Saturday, March 23, 2013

Paleo Pen Pals - March 2013

It's that time of the month... paleo pen pals recipe report!! (ahem) The premise of the program is that paleoites are assigned a pen pal and they send each other surprise ingredients, then come up with a recipe from the ingredients they receive. My pen pal this month is Kristina, an energetic, sweet southern belle new to the paleo world. Turns out that we both share similar faith values and a love for running. Kristina and I have been emailing each other regularly and we even send each other pictures of our meals! We also share and support each other in the struggles of living paleo in a non-paleo world, which has been really great.

For this month's swap, Kristina sent me a care package of: dried chilis, chinese five-spice, shallots, & garlic. Although the ingredients seemed to go together, I was struggling to come up with an idea that encompassed all of them... so I used my tried-and-true method of throwing random stuff together and was really happy with the result. I love crockpot cooking, especially in winter (yes, it may be March but Chicago was in the 20's with 25mph winds!) so I created Five-Spice Barbacoa in my handy crockpot :) 

Crockpot Five-Spice Barbacoa

2-3 lb beef roast
3-5 dried chilis (depending on how spicy you like it :P)
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp lime juice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 tbsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp s&p
1 yellow onion, chopped
Fire-roasted peppers, chopped (I used red & yellow from a jar)
2 tbsp chinese five-spice
1/4 c chicken broth
2 bay leaves, optional

1. Soak chilis in water for at least 30 minutes (but the longer the better; I did 2 hours). Cut chilis in half; remove some or all seeds if you don't like it spicy. The actual chili pepper itself isn't too hot.
2. In a high-speed blender or food processor, toss in the chilis, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, garlic, shallot, and spices (except five-spice). Whip up until thoroughly combined (it should be a liquid) and chilis have been all broken up.
3. In your crockpot, put the chopped onion & peppers on the bottom. Pour in chicken broth.
4. Sprinkle beef with chinese five-spice on all sides and place on top of onion/peppers.      
5. Pour chili mixture over beef. Add bay leaves if you'd like.
6. Cook on low for 7-8+ hours. Remove bay leaves. Using two forks, shred beef.
7. Serve with salsa, guac (see below for my 2-easy, 2-ingredient guac!), or whatever else your little heart desires.

2-Easy 2-Ingredient Guac

1 ripe avocado
1/2 c fresh salsa (sold in the produce dept)

1. In a medium-small bowl, mash avocado with a fork.
2. Add fresh salsa and mix all that goodness together.
3. Chow down! Phew, that was hard.


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