Curried Ground Pork with Carrots and Celery

Last weekend Brent and I bought a couple cookbooks on sale at the local Barnes & Noble, and one of them was called The Curry Bible. Brent and I love food. Yes, we eat Paleo more and more frequently; but we love food, all kinds of it. Curry is one of my favorite things to eat out. All this Paleo business has kept us from going out to eat. Now, that’s awesome because we’re saving big money not eating out. But it’s a little less awesome because we’re not going out to eat for some of our favorite things (like curry!).

So, this weekend, despite being insanely busy (and not with the usual stuff like cleaning house and grocery shopping and cooking multiple big meals to have all week), I made sure to make some time for experimentation.
My one and only curry recipe that I make at home is a peanut-butter curry chicken. OMG I love that stuff. YUM. It is near and dear to my heart, but alas, peanuts are a legume and thus off-limits all through the Whole30 Challenge (oh wait, that’s right, it’s over! woah…) and generally not acceptable even when we’re doing a 80/20 approach to Paleo. You know–80% Paleo, 20% whatever-we-want.
I guess Brent and I are pretty much sticking to Paleo (at least 80/20) from now on, with the occasional cheat day. This isn’t an official decision, just something that seems to be happening. So, still in this 100% Paleo mindset and knowing that we had approximately 1 pound of ground pork desperately in need of being used hanging out in the fridge, I decided to try creating my own curried ground pork recipe. We also had plenty of onion and garlic (typical), lots spices in the cabinet (also typical), and a few select veggies in the fridge (carrots and celery, also in desperate need of being used soon). 
I started by looking through a few recipes in The Curry Bible. Then, I rummaged through our pantry and sniffed (yes, literally sniffed) a variety of different spices next to the curry powder.  This may sound a bit silly, but I find it very effective: I hold the curry powder in one hand near my nose, and then in the other hand hold one or two other spices at a time; I then sniff all three more or less at the same time, somewhat waving them in front of my nose so I can get all the scents as close to simultaneously as possible. In this case, I feel pretty confident it worked out. 
And so, without further adieu, here is my new Curried Ground Pork with Carrots and Celery recipe…
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Ingredients (roughly, in order of when you need them):
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (approx. 1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced or pressed)
  • 6-8 thin carrots, cut into 1-inch sticks (approx. 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups) 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated with a microplane or grater (or simply minced)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 and 1/2 cup coconut milk 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam marsala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3-4 celery stalks, chopped (approx. 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups)
*Note: This picture of all the ingredients includes one I didn’t list above: red pepper flakes. Originally, I planned to sprinkler a few in to give the curry extra kick. But as I cooked it, I realized that there was plenty of delicious flavor coming from the curry powder and other spices. So I didn’t use the red pepper flakes. If you do use them or some other heat/kick-adding ingredient, let me know how it goes!
Method:
1. Heat ghee over medium-high in a large, high-walled pan.
2. Saute onion, garlic and carrots in the ghee for about 2 minutes.
3. Add the ginger and ground pork. Sautee everything together, breaking up the ground pork with your spatula until the ground pork is nearly cooked through (most of it should not be pink, but it’s ok if a little is). 
I admit, I forgot to time step 3. I *think* it took about 6-8 minutes for the pork to become mostly cooked through, but please don’t quote me on that. Make sure you pay close attention and keep breaking it up and moving things around.
5. Add coconut milk and spices. Stir well to blend it all together.
6. Add the celery.
7. Bring the whole mixture back to a low bubble and then turn the heat down to medium-low.
8. Let it simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes. This will allow some of the liquid to reduce while all the yummy flavors congeal.
9. Serve in bowls and enjoy! OR let it cool, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator over night to let the flavors mingle even longer before eating it. 🙂
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I taste-tested this throughout the cooking process to make sure I was adding just the right amount of curry and other spices, as well as to make sure it came out delicious overall. 
I think it’s awesome! And Brent did say it smelled amazing. 🙂 But Brent and I actually haven’t eaten it yet (even though I made it last night, just before we went out to dinner with friends who were visiting DC this weekend and wanted to see us). 
Why? Well, I planned for us to have it for dinner tonight. But, around 1 p.m. today, we got an invite to go to another friend’s cook-out this evening. So we had yummy grilled pork/onion/bell pepper skewers with veggies and other yummy sides. Tomorrow, we will “officially” get to taste this curry ground pork and I will be able to add a little note about how good (or bad–hopefully, not!) this recipe actually is.
If you try it, please let me know what you think! Feedback is key to perfecting recipes. 🙂

Curry Dill Tilapia Filets

Tonight’s dinner was a really quick and easy preparation of tilapia and asparagus.  It was a long day and we just wanted something thrown together that would be as hands-off as possible.  This is what we came up with:

  • 4 tilapia filets 
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp fresh torn dill
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
How to:
  • Pre-heat oven to 350ºF
  • Melt ghee in a small bowl and add in curry, dill, and garlic powder.
  • Place tilapia on stick-free baking sheet.
  • Paint tilapia with ghee mixture.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, until it easily flakes with a fork.
All you need for the asparagus is to blanch it in boiling water for 3-4 minutes and then transfer to cold water.  We had dinner made in about 30 minutes total and might even have some leftovers for tomorrow.  Just watch out for bones; we only found a few, but it could have been bad if we weren’t expecting it.