The Paleo Kitchen By: Juli Bauer and George Bryant – Book Review
So how excited are you to get The Paleo Kitchen into your bacon grease covered hands? I know. Me too. I made three recipes from the book this week, the Four Layer Beef and Bacon Casserole that I’m sharing with you today, the Twice-Baked Stuffed Butternut Squash, and the Pan Seared Rosemary Sage Pork Chops with Apples and Pears. They were all insanely delicious. I was there in person as a taste tester (quick brag sesh…Okay I’m done now) when they made the Twice-Baked Stuffed Butternut Squash recipe and it was so good that I immediately went home and tried to recreate the recipe from memory. Ha! Recipe jacked! I then proceeded to serve it at 3 different family occasions, including Thanksgiving, and put it in my weekly dinner rotation. Now that I actually have the recipe in hand, I don’t even need it. Go figure. Anyway that’s the power of The Paleo Kitchen folks. Just saying.
In all seriousness I am so proud of Juli and George. They worked so hard on this book, literally, through blood, sweat, tears…and me making mimosas, bad jokes, and lava cake. I almost killed Stacy LaLa with a champagne cork once. It was a run by corking! Horrible working conditions for anyone obviously. The passion these two share for cooking and creating recipes is next level. It’s both contagious and intoxicating. The flavor combinations they come up with are out of this world. I’ve never cooked sweet potatoes with sage before and I was completely blown away when I tried it. I actually had like severe emotional problems when I ate these recipes. Usually I reserve my emotional eating problems for chocolate and stuff, but with these recipes I was like, “Do I want seconds or do I want the rest for breakfast?!” I want both, what do I do? I can’t decide, should I laugh, should I cry…SOMEONE HELP! My neurosis is showing.
In conclusion, (aww yeah, busting out the book report lingo) The Paleo Kitchen is a must have in your cookbook collection. The pictures are pretty, the stories are honest, the recipes are outstanding, the ‘Thank You’ section in the back that mentions my name and blog are Pultzer Prize worthy. Fun fact: one of the things on my Bucket List was to be thanked in the ‘Acknowledgements’ section of a book. I may have cried when I saw it. So am I biased? Meh. Go ahead and give this recipe a whirl in your kitchen and see what you think. The Paleo Kitchen is now available!Four Layer Beef and Bacon Casserole
Prep Time: 35 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes + 5 minutes
1/2 pound (225 grams) bacon
coconut oil, for greasing the baking dish
For the sweet potato mash:
3 to 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes (1¼ pounds/560 grams)
1/4 cup (60 mL) coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the cauliflower mash:
1 head cauliflower (1½ pounds/750 grams), chopped into florets
1/4 cup (60 mL) coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the ground beef mixture:
2 pounds (910 grams) ground beef
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
8 ounces (225 grams) button mushrooms, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish.
2. Place the bacon on a rimmed baking sheet, place in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until cooked through. Roughly chop the bacon. Set aside.
3. Turn up the oven to 400°F (205°C). Poke holes in sweet potato with a fork. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft and easily pieced through with a knife. The time may range depending on the thickness of the sweet potatoes.
4. While the potatoes are baking, steam the cauliflower. Once cauliflower is fork tender, place it in a food processor or blender and puree until cauliflower becomes soft and resembles mashed potatoes. Then add the coconut milk and salt and pepper and continue to blend until you have a smooth consistency. Remove from the blender and set aside. Clean out the blender for the sweet potato mash.
5. When sweet potatoes are soft, remove their skins and place in the food processor or blender. Blend until the sweet potato breaks down, then add the coconut milk, sage, and salt and pepper and puree until smooth. Set aside for later.
6. Lastly, place a large pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and break it apart with a wooden spoon. Once the meat begins to brown, add the garlic, yellow onion and button mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and continue to cook until the meat is cooked through, then remove the pan from heat.
7. Create the layers: Use a slotted spoon to remove half of the meat mixture from the excess liquid in the pan and place in the prepared baking dish in one layer. Then pour the cauliflower mash mixture on top of the meat and spread out. Then, using the slotted spoon, add the other half of the meat on top of the cauliflower mash. Lastly, pour the sweet potato mash on top and spread it out on top of the meat.
8. Turn oven down to 350°F (175°C) degrees. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the casserole begins to bubble. Then turn on the broiler to high and cook for 5 minutes to brown the top of the casserole. Let rest to thicken and garnish with the bacon before serving.