker and was incredibly simple because I could just leave it to cook, all by itself for around 36 hours.

All I did was to put the bones (with any residual meat clinging to them) in the slow cooker.  Add 2 cut up carrots (I didn’t even bother to peel them), 2 celery sticks and 1 onion (I halved it but did not peel it).  Then I threw in a bayleaf and some parsley stalks (did you know that the stalks of the parsley plant actually have more flavour than the leaves?).

I added a glug of apple cider vinegar to provide some acid to leach the minerals out of the bones and I let it cook for around 36 hours at a low temperature.

I love using the slow cooker to make broth because it is simple, easy and I don’t need to keep an eye on it.  It is as simple as add the ingredients, turn it on and walk away…  and then, your house starts to smell AMAZING!…  in this case it smelled of ham…..

Absolutely delicious!

I did not bother to skim the fat off the top of the broth – not only is this made from pastured pork, the fat is delicious and very satisfying.

In total, I got around 7 cups of rich delicious broth from the bones from 4 hams and a few veggies…  you can’t beat that for frugal!

hamstock2

And later on, I used them to make a delicious ham and veggie soup for dinner.

Chicken Terrine

This is the chicken terrine that Hubby took as part of his lunch today…

I also ate some for my lunch as well, with a big green salad.  And there is plenty more for tomorrows lunch.

This is a great way to use up leftover chicken.  Because you have to shred the chicken quite finely for this, it is a really good way to use up those tiny itty bits that you get when you strip all the meat off a carcass.

This makes a good appetizer or a light lunch when served with a green salad.

Because this contains bell pepper which is a nightshade, this recipe is an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Chicken Terrine

serves 6 generously

chickloaf2

1/2 red onion – very finely chopped

1 tsp fat of your choice (I used some chicken fat…  it seemed appropriate)

1 pepper, roasted, peeled and chopped

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried sage

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

2 tbsp fresh basil – chopped

2-3 cups finely shredded cooked chicken meat

2 cups chicken bone broth (if it does not gel and set when refrigerated, add some gelatin)

salt and pepper to taste

Place the onion in a small pan with the fat and cook gently until soft.  Add to a bowl along with the pepper, herbs and chicken meat.  Mix well.

Place the meat mixture into a loaf pan (I used a silicone one because it makes turning the terrine out much easier).

Warm up the chicken bone broth until it is liquid and pour enough over the chicken to just cover it.

chickenloaf1

Chill in the fridge overnight.

Next day, turn out the terrine (if you use a metal loaf pan you will need to dip it in hot water to release it first).

chickloaf3

Serve cut into thick slices.

chickloaf1

This goes really well with a crisp green salad.

If taking this as part of a packed lunch, it really does need to be kept refrigerated or the gelatinized broth will melt.  This is the reason why Hubby took it for his lunch but the kids did not.  He has a fridge at work where he can store his lunch.

Shared at Fat Tuesday – May 6th 2014

Shared at Tasty Tuesdays Link Party #59

Garlic, Leek And Watercress Soup

Yet another soup that I made for lunch…  I am not kidding when I say that it is the thing that I make most commonly for that meal!

This post on Marks Daily Apple made me remember how hubby and I used to eat garlic soup after a night of drinking down at the Student Union when we were at university.  I know, drinking is not good for you  but actually due to limited budgets we didn’t drink all that much.

I didn’t have any chives to make the chive oil, and J, with her horror of mushrooms, would have refused to eat it if I had included those. So I couldn’t recreate the soup I linked to above.

So I decided to attempt to re-create the creamy garlicky soup that we used to eat way back then, just using more Paleo-friendly ingredients.

The watercress was a bit of an afterthought – I saw it in the fridge while rummaging for ingredients and decided to use it on a whim.  Our original soup was garlic, onions, leeks and thickened with potato.  Obviously I was not going to use potato to thicken an AIP soup, so I substituted cauliflower.  And I used coconut milk in place of the cows milk that I would have used back in Leeds.

That resulted in the following recipe, which was delicious.

Garlic, Leek and Watercress soup

Serves 6 with leftovers for the next day

garlicleekwatercresssoup

1 tbsp fat of your choice (I used coconut oil)

1 onion – chopped

1 leek – chopped (wash the leek well, they often have grit trapped in the layers.  Gritty soup is not pleasant!)

2 whole bulbs of garlic (around 15-20 cloves) – crushed

1 bunch green onions – chopped

1/2 head of cauliflower – chopped

1 1/2 jars bone broth (this was a chicken bone broth made from a leftover chicken carcass)

1 tsp fresh thyme – chopped

1 tsp fresh sage – chopped

1 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped

salt to taste

1 bunch watercress – chopped

1 can coconut milk (make sure it does not contain any non-AIP ingredients – read the label.  You want a can that only contains coconut and water).

Melt the fat in the largest pot you own…  Add the onion and leek and cook gently for 3-5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent – you want the heat to be no more than medium.

The throw in the garlic, green onions and cauliflower.  Toss it all around for a couple of minutes and tip in the bone broth.  Season to taste, but remember it will reduce slightly so don’t add too much salt.

Add the fresh herbs (back in Leeds I would have used a tsp or two of mixed dried herbs – I didn’t have the luxury of having fresh herbs growing in the garden!).

Let it all simmer gently for 20-30 minutes until everything is soft.

Add the watercress and the coconut milk and blitz with a stick-blender until it is all smooth.

Reheat gently and check the seasoning.

And serve at once.

This soup is great hot, and is also very good cold, but because of the huge amounts of garlic I don’t think I could get away with eating it at work…  no one wants a massage therapist with garlic breath!

Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #22

Chicken Bone Broth

chickenstock1

There is a lot of hype in the Paleo community about bone broth – everyone talks about it…  And I think that is because it is so good for you.  Bone broth is rich in the amino acids proline and glycine.  And it also contains a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals.  On top of that, it boosts your immune system (remember the chicken soup that you eat when you have a cold) and it aids digestion.

And it is both very tasty and incredibly frugal to make…

Why throw away that chicken carcass when you can use it to make a nutritious bone broth?

Don’t be afraid, it is not hard to do.

Simply put your chicken carcass in a large pan (I sometimes use the slow cooker) and add any leftover skin and meat, add an onion that is cut in half (no need to peel it), a roughly chopped carrot and a stick of celery that has also been roughly chopped.  I usually also add a few garlic cloves.  Toss in a bay leaf and some parsley stalks (why waste them?  They actually contain more flavour than the parsley leaves!) and cover the whole thing with cold water. I don’t usually add salt to my broths until they are made as it concentrates down and could become over-salty.

Then add a glug of apple cider vinegar or a little lemon juice.  The acid in the ACV/lemon juice helps dissolve out the minerals from the bones making it even more nutritious than plain and simple bone broth.

Now you need to bring it to the boil, skim off any foam/scum that forms, and turn it down to a simmer.

The longer you let it simmer for the richer and more nutritious your broth will be.  Anything up to 24 hours is good.  And this long simmering is why I often make it in the slow cooker.  I can leave it cooking on low overnight, and by the morning I have a rich, tasty bone broth that just needs straining.

Taste it, season with salt if necessary and strain.

So once your broth is made store in the fridge.  I like to use mason jars for this.

chickenstock1

One small chicken carcass made the broth/stock in the picture above.

If you want to remove the fat, it is easiest to do when the broth is cool.  I rarely bother unless there is a very thick layer.

If it has simmered for long enough and has extracted the maximum amount of nutrients, your broth should turn to jelly because of the gelatin you have extracted from the bones.

It should last about a week in the fridge.

You can also freeze the broth in the mason jars.  Just don’t fill them up to the brim as it needs some room to expand as it freezes.  I usually leave the lid slightly loose while freezing and then tighten it once it is solid.  Your bone broth will keep for several months in the freezer.  Remember to let it defrost before you need to use it, and don’t be surprised if it wont gel – freezing can sometimes make things that contain gelatin turn runny.

So what can you do with all this wonderful bone broth?

Use it in soups, stews, casseroles.  Add it t0 stir-fries.  Steam-saute vegetables in a little bone broth.  Or simply drink it as a nutritious hot drink.