Goat Korma with Fragrant Cauliflower

Last fall, my husband went hunting for deer last fall and came home with a goat. Don’t ask. He butchered it, wrapped it, and stuck it in the freezer. I’ve never cooked goat and didn’t quite know what to do with it, so there it has stayed, in the freezer, ’til I finally took out a packaged labeled shoulder roast yesterday to thaw.

So tonight, we ate goat. I riffed on a recipe for lamb shank korma from Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjbi. Happily for my daughter, it involves fried onions, which she recently discovered she LOVES. I was frying sliced onion in a bit of bacon fat a few mornings ago, before adding some chard for our breakfast vegetable saute, when she surprised me utterly by asking if she could have some. Why, sure! She slurped down a small bowlful and asked for more. And she’s asked me to fry onions for her every day since. It’s apparently not the bacon fat, either, as she loved them fried in ghee, too.

I Wanna Live with an Onion Girl...

Anyway, back to the goat. Korma is from the Hindu word for braise and typically refers to a curry made with braised meat in a sauce of stock, yogurt or cream. Korma often includes ground seeds or nuts or coconut milk. To braise is to first brown food (usually meat, but also vegetables) in dry heat, then finish cooking in low, moist heat, on the stove, in the oven, or in a slow cooker. It is an essential technique for cooking tough cuts of meat, such as the shoulder roast in this dish. The browning enhances the flavor of the final dish, while the long simmer gently melts the connective tissues in the meat, making it fork tender.

Goat Korma
Serves 4-6

3-4 tablespoons ghee
2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup crispy almonds or cashews
2 pounds goat shoulder roast, cubed (lamb or beef would be fine, too)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam marsala powder
1/2 teaspoon mace powder
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups beef broth (or goat broth if you have it)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup yogurt

Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, turn the heat down to medium, and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are medium brown. I find I need to turn down the heat slightly during the process. It pays to be patient here and really let the onions brown, but not burn. Add the nuts and continue frying until the onions are deep brown.

Browning onions with cashews

Remove onions and almonds from the pan and set aside to cool. Using an immersion blender, food processor or other blender, purée the onions and nuts.

Turn the heat back up to medium-high and melt another tablespoon or two of ghee. When the pan is hot again, add the cubed goat meat. Do not crowd the meat in the pan as that will steam rather than brown it. Brown the meat in batches instead. Leave the meat undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, so that it gets a good sear.

Notice the nice sear on the pieces that I've already turned.

When it releases easily from the pan, it is ready to turn.

From left, spices, grated ginger, grated garlic, bay leaves

Brown on two sides, then add the coriander, garam marsala, mace, cardamom, and cayenne to the meat and warm for a minute or two, until they’re quite fragrant. Add the broth and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the bay, ginger, garlic, salt, and onion-nut mixture. Add the yogurt and stir until it is fully incorporated into the sauce. Bring to a very gentle simmer–the yogurt may curdle if the sauce boils–and cook until the meat is tender, about two hours. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and Fragrant Cauliflower (recipe below).

Goat Korma with Fragrant Cauliflower

Fragrant Cauliflower is a riff on another recipe from Great Curries of India, Fragrant Rice, which is how I typically prepared rice to go with curries. I like to mash the cauliflower until it is just broken up into smaller, rice-like bits.

Fragrant Cauliflower
Serves 4-6

1 head cauliflower
3-4 threads saffron
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of cardamom powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons yogurt

Steam cauliflower until it is soft. Gently mash and add saffron, cloves, cardamom powder, salt and yogurt, stir.

Shared at:
Real Food Weekly

Three Ways to Preserve Salmon Naturally

I just posted about three GAPS-legal ways to preserve salmon over on my Lost Arts Kitchen blog.

Week Two

Day 8 After going a bit off protocol over the weekend, we returned to it Monday. Carrot juice does seem to have helped. The duck was fantastic.

  • Before breakfast: Carrot juice, about half a cup
  • Breakfast: Liver paté, fried with onions in ghee, two eggs fried in ghee, kimchi, beef broth with ghee
  • Lunch: Leftover gingered carrot and shrimp soup with kraut and kimchi
  • Dinner: Roast duck, bok choy, onions, ginger and garlic sauteed in duck fat, kimchi

Day 9 Crazy day.

  • Before breakfast: Carrot-celery-kale-apple juice
  • Breakfast: Beef broth, two eggs fried and bok choy fried in duck fat, liver pate, kimchi
  • Lunch: Pork with fennel and apple, sauerkraut, creme fraiche
  • Dinner: Ground beef with taco seasoning, lettuce, cheddar cheese (we were at a friends)

Day 10 ‘Nother busy day. We sliced and packaged many pounds of bacon, finished beef broth and duck broth, and pork fat…and cleaned the kitchen.

  • Before breakfast: Carrot-turnip-kale-celery-apple juice
  • Breakfast: Beef broth, bacon, two eggs and bok choy fried in bacon fat, liver pate
  • Lunch: Skipped
  • Dinner: Pork with Fennel and Apples, sauerkraut, creme fraiche, applesauce

Day 11 Today, the dryer stopped working, the DVD player stopped working, and Annabel had her debut stage performance. Food took a bit of a back seat. Thank the gods our most important “D” appliance, the dishwasher, didn’t stop working.

  • Before Breakfast: Carrot-fennel-kale-apple juice with CLO/omegas
  • Breakfast: Duck broth with ghee, bacon, bok choy and two eggs fried in bacon fat, liver pate, kimchi.
  • Lunch: Egg drop duck soup with bok choy, green onions, kimchi
  • Dinner: Pork and apple with sauerkraut

Day 12 Quite a day. Baked GF birthday cake in morning. Mike fixed the dryer and took the DVD in for repair while I went to a paleo potluck at my friend Durga’s house. SO fun, delicious, and rejuvenating. Home, frost cake and go to 4-year-old’s birthday party for the afternoon and then come home to make for dinner for family and two children who are sleeping over! I crashed on the couch at 9pm, but was not completely worn out by what for me “normally” would have been a completely exhausting day.

  • Before Breakfast: Carrot-fennel-kale-apple juice with CLO/omegas
  • Breakfast: Duck broth with ghee, bacon, bok choy and two eggs fried in bacon fat, liver pate, kimchi.
  • Lunch: OMG. Kale chips; nori with raw butter; roasted asparagus; two kinds of beef liver pate; seaweed salad; dulce chips; sauerkraut; beef heart and kidney stew; raw cacoa and coconut cups
  • Afternoon birthday party: crudite with herbed butter, thin slice of GF cake that I baked…didn’t like it much
  • Dinner: taco salads with ground beef cooked with onions, cumin, ground chipotle, tomato paste, cabbage with cumin, coriander, lime juice, olive and sesame seed oil

Day 13 Clean up day.

  • Breakfast: Almond flour pancakes with cinnamon and ghee, bacon, two scrambled eggs with home smoked salmon and home cultured cream cheese, coffee with honey and cream
  • Skipped lunch
  • Dinner: Taco salads!

Week One

I’ve decided to discontinue the daily meal updates and post a weekly record instead.

Day 1 Mike and I started intro yesterday. Here’s what I ate.

  • Breakfast: Liverwurst and chicken broth with pickle juice (from homemade LF pickles)
  • Mid-Morning Snack: Mug of broth with pickle juice. Realize that it tastes really good.
  • Lunch: Celeriac-Apple Soup with Pork Patties (cooked for a while, til the meat was softened)
  • Afternoon Snack: Same as lunch.
  • Dinner: Same as lunch, plus I added a leftover beef patty and some duck prosciutto to the soup. I made a batch of applesauce and we all enjoyed that immensely.
  • Before bed, I had a cup of chamomile tea.

Day 2 Today I ate

  • Breakfast: Liverwurst and a mug of chicken broth with pickle juice and egg yolk.
  • Mid-morning snack: Cup of garlic and ginger infused duck broth with egg yolk and kimchi juice.
  • Lunch: Pork Loin and Bok Choy in Duck Broth.
  • Dinner: Same as lunch, plus a bit of applesauce with cinnamon.

Day 3 I ate:

  • Breakfast: Chicken broth with pickle juice, liverwurst
  • Lunch: Not very good chicken soup (too much onions and garlic)
  • Afternoon snack: Banana-hazelnut butter pancakes
  • Dinner: Curried buttercup squash soup with chicken

Day 4 I’m starting at the screen, drawing a complete blank on what I ate yesterday. Oh right, now it’s coming to me.

  • Breakfast: Liverwurst, 1 egg fried in ghee, a couple small almond flour & yogurt pancakes, beef broth with kimchi juice
  • Lunch: Leftover duck soup
  • Dinner: Onion soup with sirloin and yogurt, applesauce

Day 5 I ate

  • Breakfast: Liverwurst, one fried egg, pork patty, pickle, chicken broth
  • Lunch: Leftover onion soup with more beef broth and kraut
  • Dinner: Gingered Carrot Soup with Shrimp and Kimchi, applesauce

Day 6 Yesterday I taught my Dairy Magic class and had a bit of a “cheat” day. I couldn’t be rude and not enjoy all the yummy homemade cream cheese and mozzarella or let the leftovers go to waste, right? I also made a batch of carrot muffins, for my students to have with cream cheese and had some of those. Plus, I had a mug of coffee. Back on the protocol today. At this point, we’re in Intro, Stage 3 and sliding into Stage 4, ready for juices, fried eggs. If things keep apace, I expect we’ll be on Full GAPS within week or so.

  • Breakfast: Liverwurst, egg, baby bok choy sauteed in duck fat, half a lactofermented pickle.
  • Lunch: Carrot and shrimp soup with kimchi, mug of coffee with honey and cream
  • Snack during class: Two carrot cake mini-muffins with homemade cream cheese
  • Dinner: Spaghetti squash with Bolognese sauce and leftover homemade mozzarella

Day 7 Sunday was a quiet day here. We enjoyed a big family breakfast, then in the afternoon, my husband took the kids to a friend’s house for the rest of the day. I puttered around, preparing two kinds of liverwurst, brining a duck to roast Monday, cleaning up around the house, and enjoying the solitude.

  • Breakfast: Almond flour pancakes, eggs fried in ghee, pork sausage, carrot juice
  • Lunch: Skipped, not hungry
  • Snack: Carrot muffins with cream cheese, beef liver paté
  • Dinner: Skipped, not hungry

Days 11 and 12

Day 11 Today, the dryer stopped working, the DVD player stopped working, and Annabel had her debut stage performance. Food took a bit of a back seat. Thank the gods the dishwasher didn’t stop working.

  • Before Breakfast: Carrot-fennel-kale-apple juice with CLO/omegas
  • Breakfast: Duck broth with ghee, bacon, bok choy and two eggs fried in bacon fat, liver pate, kimchi.
  • Lunch: Egg drop duck soup with bok choy, green onions, kimchi
  • Dinner: Pork and apple with sauerkraut

Day 12 Quite a day. Baked GF birthday cake in morning. Mike fixed the dryer and took the DVD in for repair while I went to a paleo potluck at my friend Durga’s house. SO fun, delicious, and rejuvenating. Home, frost cake and go to 4-year-old’s birthday party for the afternoon and then come home to make for dinner for family and two children who are sleeping over! I crashed on the couch at 9pm, but was not completely worn out by what for me “normally” would have been a completely exhausting day.

  • Before Breakfast: Carrot-fennel-kale-apple juice with CLO/omegas
  • Breakfast: Duck broth with ghee, bacon, bok choy and two eggs fried in bacon fat, liver pate, kimchi.
  • Lunch: OMG. Kale chips; nori with raw butter; roasted asparagus; two kinds of beef liver pate; seaweed salad; dulce chips; sauerkraut; beef heart and kidney stew; raw cacoa and coconut cups.
  • Afternoon birthday party: crudite with herbed butter, thin GF cake that I baked
  • Dinner: taco salads with ground beef cooked with onions, cumin, ground chipotle, tomato paste, cabbage with lime juice and sesame seed oil

Rendering Fats at Home Primer, Lesson One

Tower of Fats

Despite the bad rap from conventional medicine and most nutritionists, fats from animals raised on pasture are of great benefit to human health.

Saturated fats play many important biologic roles. They are an integral component of cell membranes, which are 50 percent saturated fat. Lung surfactant is composed entirely, when available, of one particular saturated fat, 16-carbon palmitic acid. Properly made with this fat, it prevents asthma and other breathing disorders. For nourishment, heart muscle cells prefer saturated long-chain palmitic and 18-carbon stearic acid over carbohydrates. Saturated fats are required for bone to assimilate calcium effectively. They help the liver clear out fat and provide protection from the adverse effects of alcohol and medications like acetaminophen. Medium-chain saturated fats in butter and coconut oil, 12-carbon lauric acid and 14-carbon myristic acid, play an important role in the immune system. They stabilize proteins that enable white blood cells to more effectively recognize and destroy invading viruses, bacteria, and fungi, and also fight tumors. Saturated fatty acids function as signaling messengers for hormone production, including insulin. And saturated fats signal satiety. Not surprisingly, given all these biological functions, saturated fats make up 54 percent of the fat in mother’s breast milk (monounsaturated fats are 39 percent; and polyunsaturated fats, a tiny 3 percent). (Health Benefits of a Low-Carbohydrate, High-Saturated Fat Diet, by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD).

And he didn’t even mention all the fat soluble vitamins!

While you may already know about the benefits of animal fats in the diet, rendering is not a skill most of us learned from our mothers, is it? The basics of rendering lard (pork fat), tallow (beef fat), schmaltz (chicken fat), ghee (butter fat), sheep fat, duck fat and goose fat are all the same, but you can use a variety of techniques to achieve the same result. In the coming weeks, I’ll post of series of rendering how-tos and show you different methods that you can use in your kitchen. In this series, I’ll cover rendering fats from fowl, cleaning drippings and broth skimmings, and making ghee. In today’s post, I’ll show you how to render lard, but the method is the same for fats from beef, bison, and lamb as well.

Lard, Tallow, Bison, and Lamb Fat

Fat from the carcass of an animal contains more than just fat. There may be blood, connective tissue, skin, or meat with the fat as well as some of water. These other substances can cause fat to go rancid, lower a fat’s smoke point, or cause it to sputter when heated. The goal of rendering fat is to purify it, removing the non-fat so that it will keep for a long time and be useful for higher temperature cooking.

In a nutshell, rendering requires three different phase changes: the fat liquifies, the proteins solidify, and the water evaporates. Once the water turns to vapor, the proteins and other solids are removed using a filter and all that remains is pure fat.

About five pounds of leaf lard

The cleanest fat for rendering comes from around the organs of an animal, this is known as leaf lard or suet when it comes from a pig or a cow, respectively. As you can see from the picture above, the unrendered leaf lard has no meat or skin. You can render fats from trimmings or the fat back, but remove as much of the meat as you can before you start (leave the skin on if you want fried rinds). Cut the fat into cubes.

Cubed lard

Add a bit of water, about 2-4 tablespoons per pound of fat, to prevent the fat from burning to the bottom of the cooking vessel. Cook in a slow cooker, oven set to 250F, or on the stove over a medium-low heat in a heavy-bottomed pan. Stir occasionally, scraping any bits that are stuck to the bottom or sides of your pan. Slow and low is the key, which is why I prefer using my slow cooker. Its gentle heat is perfect for rendering these fats. Try to keep the fat at around 220F to 250F (use a candy thermometer), hot enough to boil off any water, but not so hot that the proteins will burn.

Fat is melted, all that remains are the cracklins.

Cook until the fat is melted, all sputtering has stopped (which means all the water has evaporated), and all that remains are solid pieces of well fried skin or cracklings. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit before filtering. You can eat the cracklins yourself, feed them to your chickens, or mix them with peanut butter and birdseed as a treat for birds and other backyard wildlife.

My filtering set up: canning funnel set on jar, with a sieve that fits in the funnel.

I store my fats in wide-mouth pint and half-pint canning jars, which are suitable for freezing. I save a step by filtering directly into jars by setting a cloth-lined sieve in a canning funnel. The sieve stays in place on its own, freeing both my hands.

Filtering melted lard.

Don’t pour fat directly from heat into a jar! Fat can get quite hot and thermal shock can break jars, so always allow the fat to cool for a few minutes before jarring it up. Top the jar with a canning lid and ring while the fat is still hot and it should create a vacuum seal.

Expect to get almost one pint of rendered fat from every pound of clean, unrendered organ fats. Yields may be lower with trimmings and fat back.

Liquid Gold

While still hot and liquid, fats will appear golden, but as they cool they’ll turn creamy white, as shown in the photo at the top of this post. Properly rendered lard will keep in the fridge for months, in the freezer for years. I know that rendered fats will keep for some time on the counter, but usually keep unopened jars in my freezer, opened jars in the fridge, and just what I’ll use up that week on the stove.

The rendered fats of pork, beef, bison and lamb are solid at room temperature due to their percentage of saturated fats. Beef tallow and bison fat can be brittle at fridge temperature, while lard tends to remain soft, like shortening (which was marketed as a replacement for lard in the early 20th century). Lamb fat is softer than beef fat, but harder than lard at room temp. Lard is preferred for pastry dough, while tallow is wonderful for high-temperature frying–potatoes are especially good fried in tallow. Thanks to its naturally moisturizing lanolin, sheep tallow is particularly good for making soap, but you can use any fat.

There you have it! Start your rendering!

Day 10

‘Nother busy day. We sliced and packaged many pounds of bacon, finished beef broth and duck broth, and pork fat…and cleaned the kitchen.

  • Before breakfast: Carrot-turnip-kale-celery-apple juice
  • Breakfast: Beef broth, bacon, two eggs and bok choy fried in bacon fat, liver pate
  • Lunch: Skipped
  • Dinner: Pork with Fennel and Apples, sauerkraut, creme fraiche, applesauce

While we’re doing fine with the dietary aspect of the protocol, I’m still challenged to remember to take my supplements. I should be taking vitamin D/cod liver oil and omega-3 fatty acids with breakfast and HCl with all meals, but I just forget. My goal for the coming week is to get into a routine with taking at least the first two. I can remember to take my thyroid hormone and probiotic because I take them first thing in the morning, but once everyone else is up, the distractions of making breakfast, mediating disputes, getting people ready to get out for the day tends to make me forgetful. I have been making my juice an hour or so after I get up and may try adding my liquid supplements to my juice and at the same time, setting up everyone else’s in water or juice. Remembering the HCl at every meal is going to require some other tact. Ideas? How do you remember to take your supplements?

Day 9

Crazy day.

  • Before breakfast: Carrot-celery-kale-apple juice
  • Breakfast: Beef broth, two eggs fried and bok choy fried in duck fat, liver pate, kimchi
  • Lunch: Pork with fennel and apple, sauerkraut, creme fraiche
  • Dinner: Ground beef with taco seasoning, lettuce, cheddar cheese (we were at a friends)

That’s all.

Slow Cooked Pork with Apples & Fennel

Uh, trying to use a pressure cooker for the very first time ever–a used one, without instructions–an hour before dinner? That’s kinda boneheaded. Ask me how I know.

Plan B: Take everything out of the pressure cooker, which is exuding steam where it ought not to be and is not doing that little jiggle thing that pressure cookers are supposed to do, put it all in the slow cooker, and call out for pizza. Er…

So…we had breakfast for dinner last night. Thank goodness for all those pork sausage patties I cooked last week.

This became my lunch instead.

Slow Cooked Pork with Apples & Fennel
Serves 6-8

lard
1 3-4 pound pork should roast, cut into 2″ cubes
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and eighth’ed
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon fennel seed, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
kraut
creme fraiche

Melt fat in a heavy bottomed saute pan over medium-high heat. Brown pork and place in bowl of slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients. (You could brown the onion and fennel first, too, if you have time.) Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Serve with kraut and dollops of creme fraiche.

Day 9

I realized, finally, that I’m feeling overwhelmed because not only am I a week into GAPS, but also preparing a load of ferments, bacon, smoke salmon and gravlax for members of our buying club and working on blog posts about rendering fat and making broth that are requiring lots of food prep, plus I want to take pictures when there’s good light in the kitchen, which is slowing down both of those processes. Here’s what we’ve prepared this week:

  • 1 gallon of sauerkraut
  • 1/2 gallon of kimchi
  • 1 gallon of preserved lemons
  • 16 quart stock pot on stove with beef broth
  • 5 or so pints of lard, half of it still in the slow cooker, waiting to be jarred when the light is right
  • 8 quart stock pot of with duck broth, waiting to be jarred up when I can the beef broth tomorrow
  • 70 pound of pork bellies (Mike’s smoking these today)
  • 5 pounds of salmon (Mike’s *supposed* to be smoking these today, but he forgot to take them with him to our smoking partner’s house!)

The good news is, once we get all the bacon and ferments out of here and I finish up these blog posts, cooking just for my family will be a breeze!

This morning, amused with myself as I made our morning juice and really enjoying the process because I never thought I’d be one of those people, you know, someone who juices everyday, I realized that 1) I also never thought I’d be one of those people with two deep freezes and I never even imagined that I’d be someone who renders her own lard or makes her own kimchi and 2) I’m really glad that I have the energy to do things like make juice and cleaner the juicer everyday, that I am able to take better care of myself than I could a year ago. I was beating myself up a bit, for not starting GAPS sooner, for not going gluten-free sooner. I know so many people doing this diet, but they and their kids all seemed sicker than me and my kids. I didn’t fully understand the protocol or how it healed the body. The truth is, I was in denial about the state of my health, in part because I’d been sick for so long that I had kinda grown used to it–dis-ease had become normal, something I was supposed to just muscle my way through somehow. Even once I did quit gluten and experience some improvements, I still didn’t understand how damaged I was inside. I’m really glad that Mike suggested we do this together–I couldn’t do it on my own.

Anyway, here’s what I ate yesterday:

  • Before breakfast: Carrot juice, about a cup
  • Breakfast: Spoonful of liverwurst, bok choy sauteed in duck fat, two eggs fried in duck fat, duck broth with ghee
  • Lunch: Almost-Instant Vegetable Beef Soup
  • Dinner: Same as lunch
  • Snack: XXX-rated chocolate-coconut butter/oil-honey concoction I will write about later

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Chris Musser © 2011