In celebration of Autumn – Pork Cassoulet

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We were inspired by the fine start to Autumn and the gorgeous produce at the markets to create a new dish which purchasers of our 10 and 15 meal packs will have the chance to enjoy for a limited time. Introducing our Pork, Chestnut and Cider Cassoulet, which is served with Apple and Cinnamon Compote (included).  It is made with pork belly, our favourite cut of pork, which is slow-cooked in low carb apple cider, plus chestnuts, fennel seeds, juniper berries, thyme, bay leaves and smoked speck. Finally we added some sauteed brussels sprouts because they are delicious and so seasonal right now.

We think the pork needed something a little tart and fruity to cut through the unctuous decadence so we also whipped up a chunky apple compote.  Originally we wanted to make a quince compote but after a brief appearance last week, the quinces seem to have disappeared so apple it was.

Traditional French cassoulet is made with pork and beans, but we gave the beans a miss for this paleo version and used chestnuts instead. Just re-heat and eat. Would be terrific with a sprinkle of chopped parsley. Hope you folks like it!

Pork, Eggplant & Bitter Melon Hotpot

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Recently Mark Sisson blogged about 4 foods that have medicinal benefits, and I was surprised to discover bitter melon among them. Growing up, bitter melon made an occasional appearance at dinner and it was not one of my favourite dishes, although it did have an astringent quality to it which was interesting and peculiar. After my recent attempt I must say it wasn’t so bad was delicious and I couldn’t detect any bitterness.

According to some studies, bitter melon has anti-diabetic properties and can help improve insulin sensitivity. Given that bitter melon is in season now, do you need any other reason to throw some in your basket and give it a try.

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Pork, Eggplant and Bitter Melon Hotpot

  • 2 tsp macadamia oil or coconut oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 500g pork mince
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small eggplant or half large eggplant, chopped
  • 1 bitter melon (or 2 if you are really keen), seeds and inner pith remove, sliced 5mm thick
  • 1 ½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp tamari sauce or coconut aminos
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Paleo XO sauce, optional
  • 1 cup chicken stock or bone broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • Chopped fresh coriander for garnish

Method
Fry onion in oil until softened. Add mince, garlic, eggplant, bitter melon, fish sauce, tamari, sesame oil, XO sauce and stock and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until eggplant is soft and completely cooked. Taste for seasoning and add salt if required, and pepper. Add tapioca roux and stir well. Bring to boil, then turn off heat. Sprinkle with chopped coriander. Serve with white rice or cauliflower rice.

I found there was no need to blanche or salt the bitter melon as some recipes suggest, as there was very little bitterness remaining after the braising.