Artichokes with AIP Bagna Cauda (Instant Pot/Steamer)

I seem to have a real problem – I have become totally addicted to artichokes!

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Artichokes are an edible variety of thistle.  They are high in fiber, and are a good source of niacin, potassium, phosphorus, copper, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and manganese.  They have a large number of health benefits – they are very high in fiber, and contain more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables.  They are reputed to be able to prevent cancer and to be good for the heart.  They can help to reduce blood pressure and can function as a liver tonic.  These are just a few of this amazing vegetables benefits – they truly are a wonderful vegetable that everyone should be eating!

The first time you cook or eat one of these spiky looking vegetables, they can be very intimidating.  How are you supposed to get down to the delicious tender heart.  What do you do with all the spiky thorns that may be present on the ends of the leaves.  How are you supposed to cook it?  And more importantly, how are you supposed to eat it?

Don’t be afraid – once you know how, they are very easy to cook.

You can cook them in a steamer or an Instant Pot (which is what I did) I will give you full instructions on how to do this in the recipe below.  It is very simple.

To eat them, you pull off a leaf, dip the base in a tasty dip – I used Bagna Cauda in this recipe, and then you scrape off the fleshy part of the base with your teeth, discarding the rest of the leaf.  As you get closer and closer to the center, more of the leaf is edible.  Once you get to the center, you will find the hairy “choke”.  This part is not edible.  Use a spoon to scrape it all off, and what you have left is the delicious choke.  This can be cut up,  dipped in the dip and eaten.  You can eat the stem – it is a personal preference.  It can taste a little bitter, so some prefer to trim it off.  I like to keep it on my artichokes and nibble at it to see how bitter it is – it can also be very fibrous, so even if you leave it on, you may need to discard it anyway.

It always surprises me that you end up with a HUGE pile of leftovers after eating artichokes!

When selecting artichokes, try to buy ones that are tightly closed – if the leaves have started to open they are old and will not taste as good.

This gets messy fast – drippy, oily – expect it to drip on your clothes and your chin…..  lots of napkins are recommended!  Maybe even finger bowls if serving to “company”!  There is no “dignified” way to eat artichokes!

This is a very hands-on, tactile, sense-driven way of eating – something that I absolutely LOVE!

 

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Bagna Cauda is Italian in origin, and translates to mean “Hot Dip” or “Hot Bath” depending on which website you believe.  It is a blend of Olive oil, butter, garlic and anchovies, that is served warm.  Obviously, because it contains butter the original recipe for Bagna Cauda is not AIP unless you have successfully reintroduced butter – and given my anaphalactic dairy allergy, this is something that I will never be able to do.  So I decided to come up with an AIP version of this deliciously savoury dip.

Don’t just keep Bagna Cauda for artichokes – it is delicious with all vegetables – dip steamed carrots, fennel, celery, asparagus and anything else you can think of into this warm, delicious and salty bath.  Or drizzle it over a perfectly cooked, rare, sliced steak.  Have fun with it and be adventurous.!

This recipe serves 2 as an appetizer or side dish, but I am a greedy piggie, and I ate it all to myself!  You can share the bagna cauda from the same dish if you like or divide it between 2 separate small ramekins or dishes.  It is also easily multiplied up to feed more than 2 people – in-fact, if you are feeding a crowd, with an instant pot this would make the simplest appetizer!

 

Artichokes with Bagna Cauda (AIP)

(serves 2 unless as greedy as me!)

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Ingredients

For the Artichokes:

  • 2 artichokes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 of a lemon
  • a lemon cut in half

For the Bagna Cauda:

  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup AIP approved fat – I used bone-marrow fat for this recipe, but bacon fat would make a delicious substitute.  You could also use a good quality coconut oil or home-rendered lard.
  • 3 anchovy fillets (read ingredients to ensure they are preserved in an AIP approved oil if canned.  If salted, rinse the excess salt off)
  • 3 cloves of garlic

Method

The first thing that you need to doo is to trim your artichokes as these are going to take the longest time.  Take the artichoke and cut off the end of the stem – I do recommend that you leave some stem on, because while it can taste bitter and can be fibrous it can be edible, and you cannot tell if it is until after it is cooked).  Take a vegetable peeler and peel the stem around all its girth, removing any small and loose leaves.

Next, put the artichoke flat on a cutting board and using a very sharp knife cut an inch off the top of the artichoke – this removes a lot of the spiky bits that may be present.  Check the remaing  leaves for sharp points and if you find them, but them off with a pair of scissors.  Rub all the exposed areas with a cut lemon to prevent browning.

If you are using an Instant Pot, put the trivet in the bottom.  Add 1 cup of water, the bay leaves, the lemon and the garlic. Add the trimmed and prepared artichokes.  Turn on your instant pot and select Manual.  Press the + button to 20.  Let it run for 20 minutes, the  do a quick release of pressure.  Remove the cooked artichokes and test for done-ness by pulling off a leaf – if it does noBat pull off with minimal pressure/strength cook for 5 mins longer.  Keep warm until the Bagna Cauda is ready.

If you do not have an Instant pot, put the lemon, bay and garlic in a pot with a cup or two of water.  Place a steamer basket over the top and add the trimmed artichoke hearts. cover with a lid, and cook for 45 minutes.

Once the cooking time is done, if using an Instant Pot, do a fast steam release (I like to put a cloth over the vent to stop any damage to my ceiling and kitchen cabinets). check that the  artichokes are cooked by pulling a leaf out.  It should pull out easily – if it is not cooked, you need to give it 5-10 minutes more.

Keep the artichokes warm and make the sauce.

To make the Bagna Cauda, put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a pan and heat up.  Simmer for 2 minutes (do not worry if it appears to curdle that is because of the protein in the anchovies).  Transfer to heated serving dishes (ramekins for single servings, a heated fondue pot for larger portions if you have multiplied up).

Serve at once as a dip…..

Shared at: Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable

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This blog-entry does contain affiliate links that help support my blogging activities.  If you click on a link, you will never be charged more than the regular price for the item, but I may receive a small reward as a result.  Please rest assured that all of the items or ingredients I recommend in this post I have used personally.

 

Grilled Pork Chops With Apple, Bacon And Onion

This was such a delicious dinner that A cooked the other night – it was hot, Hot, HOT, and we were dreading turning on the stove to make dinner.

Using the outdoor grill to cook the chops and then serving them with a salad was a no-brainer.

And it worked perfectly.

This recipe is both Paleo and AIP-friendly if you omit the black pepper.

Don’t be put off by the fact that this recipe serves 6 people.  If you need to feed fewer, just use fewer pork chops – one per person is ideal.  The apple bacon and onion mixture is also easy to scale down, but I would not bother – it tastes delicious with all sorts of other meats, or even on its own, and is just as good cold from the fridge as it is hot.

Grilled Pork Chops With Apple, Bacon And Onion

serves 6

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  • 6 pork loin chops (about 6oz each)
  • sea salt to taste
  • a small amount of melted coconut oil to brush the meat
  • 2 large onions – sliced
  • 6 rashers of bacon – sliced
  • 2 large apples – cored and sliced
  • leaves from 1 sprig of fresh rosemary – chopped
  • leaves from 1 sprig of fresh sage – chopped
  • leaves from 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme – chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – crushed

Preheat your grill to a medium high temperature.

While the grill is heating, take the chops and brush them with a little coconut oil.  Season well with salt.

Place the chops on the grill, and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side until the chops have an internal temperature of 77°C/170°F.  If you have got the temperature of the grill just right, you should have some lovely sear marks on the meat.

Remove the chops from the grill and keep warm.

Now you need to place your cast iron skillet directly on the grill and turn the heat up a bit.

Add the bacon to the pan and allow to cook down and release it’s fat.  Add the onions to the bacon fat and saute until starting to brown a little.  Add in the apples, the herbs and the garlic and cook until everything is soft, and gently caramelized.  This should take no more than 5-10 minutes, by which time the chops will have rested.

Serve the apple, onion and bacon mixture along with the grilled pork chops.

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I like to serve this with a brightly coloured salad such as my Lacto-Fermented Beet And Carrot Salad.

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If you do not have an outside grill, you could easily cook these chops on the stove on a grill-pan.

Lacto-Fermented Beet And Carrot Salad

I made this vibrantly coloured salad to use up some of the lacto-fermented beets that I had leftover from making Beet Kvass.

I don’t like to waste anything (It is the thrifty Yorkshire Woman in me!), and I did not want to throw the beets away after I had made the kvass, but I also did not want to just eat the chunks of beet.

This salad was a perfect compromise, and went very well with some pork chops that I had cooked for dinner.

This recipe is both Paleo and AIP Friendly.  And thanks to the lacto-fermented beets, it is full of healthy, gut-friendly probiotics.

And it is so pretty!

Lact0-Fermented Beet And Carrot Salad

serves 4-6

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  • Lacto-fermented beets – I used about 2 cups of chunks in total
  • 3-4 large carrots
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic from the jar of lacto-fermented beets (optional)

Grate the beets and place them in a large bowl – I recommend using a food processor for this or you will end up with red stained hands.

Peel and grate the carrots and add to the beets in the bowl.

Trim the green onions and chop them.  Add to the beets and carrot in the bowl

If you like, you can now take 1-2 cloves of garlic that was fermented with the beets and crush them.  This step is entirely optional.

Place the apple cider vinegar and olive oil in a small mason jar along with the crushed garlic if using it.

Shake the jar well to mix the contents, then pour over the salad and mix until it is all incorporated.

Serve at once.

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I like to pile this on top of shredded green lettuce leaves – the green of the lettuce provides an attractive colour contrast with the purple/red and orange of the carrots and beets.

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This particular salad was also served with some pork chops that I had cooked on the grill and served with apples, onions and bacon.

Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #35

Shared at Thrifty Thursday week 69

Grilled Shrimp With Mango, Strawberry, Avocado Salsa

It has been so hot here lately that I am not going to apologize for the large number of recipes that I am posting that use an outdoor grill – there is no way I am wanting to turn the stove on right now!

If you don’t have a grill, all the recipes I have been posting  could certainly be cooked in a skillet or under the broiler.  I am sure they would taste just as good.

One of my favourite things to cook on a grill is shrimp.  And shrimp also happens to be a very economical seafood, which is why we eat it quite a lot.

These grilled shrimp were just delicious.  I marinated them for a short time in a mixture of lime juice, honey and garlic which gave them a wonderful flavour, and the honey contributed to the caremelization on the surface.

I served these on top of a mango and strawberry salsa, meaning that the entire recipe is AIP friendly and suitable for the elimination phase of AIP.

If you are not AIP and can handle some chili, a chopped jalapeno chili would be wonderful in the salsa!

Grilled Shrimp with Mang0-Strawberry-Avocado Salsa

Serves 6

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For the grilled shrimp:

  • 2lb large shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated root ginger
  • sea salt to taste

For the mango, strawberry, avocado salsa:

  • 1 cup strawberries – hulled and chopped
  • 1 large ripe mango – peeled, stoned and chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado – peeled, stoned and chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 green onions – chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated root ginger
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime

The first thing you need to do is to take some wooden or bamboo skewers and soak them in cold water for a couple of hours – this will stop them from burning on the grill.

Place the lime juice, honey, fish sauce, olive oil, garlic, ginger and salt in a pan and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes then leave to cool.

Divide the marinade in half, and pour one half over the shrimp.  Cover and refrigerate for half to one hour.  Keep the remaining half of the marinade to one side to use as a glaze.

While the shrimp is marinading, make the salsa.

Chop the mango, strawberries and avocado into evenly sized pieces and place them in a bowl.  Add the cilantro, green onions, lime zest, ginger and garlic, and season well with salt.  Mix well then pour over the olive oil and lime juice.  Give it all one final mix then store in the fridge until needed.

When ready to cook the shrimp, preheat the grill to medium hot.

Thread the shrimp onto the soaked bamboo skewers (I like to use 2 skewers for each as they hold the shrimp securely and makesthem easier to turn).

Grill the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side, brushing well with the reserved marinade.

Remove from the grill once the shrimp is pink and opaque and serve at once with mango, strawberry, avocado salsa.

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I like to put a bed of lettuce on a plate, top this with the salsa and then sit the shrimp skewers on top.

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I served this with some tostones made from green plantains.

Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundup #34

Shared at Gluten Free Fridays #99

Shared at Real Food Fridays #46

Mackerel with a Green Herb Sauce

Mackerel are one of my favourite fish, and they are very economical to buy as well, which helps a lot with our ever-increasing grocery bills.

I can buy 6 whole fish (frozen from an Asian grocery store) for less than $10 which is a very good price for a wild-caught fish.

I am not worried about buying frozen fish as it does not change the nutritional profile, and most of the time they are frozen within minutes of being caught.  In fact, it might even be healthier to buy fish that has been frozen on the boat as opposed to fish that may have taken several days to be shipped to where you live.  Freezing may affect the texture, especially if they have been frozen for long periods or stored improperly.  But it is very difficult to buy fresh wild-caught fish in Alberta – most of the so called “fresh” fish in the stores has been previously frozen and then thawed for sale.

Mackerel are an oily fish, rich in those all-important omega 3 fatty acids, so I try to include them in our diet at least once a week.  They are also a good source of protein, phosphorus, Vitamin D, Niacin, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.

I usually prepare them using this method, but this time round I decided to fillet them using this method.  I didn’t get any photographs as hubby was not at home to take them for me, and my hands were covered in fish which I did not want to get all over the camera.

Next time I will though!

If thawing frozen fish, make sure you do so in the refrigerator or under cold running water.  NEVER thaw them on the countertop as that can lead to the growth of bacteria resulting in food poisoning.

If you can obtain fresh, unfrozen mackerel, you can still use them to make this recipe.

The green herb sauce has an Italian feel to it and really complements the oily fish.

This recipe is not only Paleo, it is also AIP friendly, and is incredibly quick to cook, taking only 10 minutes in the oven.

Mackerel with a Green Herb Sauce

serves 6

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  • 6 mackerel – thawed if frozen and divided into 2 fillets using this method
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

For the green herb sauce:

  • ¼ cup capers – rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 3 green onions – roughly chopped
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • ¼cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼tbsp apple cider vinegar (try to use one with a mother – this is the brand I like)
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.

Fillet your mackerel into 2 neat fillets using the method above, and lay them out on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and then scatter with sea salt..

Bake in the preheated oven for around 10 minutes until the fish is firm and flakes easily.  Do not allow to overcook!

To make the green herb sauce you just put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until the herbs are chopped and it is all evenly mixed.

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Serve the sauce drizzled over your mackerel.

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I served this with oven roasted rutabaga fries and oven roasted broccoli.

30 AIP (Auto-Immune Protocol) Paleo Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast – it is sometimes called the most important meal of the day.

All too often it is also the most rushed meal of the day – a quick bite before you rush out of the house to go to work or take the kids to school.

For many people, it consists of eggs and bacon, a muffin, toast, coffee, a bowl of cereal with milk, a danish or a donut grabbed from a coffee house on the way to work.  Which is great except when you are paleo or even worse following the Auto-immune protocol to heal your body and fix a leaky gut.

Most conventional breakfast ideas are full of sugar, gluten and grains and dairy and many paleo breakfasts consist of eggs and many other things that you cannot eat on a strict AIP protocol.

“What can I eat for breakfast?”  I see this question raised a lot on message boards, forums and even facebook.

Here are 30 AIP breakfast ideas to help you out.  Some are quicker than others, but all are delicious and 100% AIP compliant.  They are also all paleo, gluten, egg and dairy free.

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  1. Homemade Sausage Patties.  This is what I eat for breakfast most often, served with a side of homemade sauerkraut and a mug of homemade bone broth.
  2. A green smoothie
  3. A smoothie made from coconut milk, frozen berries and either banana or avocado.  Add some gelatin for extra protein.
  4. Beef sausage patties
  5. Green Plantain Pancakes served with berries and/or maple syrup
  6. Paleo Autoimmune Granola
  7. Bacon Avocado and Mushrooms
  8. Berry Gelatin Pudding (pictured above)
  9. Ground Beef Hash
  10. Faux-tmeal (Paleo Oatmeal) – omit the nut topping and top with fresh or frozen berries
  11. Apple sauce topped with coconut cream or coconut milk
  12. Paleo Breakfast Cookies
  13. AIP Paleo Pancakes serve with berries and/or maple syrup
  14. Coconut milk yoghurt served with berries
  15. A breakfast skillet made from whatever you have in the fridge
  16. Butternut squash (or pumpkin) porridge
  17. Paleo sticky buns
  18. Banana crepes – roll with berries and coconut cream
  19. Breakfast sausage with hash browns
  20. leftovers from the night before (who says you have to eat breakfast foods for breakfast?)
  21. Sweet caramelized plantains (omit the nutmeg if strict AIP)
  22. Bubble and squeak (omit the fried egg if strict AIP)
  23. Chicken liver pate spread on veggie slices or stuffed into a celery stick and topped with raisins or capers to make an AIP “Ants on a Log”
  24. Soup, soup, soup (omit the nutmeg in the last one if strict AIP)
  25. AIP plantain wraps – just fill with your favourite ingredients – I like to add leftover shredded meat, some veggies and guacamole
  26. Flaked canned fish with salad greens (I like a mixture of spinach, watercress and arugula) drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice
  27. A quick breakfast stirfry made from leftover cooked meat, bacon, mushrooms, green onions and any other veggies you can find
  28. Egg-free paleo macaroons
  29. Smoked salmon or leftover gravlax with salad greens dressed with olive oil and lemon and a little avocado.  Serve with some lacto-fermented relish if you have some.
  30. Banana zucchini bread spread with a little dairy-free paleo butter

What do you like to eat for breakfast?

Shared at Gluten Free Wednesday

Shared at Allergy Free Wednesday

Shared at Pennywise Platter Thursday 73

Shared at Gluten Free Fridays #98

Guacamole

I love avocado and I love guacamole even more!

This wonderfully creamy, green dip can make a fantastic topping for burgers, for chilli, for carnitas or even just as a simple dip for veggies or plantain chips.  And it is even good just eaten straight out of the bowl by the spoonful.

And the best thing is that it takes only moments to make!

This is so simple that even a 9 year old can make it!

Guacamole

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  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 2 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

All you do is add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse to the desired consistency.

If you do not own a food processor, you could mash it in a bowl with a fork.  This will result in a slightly more chunky guacamole, but it will still be good.

Serve at once

Broiled Mackerel with Gremolata

I like to cook fish very simply – usually just grilled (broiled for those in the US) or pan-fried.  And I usually like to serve a simple sauce or garnish with it as well.

This time, I broiled my mackerel, which I had prepared using this method.  And I served it with gremolata this time.

Gremolata is a chopped herb garnish that is traditionally served with ossobuco, but it goes very well with fish as well.

This is a very quick meal (if your fish are already prepared/filleted, it can be fridge to table in less than 15 minutes depending on what you are planning on serving with it).  Perfect for a late night or after-work meal!

Grilled Mackerel with Gremolata

serves 6

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  • 6 small mackerel
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil – melted
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • sea salt to taste

First of all, you are going to prepare your mackerel.  I used this method as my mackerel were quite small and I was planning on serving one per person.  If you had larger fish you could simply fillet them.  This is a good method to use.

Lay your mackerel out skin side down on a baking sheet, brush with the melted coconut oil and sprinkle it with fresh thyme leaves.  Season with salt.  Cook under a hot broiler for 5-10 minutes until the fish is cooked and just starting to flake.

Serve at once with gremolata.

For the gremolata:

  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

All you need to do is to take all the ingredients and put them in a food processor.  Pulse until they are evenly mixed, and the parsley and garlic is finely chopped.

Spoon over your mackerel fillet.

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In addition to the gremolata, I served a simple salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and some oven roasted veggies (brussels sprouts, beets, sweet potato and red onion) with the fish.

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Shared at the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable#14

Garlic, Leek And Watercress Soup

Yet another soup that I made for lunch…  I am not kidding when I say that it is the thing that I make most commonly for that meal!

This post on Marks Daily Apple made me remember how hubby and I used to eat garlic soup after a night of drinking down at the Student Union when we were at university.  I know, drinking is not good for you  but actually due to limited budgets we didn’t drink all that much.

I didn’t have any chives to make the chive oil, and J, with her horror of mushrooms, would have refused to eat it if I had included those. So I couldn’t recreate the soup I linked to above.

So I decided to attempt to re-create the creamy garlicky soup that we used to eat way back then, just using more Paleo-friendly ingredients.

The watercress was a bit of an afterthought – I saw it in the fridge while rummaging for ingredients and decided to use it on a whim.  Our original soup was garlic, onions, leeks and thickened with potato.  Obviously I was not going to use potato to thicken an AIP soup, so I substituted cauliflower.  And I used coconut milk in place of the cows milk that I would have used back in Leeds.

That resulted in the following recipe, which was delicious.

Garlic, Leek and Watercress soup

Serves 6 with leftovers for the next day

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1 tbsp fat of your choice (I used coconut oil)

1 onion – chopped

1 leek – chopped (wash the leek well, they often have grit trapped in the layers.  Gritty soup is not pleasant!)

2 whole bulbs of garlic (around 15-20 cloves) – crushed

1 bunch green onions – chopped

1/2 head of cauliflower – chopped

1 1/2 jars bone broth (this was a chicken bone broth made from a leftover chicken carcass)

1 tsp fresh thyme – chopped

1 tsp fresh sage – chopped

1 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped

salt to taste

1 bunch watercress – chopped

1 can coconut milk (make sure it does not contain any non-AIP ingredients – read the label.  You want a can that only contains coconut and water).

Melt the fat in the largest pot you own…  Add the onion and leek and cook gently for 3-5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent – you want the heat to be no more than medium.

The throw in the garlic, green onions and cauliflower.  Toss it all around for a couple of minutes and tip in the bone broth.  Season to taste, but remember it will reduce slightly so don’t add too much salt.

Add the fresh herbs (back in Leeds I would have used a tsp or two of mixed dried herbs – I didn’t have the luxury of having fresh herbs growing in the garden!).

Let it all simmer gently for 20-30 minutes until everything is soft.

Add the watercress and the coconut milk and blitz with a stick-blender until it is all smooth.

Reheat gently and check the seasoning.

And serve at once.

This soup is great hot, and is also very good cold, but because of the huge amounts of garlic I don’t think I could get away with eating it at work…  no one wants a massage therapist with garlic breath!

Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #22