An Introduction to the Paleo Diet

Posted on February 17, 2015 by Don Roden | 1 comment

We get a lot of diehard Paleo customers in the shop as well many who are curious about the tenants of the diet. The following is a general overview of the plan. Not only is it very meat-friendly but it’s more of a guideline for eating than a traditionally restrictive “diet.” Paleo is based on the notion that for optimal health, modern humans should return to a pre-industrial era by eating real, whole, unprocessed foods that promote healthy metabolic, digestive, and immune systems.

This means avoiding grains, gluten, legumes, dairy, corn, soy and sugar. And instead, filling up on grass-fed meat like cattle, bison, goats, lamb or wild game. The Paleo Diet also includes pasture-raised chicken, eggs and pork, and wild-caught seafood. In addition, one should eat a variety of vitamin- and mineral-packed, organically grown, non-GMO fruits and vegetables.   

The Paleo Diet embraces healthy fats. The right types of fat are essential in maintaining healthy arteries, brain function, healthy skin, as well as decreasing systemic inflammation. Healthy saturated fat comes from grass-fed meat, poultry, seafood, ghee, butter and coconuts. Also encouraged is monounsaturated fat from olive oil, nuts and seeds, as well as a healthy amount of Omega-3.  

The Paleo plan welcomes fermented foods that work to support your digestive system with naturally occurring probiotics that boost immunity. Kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi are all great options.

This seems like a lot to remember but it's really not. Below is an excellent and handy cheat sheet from the book Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilipino. As you can see, following this "diet" is hardly restrictive!

Because Paleo is viewed as a template to healthy living, there is room to personalize. Many people find that chocolate, some dairy, and some alcohol fit nicely into their personal regime. However, it’s recommended one stick to the Paleo template at its most basic before adding or subtracting. You may discover food intolerances, reactions, or or allergies you didn’t know you had.

Scientists are beginning to see the benefits of this way of eating. Test subjects who adopted the Paleo Diet reported significant improvements in their general heath, body composition and energy levels. Doctors are finding that it reduces the risks of many diseases, including heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Some reported benefits are:

  • Increased and more stable energy levels
  • Improved sleep
  • Clearer skin and healthier looking hair
  • Mental clarity
  • Improved mood and attitude
  • Improvements in those suffering depression or anxieties
  • Less or no bloating, decreased gas
  • Sustained weight loss
  • Muscle growth; increased fitness
  • Lowered risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer
  • Higher immune function and a general feeling of well being
  • Improved glucose tolerance; decreased insulin secretion and increased insulin sensitivity
  • Improved lipid profiles
  • Healthier gut flora
  • Better absorption of nutrients from food
  • Reduced allergies
  • Paleo diet is anti-inflammatory, most people experience reduction of pain associated with inflammation
  • Improvements in those with respiratory problems such as asthma

The Organic Butcher offers wild, grass-fed game meats, free-range chicken and wild-caught seafood, plus some prepared Paleo foods for your convenience. 

Try our Bison Meatballs or Green Sausage (chicken or pork) and build your meal from there!

Posted in Bison, Diets, Free Range, Grass-Fed, Health, Organic, Paleo, Pasture-Raised, Sausages, Seafood, Trends, Wild Game

Make Spicy Game Day Wild Game Chili!

Posted on January 29, 2015 by Don Roden | 1 comment

There are few things more crowd-friendly (and chef-friendly) than a one-pot chili. Toss in your ingredients and let it simmer all day — the longer it cooks, the more the flavors meld. It's the ultimate comfort food and a cinch for entertaining. There are a myriad of ways to make it, but why not do something a little special on Super Bowl Sunday?

Change it up this weekend by using wild game meats instead if the usual ground beef. The following recipe combines wild boar and bison. The resulting chili is rich with flavor and very lean. Finish it with your favorite toppings — avocado, shredded cheese, chopped raw onion and sour cream. It's a guaranteed touchdown!

WILD GAME CHILI 
Recipe from Primal Cuts: Cooking With America's Best Butchers by Chris Hughes of Broken Arrow Ranch, a premier supplier of high-quality wild game meats in South Texas.

Ingredients
2 pounds coarsely ground bison or venison
1 pound coarsely ground wild boar
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 (12-ounce) can/bottle beer (try our Samuel Smith Organic Ale)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
2 (or to taste) chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce, chopped, sauce reserved
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 to 5 tablespoons chili powder (you can mix favorites, like ancho & cayenne but watch the heat)
4 tablespoons ground cumin seed
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)

Directions
Combine the bison (venison) and boar meat. In a heavy pot with tight-fitting lid, heat cooking oil and brown meat in small batches, setting aside each batch as it is browned.

Return browned meat to pot, add ½ can of ale and cook covered over low heat for about 1 hour. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, and add ale if the liquid evaporates.

While meat is cooking, chop the onion, garlic, jalapeño, and chipotle. To make a mild version, split jalapeño in half and remove seeds and internal membrane (responsible for most of a pepper’s “heat”) with a spoon before chopping. Leaving more of these makes the chili spicier.

Drain the pot’s juices into a skillet and sauté the onion, jalapeño, and garlic in the juices until onion is softened. Pour this mixture back into the pot with the meat and add adobo sauce and tomato paste.

Cook covered over low heat for 2-½ to 3 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more ale if needed. The chili should cook at a low simmer, not a boil.

Add chili powder, cumin seed, paprika, salt, and pepper, and adjust. (If you desire a thicker chili, make a slurry with 2 tablespoons cornstarch and a little water. Stir in the cornstarch mixture just before chili has finished cooking.) Serve over tamales or corn chips with cheese and sour cream.

 

Posted in Beer, Bison, Boar, Cooking Instructions, Organic, Recipes, Super Bowl, Venison, Wild Game

Cooking Wild Game — It's Easier Than You Think

Posted on January 20, 2015 by Don Roden | 0 comments

You've probably had a moment where you thought to yourself "Self, tonight we are cooking something totally out of the ordinary. Tonight we are serving elk!" Then, as quickly as it came, the moment passed and you realized you have absolutely no idea what to do with elk and settled for chicken. Don't fret, fellow meat-eater, we are here to help.

At the Organic Butcher, we carry all sorts of wild game — elk, bison, venison, you name it. It is incredibly lean and therefore requires a little more attention when cooking. Because of it's marbling, regular beef can stand up to longer cooking times. You'll need to watch wild game to make sure it doesn't cook beyond your desired doneness. Keep it on the more rare side and you'll be fine. For stews, the moment the meat falls apart the stew is done. Any longer and it will completely break down.


Buffalo vs. Bison 
Early European settlers originally called American Bison "Buffalo" because they equated it with African Buffalo and/or Asian Water Buffalo from other countries. These animals are similar, but are not the same. African Buffalo are extremely aggressive. So much so, that they have never been successfully domesticated. It's a safe bet that most of what is on the market labeled "Buffalo" is actually Bison. 

The Bison we carry is lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol than chicken or fish and it's higher in protein than regular beef. It's also surprisingly high in Omega 3s and vitamin E. We offer Bison that is grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free, free-roaming, and humanely field harvested. 

The Bison Chuck Roast (pictured above) is perfect for slow-cooking methods.

Elk
Elk has been dubbed "The Heart Smart Red Meat" by the American Heart Association because it is low in fat and cholesterol, and high in protein. It's not very "gamey" and tastes similar to beef, but is just different enough to peak your curiosity. 

Our Elk is field harvested making it truly wild. The Rib Rack can be prepared as a roast or cut into individual rib chops and is best prepared to medium rare.

Venison
Venison is another game meat that is extremely healthy for you. It has a wonderful woody, almost fruity flavor that can't compare to beef. The texture is similar but it's very lean (as you can see from the picture below) and requires less cooking time. 

Our Venison stew meat is a good substitute in most beef stew dishes, but its flavor is much bolder and richer. It stands up well in Bourguignon recipes like the Alsatian stew below. Trust us, it's so rich you'll only be able to finish one bowl. But oh, how we savored it!

Are you feeling confident about Game Meats now? Good! Place your order online or stop by and see us!

VENISON STEW (from Saveur Magazine)

SERVES 6

This Alsatian dish is a rich game stew, traditionally thickened with the blood of the animal. This recipe uses flour for a lighter interpretation. 

3 lbs. boneless venison shoulder, cut into large pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled
12 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
15 black peppercorns
1 bottle dry hearty red wine, such as côtes-du-rhône
1/4 lb. slab bacon, sliced
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. flour
12 small boiling onions, peeled
1 tsp. sugar
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 lb. white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2 tbsp. cognac

1. Combine venison, carrots, yellow onions, garlic, 2 sprigs parsley, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, and wine in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours to tenderize venison.

2. Julienne bacon. Cook in a heavy pot or dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 8-10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.

3. Remove venison, then strain marinade into a bowl, discarding herbs and vegetables. Season meat with salt and pepper. Add oil to bacon fat in pot, increase heat to medium-high, add meat, and brown, turning occasionally, 7-10 minutes. Sprinkle flour over meat, and return bacon to pot. Cook, stirring, until flour turns a nut-brown color, about 1 minute. Add marinade, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until venison is tender, 2-2 1/2 hours. Note: Cooking times vary. Once the meat begins to fall apart, it is done. Any longer and you risk the meat completely breaking down. 

4. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add onions and sugar and simmer over medium heat until tender, 25-30 minutes. Drain. Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes.

5. Remove venison from pot to finish sauce. Increase heat to medium-high, add cognac, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and whisk in remaining butter. Return venison to sauce, add onions and mushrooms, and mix thoroughly. Chop remaining parsley and sprinkle on top. Serve with slices of toasted country bread if desired.

Posted in Bison, Cooking Instructions, Elk, Venison, Wild Game