Foodie Flattery: Thai Lemongrass Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk

Welcome to the second edition of Foodie Flattery!

bearfamilystrong.com | thai lemongrass chicken braised in coconut milk4

So, I decided that I’m going to make this “Foodie Flattery” idea a thing on my blogs. I love to check out other food blogs – mostly for the pictures, I’ll admit – and it only recently occurred to me to try to re-create some of the dishes I ogle over on the internet. I often wonder how much of the picture is attributed to excellent food styling and photography, and how much is actually because the food really does look that good.

The verdict: Definitely the former. Case in point, take 30 seconds to check out this picture, and then compare to my picture above. Am I right??

Anyway, I was trying to come up with some new dinners to eat during our Whole30 when I got distracted and wandered over to Half Baked Harvest by Tieghan Gerard. I adore looking at the pictures on Tieghan’s blog – she is a fabulous food photographer – but I’ve never really had any intention of making the recipes because frankly, they sound like a lot of work. Many of the recipe titles imply about a thousand ingredients, and I always just assumed that many of them weren’t (or couldn’t be adapted to be) Whole30 approved, and so I usually just ogled over the pictures and then moved on. Really, it just means that I’m lazy.

So when I actually looked at the ingredient list for this Thai Lemongrass Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk I was pleasantly surprised – if you omit the rice and noodles, this is totally Whole30!

bearfamilystrong.com | thai lemongrass chicken braised in coconut milk

I love coconut milk, but aside from curry I rarely use it in my food. The recipe also calls for lemongrass, fresh ginger, and fresno chiles – also ingredients I rarely or never use.  I’m afraid of braising – mostly because I never really understood what it meant. So in terms of stepping out of my comfort zone, this recipe fits the bill on multiple levels. In terms of simplicity, I’d call this recipe a 5 out of 10. Once you get everything in the pot, it drops down to a 1 because all you do is let it cook, but browning the chicken ended up being a bit more difficult – the chicken kept sticking to the pan so I lost a lot of skin by the time it was all said and done.

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In terms of looks, I’d give my end result a 3 out of 10. Clearly I have a ways to go in my food styling ability. (Note to self; next time, remember to keep some of the fresh ingredients to use as garnishes in the picture!) But in terms of taste the recipe gets a solid 10 – it was delicious. I loved the combination of lemongrass, ginger, and the hint of heat from the fresno chiles. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the bok choy and cilantro – they end up getting cooked in the dutch oven with everything else, so I found them to be a bit too overcooked for my liking. If I were to make this recipe again, I think I’d cook the bok choy separately and use fresh cilantro as a garnish.

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Back to my point above – obviously this is a dish best served with rice or noodles. To keep it Whole30, I whipped up a batch of saffron scented cauliflower rice and served the chicken and vegetables atop the rice and drizzled with a couple spoonfuls of the delicious coconut milk sauce from the pot. Looks aside, it turned out to be an excellent dinner!

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*Original recipe can be found here.

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Beef Sirloin Tip Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

In an effort to live a more intentional life, Kevin and I decided we would start paying more attention to the the quality of our food and where it comes from. To keep a long story short, this led us to sign up for a meat CSA from a local farm. This particular CSA runs from January to May, with six bi-weekly shipments of “pork, beef, goat, lamb, local sustainably raised chicken and honey.” They have three different size shares; a “sampler share” of 2-3 pounds; a “lovers share” of 5-8 pounds, and the “family share” of 9-14 pounds. After much discussion with the husband we decided to sign up for the “lovers share”, mostly because this is the first time we’ve done a CSA and we weren’t really sure what to expect. I immediately began dreaming of all the high quality local meat we’d have on hand and all the new recipes I’d be able to try with all the meat we were going to get.

We picked up our first share last week and I have to be perfectly honest with you: I was a little bit underwhelmed. I should have taken a picture, but of course I didn’t think about it until just now. Anyway, in our first share we received:

– one pound sliced bacon

– ound 3.5 pound beef sirloin tip roast

– two bone-in pork loin chops

– one half chicken

I have to give the farm credit – the lovers share is supposed to be 5 to 8 pounds of meat and we did receive just about 8 pounds total. I guess I just thought in my head that it would be…more. With the bones in the pork chops and the chicken we’re really only getting closer to 5 pounds of usable meat; and the way that Kevin and I eat protein in this house, our “lovers share” will feed us for approximately five meals. Still, I am glad we signed up and I’m excited to see what we receive in future shipments.

And I did appreciate getting a beef sirloin tip roast, because it’s something I’ve never used before and so I immediately started looking up recipes. I’m pretty impressed with the way things turned out, if I do say so myself! After perusing some good recipes for inspiration, this is what we came up with:

bearfamilystrong.com | beef sirloin tip roast

First, we created a rub for our roast. We were feeling a little spicy, so our rub consisted of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, and some cayenne pepper for an extra kick. We mixed our spices with some olive oil to create a nice “paste”, and rubbed it all over our roast. Once that was done, we let it sit for about 30 minutes so the meat could marinate in all that goodness.

bearfamilystrong.com | beef sirloin tip roast

While the oven was preheating, we seared the roast in a hot cast iron skillet to seal in the juices. Once that was done, we set the roast on a bed of carrots, baby potatoes, and onion wedges tossed with olive oil and a little bit of salt and pepper, and roasted it in the oven at 350 for about an hour and fifteen minutes. We like our beef cooked medium rare, so we aimed for a temperature of about 135 degrees before we took the roast out to rest for another 15 minutes or so.

bearfamilystrong.com | beef sirloin tip roast

As it turns out our timing was perfect and we ended up with a beautiful warm red center to the meat, with the end pieces a little more well done. We intentionally left the vegetables simple – with only the barest hint of salt and pepper – because we ended up with a nice spicy “au jus” at the bottom of the pan to pour over everything once we plated up our meal. The end result had a nice kick of heat, but if you prefer things a little less spicy simply reduce or omit the cayenne pepper.

bearfamilystrong.com | beef sirloin tip roast

Assuming you clean your bowls as you go, this meal turned out to be a great one pot Whole30 dinner that required very little clean up! Not to mention we have delicious leftovers for the next couple of days – stay turned for a couple creative ways to use them up!

Beef Sirloin Tip Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

prep time: 30 minutes

cook time: 75 minutes plus 15 minutes resting

serves: 6 (or 2 with lots of leftovers!)

INGREDIENTS:

3.5 pound sirloin tip roast

1 bag carrots, sliced (or 1 bag baby carrots)

1 bag baby potatoes

2 whole onions, chopped into wedges

olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

1/2 Tbsp thyme

1/2 tbsp oregano

2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

TO DO:

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, mix your spices with about 1/8 – 1/4 cup olive oil. In a bowl (or a gallon sized ziplock bag for less mess), combine the roast and the spice-oil mixture, rub thoroughly. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop your vegetables and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour into the bottom of a roasting pan.

In a cast iron or heavy skillet, heat approximately 2 tbsp of olive oil. Sear the roast on all sides (about 1-2 min per side) and set the roast on top of the vegetables. Roast in the oven for 75 minutes (for medium rare), remove, and let rest for an additional 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature is about 145 degrees. Slice and serve with vegetables.

bearfamilystrong.com | beef sirloin tip roast

Simple Homemade Chicken (or pork) Soup

The first time I created this soup it took me maybe 10 minutes to prepare and it turned out to be the best thing I ate all week.

simple chicken soup | eatwriterunrepeat.com

In an effort to cut down on our grocery bill and maybe save a little money, I’ve been trying to use up the odds and ends in our freezer/fridge/pantry. The day this soup came to be the contents of our fridge consisted of:

1. one handful sad, wilted spinach

2. 2 lemons

3. a tupperware container of diced chicken breast

4. 2 eggs

5. the Brita filter.

Seriously. We had just returned from a few days away and I hadn’t yet gone grocery shopping. So a quick perusal of our pantry resulted in a container of dried shitake mushrooms that I have no recollection of purchasing, and I had homemade bone broth in the freezer.

simple chicken soup | eatwriterunrepeat.com

Voila! I tossed the spinach into a bowl and dumped my frozen broth into a pot on the stove. Once it started to heat up, I added the chicken and some mushrooms until heated through. At the very end I added an egg and a couple shakes of cayenne pepper and poured the soup directly into the bowl to wilt the spinach.

Cheap, easy, and absolutely delicious!

I made this for the second time recently, except instead of diced chicken I added a small handful of crock pot pork carnitas and omitted the mushrooms – which is the soup pictured in this post. The beauty of this soup is that you can really add whatever you want and it will create incredible flavor. An added bonus? The bone broth is chock full of nourishing minerals that are good for the body and soul – perfect for fighting that spring cold!

simple chicken soup | eatwriterunrepeat.com

Simple Homemade Chicken (or pork) Soup

serves one

Ingredients

2-3 cups homemade bone broth

1 handful spinach

4 ounces diced chicken breast, shredded chicken or pork, or cooked shrimp – any protein will do!

1 egg

salt, pepper, cayenne pepper

Optional Add-ins: dried or fresh mushrooms, bean sprouts, fresh cilantro or parsley (feel free to experiment!)

Directions

Set your spinach in a single serve bowl and set aside. On the stove heat your bone broth and protein until heated through. Once hot, drop in the egg and stir slowly until the egg is set to your liking – no more than one minute. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Top with additional add-ins if using.