The caption for the above picture should be “get into my belly now.” These paleo pulled pork sliders from the brand new cookbook Down South Paleo are absolutely as good as they look! You definitely want this recipe and I’m thrilled that Jennifer Robins, the author and powerhouse behind the successful blog Predominantly Paleo, has given me permission to share her recipe and even gave the OK for me to provide suggestions for making the recipe paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) friendly.
If you are reading this post before August 17, you can also enter to win a copy at the bottom of this post. Simply post a comment telling me which recipe (bolded in the review) you are most excited about and then verify your entry using the Rafflecopter widget. Entries will close at midnight on Monday, August 17 and a winner will be randomly selected and notified on August 18. [Open to US residents only.]
UPDATE (August 16, 2015): This is now an autographed copy of Down South Paleo! Here is a picture of Jennifer signing it at her launch party today here in Alexandria, Virginia…
What makes Down South Paleo so great?
Jennifer is a fourth-generation Texan who wasn’t willing to give up her favorite comfort foods even when she realized she needed to change her way of eating to deal with a major autoimmune health crisis. Down South Paleo features more than 100 recipes for comforting family favorites from south of the Mason-Dixon line, including soul food, Tex-Mex, Cajun and creole, and Gulf seafood-inspired dishes – all of them free of grains, dairy, soy, refined sugar, and other junky ingredients. The book is also infused with Jennifer’s charm and wit, evidenced by the cheeky chapter titles such as “When the Rooster Crows” for breakfast dishes, “Roughage” for salads, and “Wet Your Whistle” for cold and hot beverages, which is a category most paleo cookbooks seem to omit but something even a Southern transplant like myself knows is a key element of good living, especially on hot summer afternoons (hello there Naturally Sweetened Sweet Tea!).
We were fortunate to get an advance copy of the book and have been enjoying perusing and cooking from it for a few days now. The first recipe we made were the Cajun-Spiced Chicken Wings and the accompanying dairy-free Ranch Dressing. There are a lot of wing recipes and techniques out there and I haven’t met one yet that I didn’t like, but this one is different in that it features a technique that creates a crispy exterior without needing a deep fryer.
I also made the Stuffed Poblano Peppers, a grain and dairy free variation on the Tex-Mex favorite, and followed it up with the Mixed Berry Cobbler for dessert, which I immediately highlighted because I notice it was AIP-friendly without any modifications needed (more on that later…). Finally, the star of the book so far has been the Sweet & Savory Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, which I share at the end of this post. Mr. Gutsy couldn’t resist the aroma and ate his portion straight out of the slow cooker as he was shredding the meat, but I had a wee bit more patience and paired mine with the Sweet Potato Slider Buns!
Other recipes that I have flagged and can’t wait to make are the Corned Beef Hash with Brown Gravy, the Coconut Pancakes with Peach Compote, and the southern classic Grandma’s Grain-Free Biscuits and Sausage Gravy from the breakfast chapter. For dinner, I’m looking forward to the delectable sounding Mama’s Fried Chicken and Mr. Gutsy wants me to make him the New Orleans Jambalaya as soon as possible! When the freezing weather arrives in Virginia and I still have tomatoes on the vine I know I will be turning to this book for Fried Green Tomatoes and I guess I need to throw a party for an excuse to make the Lump Crab Hushpuppies and other “Nibbles.”
Baked goods and sweets are a big part of Southern cooking, and though Jennifer acknowledges they shouldn’t make up the bulk of a health diet, she has obviously worked hard to come up with healthier versions of all her family favorites, including a Chocolate Chip Georgia Pecan Pie, Texas rodeo-inspired Funnel Cakes, and even a grain and dairy free version of Tres Leches Cake!
What about my healing diet?
Every single recipe in this book is gluten free, grain free, dairy free, and soy free so if you are following a standard paleo diet template, you will be able to open the book to any page and start cooking. You will also find additional allergen information in the headnotes to each recipe, so if you have sensitivities or allergies to nuts, eggs, or nightshades (or all three), you will be able to easily see which recipes will work for you.
If you are on the elimination phase of the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP), you will discover that nightshades and seed-based spices appear with relative frequency since they are traditional in many of the Southern cuisines that make up the basis for this book, but many recipes could be easily tweaked to remove those items. Many other recipes have just one or two non-AIP ingredients and would therefore be fine for people who have begun reintroducing foods into their diet.
The same goes for people following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and Low-FODMAP diets. If you know your restrictions and are comfortable making simple modifications, you will do just fine. If you make multiple sensitivities or are just starting out on the elimination phase of a healing diet, you may want to hold off on this one (though it would make a great holiday gift for the Southern food loving friends and family in your life!).
The Bottom Line
As a fellow current Virginia resident, I’ve had the privilege of getting Jennifer and her delightful family, and we’ve bonded over shared experiences with health difficulties, love of good food, and life as a military spouse. She is a warm and caring person and it is evident throughout this book. Oh, and the food is delicious!
I recommend this book for people who love any kind of food, particularly good Southern comfort food, but want to eat the healthiest possible versions of that food. If you cannot or choose not to eat gluten, grains, dairy, and/or soy then this would be perfect for you. If you have additional restrictions such as a need to avoid nuts, eggs, or nightshades, this book would still be a great addition to your paleo cookbook collection.
Sneak Peak: Recipe for Sweet and Savory Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
My suggestions for modifying this recipe to make it AIP-friendly are to eliminate the paprika, cumin, and mustard powder (paprika is a nightshade, cumin and mustard are seed-based spices) and replace them with a teaspoon of cinnamon and increase the garlic powder to 2 teaspoons.
- 1½ lbs (680 grams) pork loin or pork shoulder
- 1 onion, sliced into rings
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) sea salt
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon (1 g) dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- ¼ cup (50 g) coconut palm sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) local raw honey
- For serving: Sweet Potato Slider Buns (page 146 of Down South Paleo)
- Place the pork loin in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Place the onion rings around the pork.
- Sprinkle all the seasonings on top of the pork, saving the apple cider vinegar and honey for last.
- Once the pork has been seasoned, pour the vinegar on top of the pork and then drizzle the honey over the seasonings.
- Cook on high for about 4 hours, or until the meat shreds easily with a fork and knife.
- Serve on the Sweet Potato Slider Buns for a house full of smiles!
Enter to win a signed copy of Down South Paleo!
UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations Barbara H.!
Post a comment below that tells me which of the recipes in this book you are most excited to make or why you want to win this book. Then come back up here and verify your entry in the Rafflecopter widget. All entries will be verified – remember, open to US residents only.
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