Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tender Flavorful Beef Carnitas - Clean Eating, Paleo, Gluten Free

Shredded Beef Carnitas served over top a fresh Mexican salad.

These Beef Carnitas are very tender and mildly sweet and spicy. If you use raw or fresh (not cooked or pasteurized) pineapple juice, it will tenderize your meat further by the bromelain content that pineapples contain. This recipe is very similar to my Pork Carnitas, I just added a bit more garlic to the beef version. See my Pork Carnitas recipe on my other blog called BeauteandtheFeast.blogspot.com.

You can make these carnitas in advance but it is super easy to make 4 hours before you plan on eating dinner. You will have a lot of leftover meat, unless you are feeding quite a large family. The left over meat is perfect for filling chimichangas, burritos or tacos, or use in a Mexican-style casserole, or as a Mexican salad topper, ... Yum.

What I love about meats that have been simmered in well-flavored broths or sauces, is that it usually keeps the meat from tasting oxidized when the meat is reheated as leftovers. Oxidation is prevented by the use of herbs and spices. Adequate salt in the cooking liquid helps all the flavors to permeate the meat, bringing the flavor throughout nicely. Reheating the meat on the stove instead of in the microwave keeps the leftover meat tasting fresh.

I am one of the unusual (weird?) people who can taste that oxidized off-flavor in meat. Rarely have I ever met people who can taste that like I can. It's been really annoying actually, because I can't stand leftover roast beef, chicken (strangely, Costco's rotisserie chicken, boned and packaged air-tight has tasted great), turkey (bleh, although brining it with herbs has helped), pork, let alone game meat. Microwaved meat is the worst! I see other people enjoying their leftover reheated whatever, and I can't eat it with out feeling sick, and I have to pick the meat out. It makes it hard for me to get the protein I want. I can usually eat meat if its freshly prepared with out a problem, unless it's old, improperly stored meat. Believe it or not, I do not like being a vegetarian. I will eat that way a lot, but I listen to my body in it's requests for good meat. It took me until I was in my late 30's to even figure out what that yucky "taste" was. I was doing research on professional food manufacturing and how a company was attempting to deal with the off-flavors of oxidized meat, extending it's shelf life. I found out I wasn't crazy after all....I'm just a "Super Taster." I should have a Super Hero cape made for that.

On to the recipe...

Beef Carnitas Recipe:

2 t. chili powder (gluten-free)
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. BioSalt or sea salt
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder (or granulated garlic)
1/2 t. fresh ground black pepper
3 to 4 pound beef roast, fresh or thawed
1 to 2 T. deodorized coconut oil
24 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice (can use 6 oz frozen concentrate plus 18 oz water)


Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.

Mix the spices and salt together. Rub onto the entire surface of the meat.

Heat a large dutch oven (with a tight-fitting lid) on medium-high, add the coconut oil and sear the roast on all sides until brown, about 2 minutes per side.

Pour the pineapple juice over the roast, cover and place in the preheated oven for about 4 hours, or until the meat is fall-apart tender.

Shred the meat in the pot with 2 forks, stir into the juice and cover to keep warm.

Use in your favorite Mexican-style recipes.

Photos of the process:

Rub all sides of the roast with spice mixture.

Brown all sides of the seasoned roast in deodorized coconut oil in a dutch oven

Pour the pineapple juice over top and place on the lid.

Bake tightly covered at least 4 hours, until fall-apart tender.

Shred the Meat once it is fall-apart tender

Stir the shredded meat into the juice.

Serve hot with your favorite Mexican meal (this salad is dairy-free and grain-free).



Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Copy Cat Kneader's Autumn Bisque Soup

Thick, rich, slightly sweet, and perfectly spiced = Decadent - that's what this soup is...

This soup reminds me of pumpkin pie. Pie you can drink! Actually, it's not nearly as sweet as pumpkin pie, but I do think it is richer. A good friend of mine loves this soup from Kneader's Cafe in Utah. Because it is so rich, she orders in in a small 1/2-cup size and enjoys a salad with it. That's all you need, trust me! She, knowing I love to cook, has commented a few times about this delicious soup. I told her I wanted to taste it because I thought I could duplicate the recipe if I did. On our next visit, she brought me some. So I made my own version of this soup, tasting and comparing it with Kneader's soup as I went.

I am very please with the outcome. I used plain canned pumpkin instead of butternut squash, because it is super convenient. Either kind of squash works, just make sure it is a smooth puree. The sweetness level is identical. The spices are right on. The texture is also a match. You can use half organic milk and half heavy cream if you want to lighten the soup up a touch. If you want to lower the carbs, use 1/2 c. cream and 1/2 c. water instead.

I have not tried it yet, but I think rich coconut milk would work great in this recipe, for a dairy-free option. Coconut oil instead of butter could be used as well, but butter tastes better!

This is an autumn and winter soup, good enough to serve company. The fact that it is so easy to make is a bonus. I hope you like it!

Copy Cat Kneader's Autumn Bisque Soup Recipe:

1 T. Flour (or gluten-free flour)
2 T. butter
3 T. coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar) (use Golden Lakanto or brown 'Just Like Sugar' for a sugar-free version)
3/4 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 c. butternut squash puree (or plain canned pumpkin)
1 1/2 c. purified water
1/16 t. onion powder
1/2 t. organic chicken base
1/2 t. sea salt
1 c. cream


In a medium sized soup pot melt the butter over medium heat until it sizzles. Add the flour and make a roux, letting the butter brown for flavor.

Add the coconut palm sugar and let it caramelize a little for rich caramel flavor notes. Do not burn.

Add the pumpkin pie spice and let it sizzle a few seconds to bloom the spice blend's flavor.

Add some of the water (carefully) and stir in until all the palm sugar is dissolved.

Add the butternut squash or pumpkin puree and the rest of the water, stirring to blend.

Add the onion powder and chicken base and then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer.

Add the cream and let it simmer about 5 minutes, Do not let it boil.

Check for consistency before serving. Add more water if it is too thick. It should not be thin and running off the spoon, but it shouldn't be falling off the spoon in blobs either.

Serve hot in 1/3rd to 1/2 cup portions.

Garnish with butter toasted pecans that have been dusted with a mixture of cinnamon and coconut palm fruit sugar (replacing regular white sugar)

This is a very rich, decadent soup!


For the pecans I would chop them, saute then in just a bit of butter or coconut oil, then dust with cinnamon sugar. You can mix 'Just Like Sugar' (natural sugar substitute) with cinnamon for a sugar-free version. You may use organic coconut palm sugar for a healthier sugar (not sugar-free).

For the croutons I would use gluten-free bread cubes tossed with a bit of melted coconut oil and then toasted until crisp in the oven. While they are still hot, sprinklecroutons with your desired cinnamon sugar mixture and let cool.

This is what Kneader's Autumn Bisque Soup looks like. They top it with cinnamon pecans and a cinnamon sugar crouton.

The pecans seem like they are lightly sauteed in butter then sprinkled with a tiny bit of cinnamon sugar.

Kneader's soup in the plastic cup compared to my version on the plate. They look very similar.

My finished copy cat version.

Cinnamon toast would be nice on the side, or make your own sugar-free cinnamon sugar GF croutons.