Fall Comfort Food
Meg Opel is the author and chef behind the blog Peaches & Cake where she shares crowd-pleasing primal recipes and entertaining tips. Driven by the belief that inviting people into your home is the most intimate act of kindness, Meg started her blog to inspire others to host their own dinner parties. Meg’s recipes are developed with a focus on feeding a crowd of both picky eaters and finer palates. Connect with Meg on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Balsamic Braised Pork Chops with Caramelized Onion and Apple Jam
Makes 2 servings
- 2 bone-in pork chops
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp. grass-fed butter, divided
- 3 medium or 6 small red onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 large organic apple, sliced into 1/4 inch matchsticks (I used Fuji.)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
- In a large stainless steel sauté pan over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon butter. Add the onion and apple slices and partially cover the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fully caramelized and tender, about 45 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the vinegar and thyme. Cook until the liquid is thickened and reduced by half, 5-7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, season the pork with salt and pepper. In a separate sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbsp. butter and swirl around the pan. Add the pork tenderloins and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature of the pork registers 140-145°F.
- Serve the pork with the caramelized onions and apples. Garnish with chopped fresh thyme and serve immediately.
Pulled Barbacoa Beef
Makes 6 serves
- 1/2 tsp. chipotle chile powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground clove
- 1 Tbsp. kosher or sea salt
- 1 whole head garlic, peeled and cloves smashed
- 1/4 c. fresh lime juice
- 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves (about 1 cup)
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 5 dry bay leaves
- 3-4 pounds beef chuck roast (shoulder roast)
- 4 cups beef or chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Add chipotle powder, ground clove, salt, garlic, lime juice, cider vinegar, tomato paste, cilantro, and red onion to a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Place beef in a Dutch oven. Pour barbacoa sauce on top of beef. Add stock around the meat and place bay leaves on top. Use tongs to move the meat around gently to combine everything. Cover with lid.
- Cook for 5 hours until fork tender. Remove the beef and shred with two forks. Remove bay leaves from barbacoa sauce. Add a few spoonfuls of the barbacoa sauce to the beef and mix. Keep warm and serve. Excellent served in a Mexican fajita spread with avocado, cilantro, chopped tomato, and shredded lettuce.
- To make ahead and reheat: Preheat oven to 250°F. Place beef in oven-safe serving dish and cover with foil. Reheat in oven until warmed through.
Pulled Mexican Chicken
Makes 6 servings
- 1 5-lb. whole pastured chicken (or substitute chicken thighs)
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp. chipotle chile powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Juice of 1 large lime
- Chicken stock or water, for warming, if necessary
- Mix Kosher salt, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, chipotle chile powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Place the onions in a slow cooker. Add chicken breast-side down. Season chicken all over with half of spice mixture. Cook on high for 3 hours or until cooked through. Remove from slow cooker, let cool, and shred. Save the skin and bones for making chicken stock.
- Add remaining half of spice mixture and lime juice to shredded chicken and mix well. Keep warm and serve. Excellent served in a Mexican fajita spread with avocado, cilantro, chopped tomato, and shredded lettuce.
- *To make ahead and reheat: Preheat oven to 250°F. Place chicken in oven-safe serving dish. Sprinkle with chicken stock or water, cover with foil, and heat until warmed through.
Makes 12 servings
*Tip: Chop the vegetables one at a time in a food processor to save time. Buy organic ingredients wherever possible.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
- 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
- 1 lb. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 16 oz. white mushrooms, chopped
- 3/4 cup diced carrot
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups good-quality dry red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2 (28-oz) cans organic San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. dried basil
- Sea salt or garlic salt, to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Zucchini noodles, roasted spaghetti squash, or cooked gluten-free pasta, for serving
- Shredded raw grass-fed mozzarella cheese, for serving
- Fresh basil, for serving
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, mushrooms, carrot, red and green bell peppers, and garlic. Season with fresh ground pepper. Sauté for about fifteen minutes, until vegetables are soft. Add the wine and cook for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a separate sauté pan, add the ground beef and sausage meat. Cook until meat browns, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Drain the fat and add meat to the pot of sautéed vegetables.
- Add whole peeled tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, bay leaf, and a few generous grinds of salt or garlic salt, fresh ground pepper. Stir well, breaking the tomato chunks up with a spoon, and bring sauce to a simmer.
- Simmer sauce over low heat for 1 1/2 hours or longer, stirring occasionally. Taste it as you cook, adding more wine, spices, or salt to your liking. The longer it cooks, the better.
- Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the red pepper flakes.
- Serve garnished with fresh basil and shredded mozzarella cheese over warmed zucchini noodles (zoodles)*, roasted spaghetti squash, or cooked gluten-free pasta.
- Transfer leftovers to individual containers and refrigerate or freeze. Sauce will taste better the next day, after flavors have time to meld. Reheat in a small saucepan over the stove.
*To make zoodles, slice zucchini with a julienne peeler. Warm a little olive oil or butter in a sauté pan. Add noodles and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for a few minutes until warmed through. Serve with sauce.