Venison Curry

Sunday night, I sent out a plea on Facebook.

“I don’t know what to post tomorrow – Venison Curry or Bang-Bang Shrimp. Help!”

The response was overwhelmingly in favor of the shrimp, which is why I posted it yesterday.  However, about 1/3 of the commenters wanted the curry, and I’m more than happy to oblige today.

Because this was really, really delicious.  The three of us devoured it, leaving very little in the way of leftovers.  Kind of disappointing, actually.

This is a take on a Massaman curry, a Thai dish with Muslim origins.  It’s most often made with beef, but versions made with lamb, chicken, duck and tofu are not uncommon.  I made mine with pressure-cooked deer shanks, after reading a recipe using venison on Hank Shaw’s blog.

Thanks to the wonder that is the pressure cooker, this came together in just a little over an hour and it’s really pretty simple:  pressure cook the venison shanks (oxtail might be a good choice, too) while preparing the vegetables, then shred the meat from the shanks and add them to the curry.  Boom – done.

We might want to note that due to the additions of the peas, which I just loved, this is not paleo.  You can certainly leave them out if you wish, but I’ve been craving spring peas lately (actually, I’ve been craving spring anything lately) and I really don’t think a few once in a blue moon are going to throw my health into some sort of downward spiral.  They certainly don’t have an immediate affect on my well-being the way gluten, MSG or aspartame do.

In fact, if you leave out the peas and switch out the fingerlings for sweet potatoes, this will not only be paleo, but Whole30 compliant.

Note:  I used a canned curry paste that, aside from a tiny amount of added sugar, is pretty clean.  If you want to make your own, Hank’s recipe contains the ingredients and instructions for what looks like a really dynamite homemade curry paste that contains no added sugar or soy.

Edited to add: Apparently peas, despite being a legume, get the “paleo pass” along with white potatoes and white rice.  This makes me…quite happy, actually.

Venison Curry - a sumptuous Thai-style curry that's rich in flavor and simple to make.

Venison Curry
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs venison shanks
  • 2 tablespoons lard or other fat suitable for frying
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 quart beef stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon lard or ghee
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut in half
  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 ounces)
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 tablespoons yellow curry paste, or to taste
  • 1 cup frozen spring peas, thawed
Instructions
  1. Melt the 2 tablespoons of lard over high heat in the pressure cooker. Sprinkle the shanks liberally with salt and pepper, then brown in the fat. Add the beef stock to the browned venison.
  2. Lock the lid of the pressure cooker in place and increase the heat to high until the cooker reaches full pressure (15 psi). Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 55 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the pressure to decrease naturally.
  3. While the shanks are cooking, heat the tablespoon of lard or ghee in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and cook the onions, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, coconut milk, fish sauce, cinnamon and chicken stock; stir in the curry paste. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Once the venison shanks are done, carefully remove them from the pressure cooker and shred the meat from the bones with a fork. Stir the venison and thawed peas into the potato mixture and simmer for an additional 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 455 calories, 24.7g total fat, 27.7mg cholesterol, 1452.5mg sodium, 894.6mg potassium, 26.6g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 5.7g sugar, 33.7g protein

Yellow Curry Meatballs and Kale

Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.

Wow.

The response to yesterday’s post has me…wowed.  🙂  I will respond to each and every comment a bit later today, but let me just say thank you.  So very much.  If nothing else, it is encouraging that I’m not alone in my experiences and frustration.  One commenter suggested some sort of repository of knowledge here, and I’m inclined to agree; again, I’ll respond to all of the comments here in a bit, but if I were to do such a thing, what form should it take?  A bulletin board?  A wiki?  Merely a better-organized blog?

I appreciate any and all suggestions.

But for today, I have another Whole30 recipe (see?  I told you they weren’t going to go away).

I think I’ve spoken a time or three about my love of Asian cuisine, particularly Thai.  If I were going to just leap off the wagon, it would be face first into a huge plate of pad kee mao, followed by sticky rice with mangoes.  Unfortunately (or maybe not), there aren’t any good Thai restaurants anywhere near us and while I could make it myself, bringing rice noodles into our house is rather dangerous for me, so I simply don’t do it.

Thai curries, however, are a completely different story.  They don’t really require rice, something else I try not to bring into the house, are low in sugar and huge in the flavor department, as well as being replete with healthy fat from the coconut milk.  (Note:  If I never ate pizza or ice cream again I wouldn’t care; rice and rice noodles are huge binge foods for me, so I try to stay away from them.  I know – I’m weird.)

While most curry recipes call for small amounts of sugar, it really won’t hurt the dish to leave it out, and without the sugar and rice, Thai curries are pretty Whole30 compliant, if you’re careful about the curry paste and chicken stock.  I buy my curry pastes at a tiny little Asian market here in Podunk – they contain nothing but chilies and spices, and I haven’t used a commercial stock, chicken or beef, in years.

This recipe combines yellow curry with ground pork and Thai basil we’re growing in our herb garden this year, as well as kale from our CSA share.  Served as a soup, it is delicious, nutritious and filling.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but this ranks high on the “comfort food” scale with me.

Note:  You can use any type of curry paste you like – yellow, red or green; yellow is just what I had on hand.  If you don’t eat pork, ground turkey would work well too.

Yellow Curry Meatballs and Kale
Yellow Curry Meatballs and Kale
Yellow Curry Meatballs and Kale
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • Meatballs
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon lard or ghee
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Thai basil, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, freshly grated
  • Curry
  • 1 tablespoon lard or ghee
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry paste, or to taste
  • 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 can (15 oz) coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 6 cups kale, stems removed and chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt the lard or butter in a small, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onion, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Using your hands, gently mix the ground pork, onion/garlic mixture, salt, pepper, Thai basil, and ginger in a large bowl until well-blended. Form into 2-ounce meatballs and place on a shallow, foil-lined baking dish; bake the meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes, or just until cooked through. Place the meatballs on a paper towel-lined plate and
  4. set aside.
  5. Melt the lard in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat and cook the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and yellow curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Whisk in the chicken stock and coconut milk until well-blended, then stir in the fish sauce.
  6. Add the kale and meatballs to the sauce in the skillet, increase the heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 15 or 20 minutes, or until the kale is tender.
  7. Nutrition (per serving): 499 calories, 40.4g total fat, 86.5mg cholesterol, 1006.6mg sodium, 790.2mg potassium, 11.4g carbohydrates, 1.6g fiber, 2.1g sugar, 24.1g protein

 

Thai-Style Pork and Goat Meatballs

Oh, look – what my friend Irish Gumbo refers to as “Gork Balls” have made a reappearance.

We are really, really enjoying Pete the Goat.  In fact, the only bad thing I can say about it is there isn’t enough of him, so I’m not cooking it as often as we’d like.  And there is more ground Pete than any other cut, which is why you’re getting another meatball recipe.

I was kind of at a loss when I made this dish – I wanted to keep it Whole30 compliant, wanted to make something that wouldn’t take half the night, and didn’t want to make something that was just the same-old, same-old…although it occurred to me later that considering the number of curry dishes I’ve posted here, it sort of is the same-old, same-old.

Ah, well – we really like Thai food, especially Thai curries, in our house and this was a big hit; Beloved especially nommed it with much enthusiasm.  Despite the number of servings the recipe says – 6 – there were NO leftovers, and I heard complaints that I did not make enough.

I’d say that’s a big Thumbs Up.

Thai-Style Pork and Goat Meatballs
Thai-Style Pork and Goat Meatballs
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Meatballs
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground goat
  • 1 tablespoon lard or butter
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lard or butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste, or to taste
  • 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 can (15 oz) coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt the lard or butter in a small, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onion, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Using your hands, gently mix the ground pork, ground goat, onion/garlic mixture, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, ginger and sesame oil in a large bowl until well-blended. Form into 2-ounce meatballs and place on a shallow, foil-lined baking dish; bake the meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes, or just until cooked through. Place the meatballs on a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
  4. Melt the lard in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat and cook the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Whisk in the chicken stock and coconut milk until well-blended, then stir in the fish sauce.
  5. Add the meatballs to the sauce in the skillet, increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Serve over steamed jasmine rice or steamed, riced cauliflower, if desired.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 520 calories, 39.9g total fat, 104mg cholesterol, 1332.9mg sodium, 820.8mg potassium, 8.2g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 2.6g sugar, 32.8g protein.
Notes

If you can’t find ground goat, use 2 pounds ground pork. If you don’t eat pork, ground turkey will work well, or just use ground beef, although ground venison might be interesting, too.

 

Thai Beef Curry

Don’t forget to enter to win Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals cookbook!  Giveaway ends Saturday, April 2 at midnight!

Have I ever mentioned Asian is my favorite cuisine?

I think I may have a hundred time or two.

I especially love Thai food, and I miss things like pad thai and pad kee mow. *sigh*  Well, that’s okay; I also love Thai curries, and usually the spicier the better.  And fortunately, if you remove the nutritionally void white rice from the dish, Thai curries are marvelously healthy and pretty low in carbohydrates.

I’ve posted a couple of curry recipes before – one with chicken and one with fish – and here I offer a heartier one with beef.  I won’t lie – it takes a while to cook, but it is so worth it.  The spiciness of the curry paste is perfectly complimented by the sweetness of the coconut milk, the saltiness of the fish sauce (please – find one without any added sugars, especially high fructose corn syrup) and the silky texture of the beef, which is first fried then simmered.

Yum-o, y’all.

Serve it with steamed jasmine rice if you want – or, as I did, grated cauliflower sauteed in a little coconut oil with finely chopped onions and garlic.

Note: The evaporated cane juice/sugar is completely optional; I’ve found the longer I go without sugar, aside from the occasional dish made with a little honey or maple syrup, the more sweet things taste to me.  For me, the coconut milk provided just enough sweetness, but use your own judgement.

Thai Beef Curry

Thai Beef Curry

serves 6

1 1/2 pounds bottom round steak, cut into strips
1 tablespoon beef tallow
1/2 cup finely-chopped onion
1 tablespoon curry paste
2 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
1 can coconut milk
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons evaporated cane juice, or sugar (optional)
1 cup spinach leaves
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat until it until it begins to smoke. Add the tallow and heat for about a minute; add the beef. Cook, stirring frequently, for about ten minutes; the fat will become cloudy with the moisture from the beef. Keep cooking and stirring until the moisture evaporates and the fat becomes clear again and the meat sizzles and browns.

Add sliced onion; stir-fry until soft and beginning to brown, another 2 or 3 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium. Add curry paste; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add coconut milk, beef stock, fish sauce, and sugar; bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook until the beef is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Uncover and add the spinach; stir until it is wilted.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with the chopped tomato and cilantro.

Printable version (requires Adobe Reader)

Thai Green Curry

Thai Green CurryI have a new reader who, when seeing the picture of the cheese bread I posted Wednesday, asked me, “Do you post recipes?”

I’ve been known to.

Then I got another comment from a long-time reader asking for a good curry recipe.  I emailed her back and said, “Indian or Thai?”

She responded with a resounding, “Either one!”

Oh, well – y’all are just going to play right into my chubby little hands, aren’t you?

So, you’re getting a – gasp! – recipe for Thai Green Curry.

I absolutely love Asian food.  You could stick me in an area where the only food available is Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Cambodian and I’d be perfectly happy.  One of the biggest disappointments of moving to Podunk is that there are so few quality Asian restaurants anywhere near where we live and no good Thai restaurants at all, so I’ve had to learn to cook it myself.

I am very, very fond of spicy Thai curries.  Green curries are typically the hottest, followed by red and yellow curries – if you’re not a “hot head” go for a red or yellow curry paste and be judicious when adding it to the recipe.  If you like it spicy, go with the green curry paste and add the full two tablespoons.

This is also a very basic recipe – I typically use chicken when cooking it, but you can opt for a firm fish, shrimp, beef or tofu for a vegetarian/vegan dish.  There are no vegetables in this particular recipe because it is basic, so feel free to add whatever you like – it’s particularly good with fresh red and green bell peppers, or thinly sliced carrots and crisp, fresh green beans.  And serve it with lots and lots of jasmine rice to soak up the delicious sauce.

Yum, yum.

Thai Green Curry

serves 8

1 – 2 tablespoons peanut oil

2 pounds uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed into bite-size pieces

1 cup thinly sliced onion

1 to 2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste

1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup diced plum tomatoes

1 cup chopped green onions (about 8 small)

Chopped fresh cilantro

Lime wedges

Heat peanut oil in heavy large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry until it starts to lose it’s pink, 3 or 4 minutes.  Add sliced onion; stir-fry until soft and beginning to brown, about another 4 minutes.

Add any other vegetables and stir-fry until tender crisp, 2 – 4 minutes depending on the vegetables.

Reduce heat to medium. Add curry paste; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add coconut milk, chicken broth, fish sauce, and sugar; bring to boil.

Remove from heat and transfer curry to large shallow bowl. Garnish with tomatoes, green onions and cilantro. Serve, passing lime wedges separately.

And have a lovely weekend, y’all.