Pork Fried Rice

Sometimes, the best things come from collaboration.  This recipe is one of those things.

My best friend and I rarely get to hang out and neither of us are “phone” people either so we end up going way too long without talking.  She only lives 45 minutes away but trying to overcome that distance and our schedules sometimes becomes nearly impossible.  So when we do have a day that we can make it work, we banish the kids to play in the other room, grab a cup of hot tea and debrief.

We never even make it to the couch, we just end up hovering over her kitchen island where spend the next 4 hours downloading all of our parenting struggles, crazy stories and random questions like “what have you been making for supper lately?’

This recipe came from one such conversation where we had both been making a fried rice style stir fry and I ended up combining the best of both versions to make something that my family LOVES.  It is an easy “go to” meal that really doesn’t even require a recipe or much thought at all but is a home run every time.

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First, begin by browning your choice of meat.  We typically use diced pork (because pork is something we tend to have a LOT of) but chicken works equally well.  This time were running a little low on pork chops to dice so I grabbed some pork sausage and it was fantastic.  Seriously people, use what you have on hand.  Don’t make an extra trip to the store.  This recipe has so many potential variations from the meat you can use to the vegetables that you choose.  Even your choice of garnishes are optional.  (Although the pistachios are pretty fantastic.)

Season your meat with a little salt and pepper and some granulated garlic, (but go easy on the salt, as you will be adding soy sauce or liquid aminos later.)

While your meat is browning, chop your vegetables, nuts and herbs.

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When the meat is done, remove from the pan and cook your veggies in that same pan (leave out the nuts and herbs.)  When the veggies are finished, add your meat back into the pan with rice and stir well.

*Note: I like to keep some extra, cooked brown rice in the freezer so that this recipe will come together easily. 

Add soy sauce or liquid aminos to taste and garnish each bowl with chopped pistachios and cilantro (or chives.)

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Pork Fried Rice

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 lbs Pork (diced or ground)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4 oz mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cups zucchini, chopped small
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

Brown your meat and season your meat with salt and pepper and granulated garlic, (but go easy on the salt, as you will be adding soy sauce or liquid aminos later.)

While your meat is browning, chop your vegetables, nuts and herbs.

When the meat is done, remove from the pan and cook your veggies in that same pan (leave out the nuts and herbs.)  When the veggies are finished, add your meat back into the pan with rice and Stir well.  Add soy sauce or liquid aminos to taste and garnish each bowl with chopped pistachios and cilantro (or chives.)

*Potential variations:

You can use pork, chicken, I’m sure that even shrimp would be fantastic.

In place of the peppers, mushrooms and zucchini you can use a combination of peas and carrots (or really any other combination of vegetables you like.)

Another fun addition to this dish is 1 egg, scrambled, to be added at the end.

Trust me, this is simple meal that won’t disappoint.  I would love to hear about your variations and how it turned out!

Irish Stew with Colcannon & Whipped Horseradish Cream

Irish Stew_Ad

I love all things Celtic, It’s in my blood and I always love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with my favorite Irish Foods.  But a few years ago, things in life had gotten really crazy and I realized MID-DAY that it was actually St. Patrick’s.  GASP!  How had I let this sneak up on me without notice? 

I was in a panic.  I had NO CORNED BEEF in the freezer.  (And I wasn’t about to load up in the car and drive to town with two small children for 1 item.)  So I hopped on Pinterest for inspiration and realized that there are a LOT of options for delicious Irish fare besides my beloved Corned Beef and Cabbage.  I realized that a traditional Irish Stew is much like my own stew recipe so that would be a piece of cake.  But I needed something more, something celebratory that wasn’t on my typical monthly menu.  And then I discovered….

Colcannon.  A yummy concoction of mashed potatoes, bacon, cabbage and leeks. 

And not JUST Colcannon… but Irish Stew served OVER Colcannon. 

The next year, I decided to add a little extra flare and added whipped horseradish cream. 

Irish Stew OVER Colcannon TOPPED with whipped horseradish cream.

OH. MY. GOODNESS.

Comfort food in it’s most glorious form.

So I am here to share the glory with you today, and it goes something like this…

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The easiest way to start any recipe is “mic en place” (or for us down home cooks, “get yer stuff together”.)  This recipe has many components and the best way to simplify is to get all of your ingredients chopped, sliced and ready to go. 

Slice your leeks, shred your cabbage and chop your bacon, carrots and onions (and stew meat if needed.)

Starting with the stew…

This stew can be cooked on the stove, in a Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker) or in a crock pot. (see cooking times/methods in the recipe below)

Beef would be the most traditional meat choice of course, but you can use venison or elk, here I used bear stew meat.  Whatever you keep on hand is fine.

Start by cooking your onions and garlic directly in your stew pot or pressure cooker.  The only need for an additional pan here would be if you are going to use a crock pot to cook the stew.  In that case I much prefer cast iron for the browning process.

When the onions are cooked, remove from pan and turn you heat to high.  In batches, start browning your stew meat, seasoning with salt and pepper during the browning process.  *Note- Browning the stew meat in smaller batches is important.  You don’t want to over crowd your pan when browning meat.  If you do, the meat will essentially steam rather than getting that nice dark sear that you are looking for.  Give the meat some space and room to breathe.

After your meat is browned, remove the last batch and deglaze the pan with a bottle of Guinness or other dark beer, scraping the bits from the pan as you stir.  Add in your beef stock, tomato paste and all of your meat and vegetables.  You can tie your herbs into a bundle with kitchen twine or if you aren’t fancy like that, just place them on top and kind of “smoosh” them down beneath the level of the broth.

See the recipe below for cooking times & methods.

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Now, let’s talk Colcannon.

Add your bacon to a skillet and fry until crisp.  Remove from pan and add cabbage and leeks to the bacon grease and cook until tender (fresh garlic is a nice addition here too, but I was out today.)

While that is cooking, you’ll need to start some basic mashed potatoes; I won’t be going into that this time but will in a future post.

When your potatoes are mashed and seasoned the way you like, fold in the cabbage, leeks and bacon.  That’s it, Colcannon is done. 

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Now the third (and most epic) feature of this recipe, the whipped horseradish cream.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  Well, maybe it’s not a secret but I didn’t catch on to this until about 2 years ago so it was big news to me.  So here goes… if you want a great punch of flavor from your horseradish you need to add… wait for it…

Sugar.  Sugar makes the flavor of horseradish really pop. 

Anyways… begin whipping your heavy cream in a stand mixer with a pinch of sugar and some freshly cracked pepper.  When the cream is whipped to stiff peaks, fold in your grated horseradish.  (Freshly grated horseradish is light and folds in nicely here, but if you are using horseradish from a jar, I suggest adding the horseradish during the whipping process. 

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So now you have all your components and all you have to do is pile it up!

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Colcannon, Stew, Horseradish Cream.  It’s a beautiful thing.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day, or Tuesday, any day really will be a happy day when this is in your belly. 😉

Irish Stew with Colcannon & Whipped Horseradish Cream


Stew:

  • 2 lbs Stew Meat of choice
  • 1 lg onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 oz fresh or frozen green beans
  • 6 lg carrots, chopped
  • 1 lg bottle (mine was 1 pint 6 oz) Guinness or other dark beer
  • 1 qt Beef Stock
  • 2 Tbl tomato paste
  • 4 sprigs fresh herbs or 2 Tbl dried (I prefer rosemary and thyme for this recipe)

Saute onions and garlic until translucent, remove from pan and brown stew meat in batches (careful to not overcrowd.)  Season meat with salt and pepper while browning.  After meat is browned, deglaze pan with dark beer, scraping up any bits from bottom of the pan.  Add beef stock & tomato paste and adjust salt to taste.

Crock Pot: Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook on low 8 hours.

Instant Pot: For tender meats such as elk or bear – Add all ingredients to pot and pressure for 2.5 minutes. For beef stew meat or chuck – Add meat to broth and pressure for 25 minutes, quick release pressure and add vegetables, pressuring for another 5 minutes.

Stove Top: For tender meats such as elk or bear – Add meat to pan and simmer for 1 hour, add vegetables and simmer for another 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.  For beef stew meat and chuck – Add meat to pan and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, add vegetables and simmer for another 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Colcannon:

  • 8 oz diced bacon
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leeks (green onions will also do in a pinch)
  • 4 medium potatoes, mashed and seasoned to taste
  • Crisp bacon in skillet.  Remove from pan and saute cabbage and leeks until tender.  Fold bacon and vegetables into mashed potatoes.

Whipped Horseradish Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2-4 Tbl grated horseradish (to taste)
  •  pinch sugar
  • freshly cracked pepper

Whip heavy cream in a stand mixer with a pinch of sugar and some freshly cracked pepper.  When the cream is whipped to stiff peaks, fold in your grated horseradish. (Freshly grated horseradish is light and folds in nicely here, but if you are using horseradish from a jar, I suggest adding the horseradish during the whipping process.)

To Serve:

Fill bottom of bowl with Colcannon, ladle stew over the colcannon and top with a dollop of the horseradish cream.

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Bacon Wrapped BBQ Meatloaf

Could that name BE more irresistible?

I think not.

This meatloaf came from my adventures in Redeeming Comfort Food.  Meatloaf is one of those comfort foods that are just down right satisfying.  I think at times it gets a bad rap as though it were something mundane; but if you’ve ever known a really GOOD meatloaf, you’ll know that it’s much more.

Growing up, my mom’s meatloaf was a standard around our house and loved by all.  It was her mom’s recipe and it was fabulous.  But I have long sought after a meatloaf recipe that was “real food” approved that had the same satisfaction power as Mom’s.  Even Mom herself had tried different recipes but alas, none could compare.  It just couldn’t be beat.

However, a change needed to be made because we have discovered that my 5 year old daughter has an allergy to dairy and I have… not quite an allergy… but a negative response (with my thyroid condition) to wheat.  Because of this, our style of eating (with the exception of special occasions–or when the hubby is craving something) is becoming not quite paleo… but largely dairy and wheat free.  Up this point, any attempt at a Paleo style meatloaf had been seriously disappointing in comparison to the old family recipe.  But after much experimentation and many failed attempts…

TA DA!  This recipe is fantastic.

Bacon Wrapped BBQ Meatloaf

Note: I typically double this recipe and put half in the freezer for another day, but for the sake of clarity and form, I will give amounts for a single recipe of this meatloaf.  (This recipe feeds our family of two adults and two young children with  plenty of leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches.)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Finely dice 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, 1 small onion and 1 Tbl of minced garlic.  (The garlic was late to arrive and missed the photo op here.) 

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Saute in a cast iron skillet for 5-7 minutes; to the skillet, add 1 Tbl of dried thyme and 1 tsp of salt, cooking another 30 seconds until fragrant.

Note: if you have fresh thyme, make a well in your vegetable mixture and add your thyme and salt, directly to the pan.  When cooking with dried thyme (powder) I just stir it right in to the veggies.

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Meanwhile, back at the counter top, Mix 1 lb of ground red meat (beef, elk, venison etc.–we use elk in this recipe and it is fantastic) with 1 Tbl of Worchestershire sauce & 1/2 cup ground almonds (almond meal or almond flour is fine.)

When the veggies are done cooking, add them to your ground meat mixture and roll up your sleeves.

Meatloaf MUST be mixed by hand, if you are squeamish… (as my mother would say) “Oh well!” (translation, get over it, you will live.)  🙂

At this point, if I have doubled the batch, I separate my meat mixture in half and put half in a gallon sized zip top bag (with as much air expressed as possible) and press it flat (for easy stacking in the freezer.)

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Form the other half of your meat into a loaf, and put it into your choice of pan.

Criss-cross (lattice style) your bacon strips across the top of your meatloaf, and it’s ready to pop into the oven.

After baking for 45 minutes, remove the meatloaf from the oven.

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Now is the time for the crowning glory (as if bacon alone wasn’t enough.)  Baste with your choice of BBQ sauce.  For this meatloaf recipe I prefer my own Raspberry Chipotle BBQ sauce (something smoky, sweet & slightly fruity.)

Bake for approximately 15 minutes longer and it should look something like this.

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Serve with additional BBQ Sauce on the side if needed.

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Bacon Wrapped BBQ Meatloaf

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Print

  • 1 lb ground beef, elk or venison
  • 1 each, carrot, celery stalk & small onion, finely diced
  • 2 Tbl Oil (for vegetable saute)
  • 2 Tbl minced garlic
  • 1 Tbl fresh Thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbl Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup almond meal

Top with:

  • 6-8 strips of nitrate free bacon
    • Home cured bacon puts this recipe OVER THE TOP!
  • 1/2 cup (or so) BBQ Sauce (if you are going for a healthy version please use homemade or find a brand with NO High Fructose Corn Syrup.)
    • If you cannot, or choose not to use BBQ Sauce in this recipe you can brush the bacon with real maple syrup before baking instead.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Saute diced vegetables in oil for 5-7 minutes, add in thyme and salt and cook for another 30 seconds.  Remove vegetable mixture from heat and cool slightly.  Mix vegetables, Worchestershire sauce and almond meal with ground meat (by hand) until well mixed.

Form meat into a loaf and criss-cross the bacon in a lattice pattern across the top of your meatloaf.

Bake for 45 minutes, remove from oven and baste with BBQ sauce.

Bake an additional 15 minutes.

My family LOVES this recipe and I hope yours does to!

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