Bibliophiles' Lunch

Sisters share paleo recipes, books, and DIY

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Chicken Pot Pie Variation


The breadfruit crust last time proved difficult to digest (I don’t know if this was the breadfruit or the coconut flour I added or both), so this time I am trying a green plantain crust. I am still avoiding FODMAPS, so there is no onion or garlic in this version. Although I don’t usually use flours of any kind, the plantain mixture seemed very sticky and uncrustlike, so I added some arrowroot flour.  I have read that arrowroot is relatively easy to digest among the grain substitutes. I didn’t add enough arrowroot to thicken the crust into anything that could be rolled out.  Instead, I spooned the mixture onto the filling.  It thickened as it cooked.  It is important to use the green plantains as the yellow ones are sweeter and probably would clash with a chicken pot pie filling.  This crust was a bit sweet but edible with the chicken.

IMG_1211 I love these crimson red carrots.

IMG_1212 Heating the chicken, mushroom mixture

2 cups chicken, diced
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
2 T olive oil
1 cup frozen green peas
1 carrot, sliced (I used a beautiful red one)
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp bouquet garni
1/2 tsp tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste

2 green plantains
3 heaping TBS arrowroot flour
3 TBS coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt

Fry the mushroom slices until they have rendered some of their liquid. Add the diced chicken, broth, peas, sliced carrot, herbs, salt and pepper to the mushrooms and heat through. Transfer the chicken mixture to an oven-proof dish.

In a food processor puree the plantains with the salt and coconut oil until quite smooth. Add the arrowroot starch and blend until smooth. Spoon the puree onto the chicken mixture to cover and bake in a 400 F oven until filling is bubbling and “crust” is golden.


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Coeur Braise aux Carottes


When I asked the guy behind the counter at Whole Foods if they had a beef heart he looked as if he’d like to gag,  but he went and looked for one in the back.  My recipe calls for a veal heart weighing 1 kg but I got half a beef heart weighing 3-1/4 lbs and used half of that.  I am trying to eat more organ meats as they are supposed to be so good for you, but I have to work at getting over the yuck factor in order to do so.  I figured that in a stew heart would seem pretty much like regular beef cuts–it is a muscle after all. This recipe is pretty much a straight translation of “Coeur de Veau Braise aux Carottes” on p 161 of Les Recettes Faciles de Francoise Bernard.  This is like The Joy of Cooking of France–the basic cookbook that you receive when you get married.  Everyone seems to have it.  This is considered an easy and inexpensive recipe.

1 veal heart (I used 1/4 beef heart)
1 shallot (the original recipe called for 2 onions, but I didn’t want to eat so much onion)
3 Tbs butter or other fat
1 kg carrots
2 stalks celery
1 clove garlic
bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf)
1 quart broth (the original recipe calls for water)

Francoise Bernard tells you to ask the tripier to remove the tough membranes from the interior of the heart. I didn’t get it from a tripier (tripe butcher) so I removed the tough bits and silverskin from the heart myself and chopped it into small pieces. Brown the meat in several batches. Chop the shallot and saute it for a couple of minutes while you chop the carrots and celery. Return the meat to the pot along with the carrots, celery, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and cover with liquid. I used broth for a richer and healthier option, but water would work too. Bring to a boil on the stove top, cover and place in a 300 F oven for about 2 hours. Remove the bouquet garni before serving.

The stew was tender and savory. Beef heart is rich in iron, phosphorus, copper and selenium, and it is a good source of B vitamins and Coenzyme Q10.

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Cassoulet D’Artagnan


For Christmas Eve I made a classic Cassoulet using the kit sold by D’Artagnan which includes everything you need to make it except the onions, herbs and water.

3 lbs haricot Tarbais (I may use 2 lbs next time, as this is a lot of beans)
12 oz ventreche (French version of pancetta)
10 cloves garlic (I used 3)
2 medium onions, peeled and cut in half
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 bouquet garni (5 parsley sprigs, 3 celery leaves, 1 sprig thyme, 1 bay leaf, 10 peppercorns wrapped in cheesecloth and tied) or as I did–1 Tbs dried bouquet garni
6 duck leg confit
6-1/2 oz duck and veal demi-glace, dissolved in 3-1/2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
2 packages duck and armagnac sausage
1 lb French garlic sausage, sliced
1/4 cup duck fat
(I skipped the 5 cloves that the onions should be studded with and the 1 Tbs of tomato paste as I didn’t have these things on hand)

To make the beans less difficult to digest, soak them for 24 hours at room temperature, changing the water several times. The soaking allows the beans to begin to sprout, a process in which they inactivate some of the toxic lectins that protect the bean from being eaten by pests before they sprout.

Once the beans have been soaked, drain them and put into a heavy pot or two (I don’t have one pot big enough for this much cassoulet), add the whole ventreche, garlic, carrot, bouquet garni and onion studded with cloves. Add water to cover by about three inches. Simmer for 1 hour.

Drain the beans, discard the onion and bouquet garni, but leave the carrot and garlic with the beans and season with 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Cut the ventreche into 1/2″ dice.

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Brown the duck and armagnac sausages on all sides in a frying pan and cut into thirds.

Grease a large pot or casserole with duck fat (or use two large pots, as I do). Place half the bean mixture into the pot. Add the diced ventreche, duck and armagnac sausages, confit duck legs, and French garlic sausage slices, drizzle with some of the duck fat and cover with the remaining beans.

Mix the demi-glace and water and pour over the beans. I ended up using quite a bit more water to make sure that the beans were covered enough so as not to dry out in the oven (maybe I used too much water as the beans are supposed to make a crust on top of the Cassoulet, and this didn’t happen). Drizzle with the remaining duck fat.

I brought the pot to the boil on the stove top then covered and placed in the oven. Bake at 325 F until hot and bubbling about 2-1/2 hours. Check from time to time that the beans are not drying out and add water if necessary.

Raise the oven temperature to 400 F, remove the cover from the pot, and bake an additional 45 minutes until the top is browned.

Serve immediately, as Cassoulet should be eaten hot.

I love Cassoulet, even if it is hard to digest the beans. It is a wonderful Gascon dish from the southwest of France, and D’Artagnan makes it very easy to make with their wonderful kit of delicious, high quality products–all natural meats with no fillers, additives or preservatives, using traditional recipes and techniques. The kit comes with the,default,pg.html