Long lazy lingering Sundays are my favourite. A big family meal to seal the sweet deal complete with the ultimate comfort food. We’re lucky to still have some elk in the freezer, a rare treat from someone who undoubtedly worked very hard to attain. The ground elk is amazing for these meatballs but you could substitute it for another wild meat like venison, bison, boar or even beef.
We went to Ikea the other day, I’ve never been tempted to dine in the DIY furniture hoarder packed cafeteria filled with hangry consumers. Ikea and Costco cafeterias remain scary places for me. But it doesn’t alter the fact that Ikea meatballs are always a temptation. Personally I think meatballs are much better in creamy sauces than tomatoey ones. And I don’t like when they’re massive, little creamy meatballs are where its at. So I thought I’d go to town and create my own wild version of the ikea staple. On a side note, when I wasn’t busy fantasizing about meatballs I scored the coolest bed sheets ever. Have you ever seen those old herb books? The ones with the very detailed plant diagrams and latin names. Well its basically an herb encyclopedia on a bed spread. I am soaking up all that knowledge while I sleep, oh yeah!
These elk meatballs go fabulously with creamy mashed potatoes and a big salad. If you’re not normally a fan of wild meats I urge you to give them another chance. When high quality stuff is procured there are no weird tastes just pure meaty forest filled goodness. If your looking for more elk inspired recipes try these elk lettuce wraps, they are so easy and make a great lunch. I’m a big fan of Hank Shaw on his website honest food he has many fabulous wild meat dishes. I’m dying to try making steak au poivre with elk.
1 lb ground elk meat or substitute for venison, bison or beef
1/3 C almond meal
1 Tbs coconut flour
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sea salt
For the Sauce
1 tbsp white wine vinegar or white wine
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 C chopped assorted mushrooms of any variety
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tsp thyme
sea salt and pepper to taste
For the Meatballs
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and form into tablespoon sized meat balls, set aside.
Heat a large skillet with the oil and place each meatball spaced about an inch apart, brown on two sides, remove and brown the rest. Don't worry if they aren't fully cooked as you will return them to the sauce.
For the sauce
Using the same hot skillet, add the white wine to deglaze the pan, allow the liquid to evaporate slight before adding your oil, garlic and onions. Cook until golden.
Add mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper and stir for a minute before adding the coconut milk.
Add the remaining meatballs to the sauce and cover for another ten minutes.
Yesterday I went to the farmers market and the poutine truck was there. They have some pretty impressive renditions on the classic poutine, including donair poutine and buffalo blue cheese poutine, tempting to say the least. But instead we got some gorgeous fresh northern pike and breaded it with shredded coconut, yum. But the craving for poutine, once you have it, doesn’t just go away. So today I whipped up a worthy equivalent, minus the gravy, and oh my did it hit the spot. In case you were wondering, loaded implies a bunch of spicy beef cooked with onions and garlic, goat feta and aged raw cheddar cheese,fresh tomatoes, peppers and a big ole pile a guacamole in the middle. These loaded tex mex sweet potato fries are healthy yet satisfying enough to meet any comfort food criteria.
This is a filling meal for two, or a nice snack or starter for four. Once you start, its hard to stop, and you are pretty much guaranteed to lick the plate clean.
In a large bowl, add oil and sweet potato, toss until evenly coated.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread an even lay of sweet potato fries, bake for 25 minutes.
Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan and add onion and garlic until slightly golden. Add the Worcestershire and beef and cook on medium high heat until the juices start to release and the meat starts to brown. Turn down the heat until thoroughly cooked.
For the guacamole, mash together the avocado, garlic, lime, sea salt, tomato and cilantro
When the fries are done, top with cheese, beef, tomatoes, peppers and serve alongside fresh guacamole.
You guys know I’m Canadian eh? My momma grew up in Quebec and instilled a love for poutine into us from day 1. Okay, maybe not day 1 but you get my drift. That cheesy gooey goodness is infused into my childhood and every now and then I get a mad hankering.
Never had poutine? Well you’ve been missing something special but it’s never too late.
As far as Canadian cuisine goes, it’s literally all over the map, but Quebec wins every time. The twists on traditional French cuisine are endless, and there is also a smorgasbord of other cultures and their traditions thrown in. Quebec is home to most of Canada’s immigrants after all. Montreal is by far the most exciting and vibrant Canadian city.
So to honour my French Canadian roots I like to make homestyle real food delectable poutine once in awhile. Nope none of that weird packaged gravy or GMO fryer oil, just good old fashioned shoestring potatoes fried in chicken fat and smothered with the most delectable spicy roasted chicken gravy, mixed with melty raw cheddar, which isn’t traditional but sure is good.
To make the gravy and get the chicken fat, you really need to roast a whole chicken and save the drippings. I wrote a post on how to make the perfect roast chicken with a spicy smoky blend of flavours which lends itself to your eventual poutine. This is worth the effort, not only are there ample benefits from roasting a whole chicken, but the leftovers are superb.
This is a loose recipe so I am going to treat it as such. You could also make the gravy out of drippings from a roast beef if that’s more convenient, the procedure is the same. Enjoy this stringy, cheesy, comfort food, homemade poutine blows fast food chains out of the water. To make it paleo just ditch the cheese, it won’t be missed, unless you’re French 😉
If you use yummly, I’m now going to be using their recipe cards so that my recipes will show up in their database. It’s a pretty awesome way to keep track of all the delicious creations in your roster!
Spicy Chicken Poutine with Homemade Shoestring Fries
4 medium sized russet potatoes
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 C pan drippings from roast chicken, left in the refrigerator until the fat solidifies on the surface
2 Tbs tapioca starch
2 C leftover spicy roast chicken (link in article)
1 C shredded raw cheddar
2 green onions, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 425F
To make the shoestring fries, use a spiralizer on the smallest setting, par boil the spiralized potato for about 5 minutes and drain well.
Remove the fat from the chicken drippings and place it on a baking sheet (about 2 Tbs worth), pop this in the hot oven until melted.
Spread drained potatoes on to the pan and toss around until well coated in chicken fat, sprinkle with salt and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. You may want to turn the halfway.
To make the gravy simply heat up the remaining pan drippings (about 1 C) combine the tapioca starch with an equal amount of cold water and slowly add to the simmering drippings until desired thickness is achieved.
Prepare the poutine in layers, potatoes, cheese,chicken, gravy, repeat and finish with chopped green onions. Enjoy!
Do you worry about potentially undercooking it and having to put the whole lot back in the oven?
Or maybe overcooking it and ruining all that effort?
But a whole roast chicken is also alluring, the whole house smells intoxicating and it’s easier to find free range whole chickens for a good price.
Around here I usually make a whole roast chicken once a week, and then boil the carcass for homemade stock to add to soups and sauces. Often I save the fat to cook with, you could also make gravy if you wanted to go all out.
Chicken fat or schmaltz is really really yummy, it makes everything you cook it in taste amazing. Especially when infused with the red hot spices the chicken was cooked in. The schmaltz from this particular recipe was bright orange from the paprika. To separate the schmaltz from the juices, pour off the liquid and allow to cool in the fridge. When cool the chicken fat will form a layer on top of the now gelatinous chicken juices and you can just scrape that off. The jelly is nutrient dense and you can make gravy with it or add it to stocks.
Making gravy from the pan juices is really simple too and an added bonus to top your chicken with. For paleo gravy I like to thicken with tapioca starch or arrowroot flour, for the drippings from one chicken I typically mix 2 Tbs flour with 2 Tbs cold water. Simmer the chicken drippings/juices on low and stir in the flour until desired thickness is achieved.
Homemade chicken broth is super nourishing and makes everything more delicious. If I cook rice I usually do it in chicken stock and even just drinking it by itself is so satisfying. But our families favourite standby is leftover roast chicken soup, loaded with flavour, packed with veggies and a bit of satisfying rice to top it all off.
So today, in a bid to convince you to make roast chickens part of your kitchen repertoire, I’m going to share with you the recipe for this delicious chicken AND the recipe for the best ever leftover roast chicken soup.
Cooking whole roast chickens doesn’t have to be scary and intimidating. It’s really simple once you have the technique down. There are a million and one variations and ways to flavour your chicken but today I wanted to share with you one of my favourites, red hot roast chicken. This fiery rendition has a bit of smoky sweet and spicy, its also a brilliant golden-red hue, which makes a roast chicken look all the more delectable.
Now here’s are the keys to the perfectly moist, delicious roast chicken every time…
This is the easy chefs way of cooking a whole chicken, there are further steps one could take to get to the next level like brining and trussing but for simplicities sake here’s my take.
– Let your chicken come to room temp. before popping it in the oven.
– Thoroughly dry the skin before adding seasonings, this helps the chicken to get a crispy skin.
– Lay the chicken on a bed of large chunks of sliced onion, this raises it just slightly so the air can circulate underneath and the skin doesn’t stick to the bottom.
– I find cooking the breast side down produces a more moist breast, normally the legs take longer to cook than the breasts and they end up being dry but this way they stay tender.
– Don’t be shy with the spices, we’re only able to season the exterior so make up for that by liberal amounts of good salt, pepper and whatever others herbs and spices you want to add. For a classic roast chicken, stuff the cavity with fresh thyme, a punctured lemon and plenty of garlic and onion.
-The internal temperature of a cooked chicken is 180F at the breast and 190F at the thigh. However, if you are like me and you don’t own a meat thermometer- the chicken is cooked when the juices run clear. Normally I puncture the crevasse at the thigh to check. An average roasting chicken (5-6lbs) will typically take 1 hr 2o minutes at 400F.
– Let it rest. It’s tempting to serve it up as soon as the chicken is out of the oven, but waiting allows the juices to seal and makes for more tender fall off the bone meat. Allow the chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes before digging in.
Red Hot Roast Chicken Spice Blend
1/2 Tbs sea salt
1 Tbs smoked paprika
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1 tsp red chile flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ancho chile powder (or you can use regular)
Combine all the spices and sprinkle liberally over the whole chicken on all sides. Add fresh garlic, onion to the roasting pan and stuff a punctured lemon into the crevasse of the bird.
Wow today is one those brilliant sun ray filled, first purple crocus blossoms of spring kind of days. A worthy day for the most easy and tasty little tostadas on the porch for lunch.
Rolled out the yoga mat, not that I got much of anything done with my little man who likes to chew on the corners. Eek, that’s almost as bad as letting him eat subway bread, right?! Ha. Gross who puts plastic chemicals in bread. Don’t worry I promptly stopped his little fangs from devouring my mat. Then he went straight on to pulling dirt out of the planters, oh children.
These crispy little paleo tostadas can easily be made into a larger paleo tortilla, with a bit more crunch than my other paleo tortilla recipe. Whats nice about this recipe is that it doesn’t use eggs. I don’t know about you but we go through eggs like nobodies business. It was one thing when we had like 40 chickens producing ample amounts but now that we don’t I feel like I took those annoying chickens for granted. Come on though, they would come in our house and we would come home to a rooster on the stove…not cool. Though really it was the dogs fault, he learned how to open the door and then the chickens would come in and clean up (and dirty) the floor. Even still I’m trying to convince J to build a small chicken coop because I miss having fresh free run eggs. I ate a lot of hollandaise when we had those chickens. I’d make a batch with 20 egg yolks every week and good pastured ghee, shazam that was the life.
Anyhow, nowadays the eggs don’t flow in such abundance so I try to limit cakes and coconut flour recipes that call for 10 eggs. Do ya feel me! Paleo is very egg-celent and egg-centric.
Top the tostadas with whatever you have kickin around. We had some leftover grass fed beef so I fried it up with some chipotle, onions and garlic which just hit the spot. Mashed avocado with lemon and garlic is really nice too for a tasty snack. Ah just let your imagination run wild. That’s the beauty of toppable foods like pizza, tortillas, chips, pancakes, people love them because you can get creative. Darn, writing this is making me hungry again…
Those perfect fatty salty sheets notorious for wrapping whatever they touch in pure goodness. A tear through the fridge unveiled a bunch of caramelized onions, some kale, feta cheese and almond flour. Sounds like a pretty luscious filling to me.
But wait, its just not right- there’s a certain smoothness lacking and the consistency just isn’t there.
Tear through the pantries, which are looking quite barren lately. Behold, the humble lentil gleaming orange and begging to be used. Sure lentil, I’ll give you a chance, you might just fit the bill.
Cooked lentils, pureed until smooth and creamy, the perfect binder, a vehicle to backpack big flavours on. Oh humble lentil, maybe your the next up and comer in this crazy world.
Hey I'm Chantelle, my alter ego would be a mermaid if I wasn't such a terrible swimmer. I love writing authentically and cooking in my pyjamas. My favourite pastimes include eating avocados, travelling the world and hanging out with a toddler.