The Ancestral Table Review and Chile con Carne Recipe
About the Author
Russian translator by day, Paleo food blogger by night, Russ Crandall (aka "The Domestic Man") is a culinary force to be reckoned with.
Russ suffered from a stroke in his twenties, an unexpected experience that revealed that he suffered from a rare inflammatory disease. His treatment involved massive doses of steroid medications which, coupled with his inability to exercise, led to weight gain and general malaise.
Always a cooking buff, Russ began exploring ways to treat inflammation through food. He eventually stumbled upon the Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet and found that his symptoms began to improve with traditional foods like white rice cooked in bone broth, vegetables cooked in animal fat, and fermented everything.
Why You Should Buy The Ancestral Table
All too often, cookbook authors attempt to reinvent "the wheel". They experiment with flavor combinations that seem "unique" and "creative" on paper but fall flat in practice.
By rooting his recipes in the culinary traditions of France, South East Asia, India, and even American Soul Food, Russ embraces tried and true flavors, comfort foods that are immediately familiar and welcoming. At the same time however, science informs his ingredient selection, and as such, he has eliminated things like gluten, refined sugar, and other items that can impair health.
With "The Ancestral Table" you literally get the best of both worlds.
What People are Saying
"I will start this by saying that I follow a mostly paleo diet, but I have found that the Perfect Health Diet allows me a little more flexibility and I feel every bit as good as when I follow a strict paleo diet. I must have gone back and forth a dozen times trying to decide if I was going to buy this book. There have been a glut of paleo cookbooks recently and I have really not been that impressed. And I was strongly berated for giving 3 stars to another popular paleo cookbook because there was really nothing in it that I would fix. I was really expecting more of the same.
But I ended up making the purchase and I am soooo glad I did. I would have to say that I will make 80-85% of the recipes in this book, which is near perfect considering personal tastes. I have a wheat allergy and there are certain foods that I just crave and I cant have them. I am not sure how he knew, but they are ALL in this book. Pizza. Check. Pao de quejo. Check. Gnocchi. Check. And even the things that are not wheat dependent...how did he know? Chicken fried steak? Butter Chicken? Bibimbap? Saag Paneer? Literally all of my favorites from pretty much every cuisine.
More importantly, I think that the Perfect Health Diet is one of the greatest contributions to the health book sector in a long time, but it is difficult to apply. This book gives you a range of great options. I am literally so excited I am like a kid in a candy store. What on earth will I make first?
BRAVO! Thank you Russ!"
"Let me start by saying I'm not a paleo eater. I was drawn to this book because I'd seen the pictures of the Domestic Man's food around the Internet. I wasn't disappointed.
The recipes are a tour of historical cultural dishes from around the world. Each one has accessible ingredients and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. Best of all, for each recipe Crandall includes the history and traditions of the dish.
My favorite part of the book is the beginning, where Crandall explains how ingredients in his book pair together, the jobs of every kitchen utensil, pot, or dish, and even has an extended section on proper ways to barbecue. It's heaven for food geeks.
A lot of the recipes use potatoes and rice, which I didn't know were against some people's definition of paleo, but I'm glad Crandall decides to buck those rules. Again, I'm not paleo, but I did think it was thoughtful of him to include itemized substitutions for people who do follow these a stricter version of the diet.
Crandall tells his own story in the beginning of the book. He's had health problems, and for him eating paleo has helped him live a fuller, active life. That definitely shows in the book. This guy loves food, and loves sharing his food with you. Everything, from the pictures, the descriptions, and the care given to every ingredient shows that he wants you to appreciate food as much as he does.
I'd be really excited to read a non-cookbook by him, just about food."
The Ancestral Table "Chile con Carne"
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 TBSP butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 TBSP, ground coriander
1 TBSP ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 lbs grass-fed beef
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 (14.5 oz) cans pureed tomatoes
8oz smoked sausage (such as andouille or linguica), cut in half lengthwise then cut into 1” pieces
2 TBSP mayonnaise (for a Paleo-friendly recipe, check out this one from WellFed)
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1 lb prepared yuca (cassava), cut into 1” squares (optional, and not included in the original recipe, but I think the starch balanced the meaty chile very nicely)
Sriracha hot sauce (for a Paleo-friendly recipe, check out this one from NomNomPaleo)
In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, spices, and bay leaves and sauté for an additional minute. Add the ground beef directly to the pan and cook until browned. Add tomatoes (both the diced and pureed), cover the pot, and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Allow the chili to cook for 1 hour.
In a separate pan, brown the sausage over medium heat. Remove the lid from the chili and add the sausage and prepared yuca. Allow to simmer for an additional hour.
Ten minutes before serving, stir in the mayonnaise and cocoa powder. Taste the chili and adjust the seasoning to your liking, adding more salt, pepper, or cayenne/red pepper if desired.
Garnish with a dollop of guacamole and a drizzle of sriracha.