A Fast, a Workout, and a Braised Pot Roast

Yesterday I tweeted that I was 24 hours into a fast and had yet to experience any hunger. How did that happen? Well, I can't be sure, due too many variables, but what's interesting is that I began the fast about 11 AM day before yesterday, and with only one meal instead of a breakfast & lunch. Eggs & bacon it was.

Then I decided to do something I've not done before. I did this high-volume workout at 4 PM, 5 hours into the fast. Then I did 6-7 minutes in the cold cold water. I had no problem with hunger before bed, slept for a good 6-7 hours, woke up refreshed and waited to get hungry. It just didn't happen. The plan was to head over to the gym when the hunger came, and do a cold-water plunge again, as I've used that before to rid myself of hunger. But, I was fixing a big braised pot roast for family guests and I needed to get that started 4 hours ahead of time. So, I never did the second dip and broke the fast without really being hungry at about the 27 hour mark, munching on some nuts as I was making preparations.

Here's what went down.


Clockwise from the top left, you've got the 6 lbs boneless chuck, browned on all sides (in leaf lard), then in the same pot I just added a bit more lard, a small yellow onion, a bit of pine nuts I had left, and a good handful of chopped raw Brazil nuts and almonds. Once that was well sautéed, I added in about 1 1/2 cup of my home made bone broth I had left, deglazed the pot, and added a half-handful each of frozen cranberries and blackberries.

Then I packed in the roast, and because it was such a good pack with 6 lbs (average recipe would be 4), even the small amount of liquid nearly covered the meat. In a normal braise, you usually get best results with your liquid to about half, then turn the meat every hour. In this case, I turned the meat halfway through the 3 1/2 hour cooking, covered, at 300 deg in the oven.

Continuing with the photos, you have the finished meat laid out on a cookie sheet where I placed it in the oven for warming as I boiled another onion, a few carrots, one large sweet potato, and one large parsnip in the broth, which you see at the bottom left. Took about 20 minutes or so for the veggies to get soft. Then I removed them with a slotted spoon to the serving dish.

I then dissolved 1 heaping teaspoon of brown sugar in a bit of water, dribbled it on the meat, and put it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to glaze up. I also added two teaspoons of my Thai massaman curry paste to the broth — just enough to create mystery; but this also alleviates the need totally for any other spices (there's no salt, pepper, or any other spice in this).

The meat went into the serving dish with the veggies and the well-thickened broth got poured all over. The finish line:


The meat was fall-apart fork tender, and the six of us present accounted for all but about a pound of leftovers. I think everyone had a couple of servings like this:


Next week I will do a post on the complete process of making the bone broths. It is pretty easy to do, just takes a couple of days with the work coming at the beginning and the end.


  1. Aaron Blaisdell on April 30, 2009 at 15:41

    Oh, my mouth is watering big time! I've got some ribs in the freezer that I'm going to braise this weekend. And I'm making a chicken stock tonight since I'm just about out of it. I simmer a whole (~4-5 pound) free-range bird in a stock pot of water with onions, carrots, and celery for about 12 hours and then strain the stock and save the chicken meat and carrots to use throughout the week. This process is basically taken from Nourishing Traditions and Eat Fat, Lose Fat.

  2. Aaron Blaisdell on April 30, 2009 at 15:42

    Forgot to mention. When I make chicken stock, I also throw in about 4-6 chicken feet I pick up from the local Chinese grocer. They definitely boost the collagen content of the stock.

  3. Patrik on April 30, 2009 at 17:15

    Talk about food porn….Jesus effin' Christ that looks effin' good.

    I am about to leave for my CrossFit workout and these photos have very literally made my mouth water and stomach perk up and pay attention.

    However, eating will have to wait b/c there is no way you can eat hearty before you CF.

  4. Aaron Blaisdell on April 30, 2009 at 22:03

    Yes Richard, the collagen is what gives a good stock it's thickness. Some people mistake it for fat, as I used to. To have the same effect for beef or lamb stock, add the calves hoof or pigs feet. They all do the same thing since there is so much collagen for the pliable connective tissue holding the foot bones together.

    I agree with your experiences regarding your aunt's chicken stock. I have never tasted anything as potent and invigorating as the chicken and beef stocks I make. I use Sally Fallon's recipes from Nourishing Traditions. I'm looking forward to your version of beef stock. Btw, a couple of months ago I made a beef stock but didn't have beef ribs on hand. But I did have some lamb spare ribs from Trader Joes that came with a marinade. I just threw that in the pot with the marrow bones and it turned out fantastic!

  5. Richard Nikoley on April 30, 2009 at 17:37

    Does the collagen act as a natural thickener? If so, is there a beef product that would do the same thing? Or, maybe pig's feet? I wonder if adding a few to a beef/lamb stock would impart a chicken taste. And, I think they have chicken and pig's feet at the Mexican Mercado only 5 minutes walk away…

    I haven't done chicken stock, yet, but my aunt does (in addition to beef) this with 4 chickens in the large All-Clad crock pot. She then freezes the broth in ice trays. A few months back we went for dinner and she did a starter chicken soup, mostly broth, a little chicken, with cilantro and I think a bit of mint. Most deeply flavorful chicken soup I ever had; I mean it was a dark broth that just hit you to the tip of your toes with the flavor.

    She only used 2 cubes for the four of us, with probably 4-6 oz light servings each.

    Needless to say, I was impressed. Doing the stocks is definitely one of the "nourishing traditions" I'm all on board with.

  6. Karen on April 30, 2009 at 20:41

    Dogs LOVE chicken feet and they are good for them!

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  8. minneapolis J on May 1, 2009 at 11:32

    Richard, question. you still using uncured bacon?

    and how about on the eggs and roast, is the meat grassfed?

    just wondering.

    man, if i lived in san jose area like most of my family, id have to stop over sometime. i wish i knew how to make your coconut poached salmon.

  9. Robert M. on May 1, 2009 at 16:01


    On the chicken feet question, I would think that you could add chicken feet to a beef stock and not get much of a chicken flavour from them, but I'm just guessing.

    Oh yeah, if that's powdered coconut milk in the background of the picture of the giant hunk of meat, you might want to check and make sure your brand doesn't have wheat flour in it. Just about anything that's powdered seems to have flour in it.

  10. Richard Nikoley on May 1, 2009 at 11:54

    I do not personally make a big deal over grassfed, and I never will. I get
    it, sometimes. Don't think it makes a hill of beans difference to actual
    health and body comp.

    Plus, I consider it unseemly to harp / brag about it.

    I do a lot of eye rolling on this issue on other blogs.

  11. Richard Nikoley on May 1, 2009 at 18:33

    It's actually a pack of frozen c-milk defrosting, just in case (didn't need it). The ingredients are coconut & water.

    I have a pack of c-flour from Whole Foods that I believe has nothing but dried & milled coconut meat.

    Richard Nikoley

  12. John Campbell on May 2, 2009 at 13:11

    Richard – I am not sure on the grass fed either – it is not easy to come by here at home.

    I used to be quite skeptical of "organic" but I am coming around on that because it usually tastes so much better. I have bought organic pork chops and I could not believe how good they tasted – they smelled great in the raw state – no piggy odor. And pan fried in lots of butter – absolutely delicious – best pork I have ever eaten. Among the best paleo fast food I have ever eaten. Healthier or not – they were so tasty and so worth it. I should add they had been flash frozen, but they were fresher than any other pork I had ever experienced and I love pork!

    You could get a gig as a paleo chef – that dinner looks so good – that is what I call a "break-fast" – lucky dinner guests! I could email you my mailing address so you can fedex the leftovers in future – in case your fridge is too full.

  13. Richard Nikoley on May 2, 2009 at 13:52

    Wife & I ate 'em the next day, and a newphew dropped by and scafed two helpings…

    Yea, I like the organic stuff. In some cases, grassfed beef has not lived up in terms of taste. The biggie for me is wild caught fish vs. farmed. Huge difference there 100% of the time.

  14. Richard Nikoley on May 3, 2009 at 09:57

    I had thought of that, as my father-in-law uses them in his soup:


  15. Monica on May 3, 2009 at 09:41

    Hey, Richard. I use oxtails in my stock. I find that they make a very rich stock. Super yummy.

  16. Monica on May 3, 2009 at 09:44

    Hi Richard — my last comment was deleted for some reason, I think.

    I use oxtails for stock. They make a very rich stock, delicious!

  17. Aaron Blaisdell on May 3, 2009 at 20:52

    Just finished wolfing down a nice meal of braised beef ribs over rice pasta (gotta get the kids to eat this stuff somehow–but at least I did it without wheat). I don't like to use multiple pans, so I did everything (except the pasta) in an 8-quart stock pot. First I browned the meat in 1/2 cup of bacon fat I saved from this morning's breakfast (I use non-nitrate, non-cured bacon from Whole Foods). I then removed the meat and browned some carrots and celery (was out of onions or I'd have added them, too). Then I put the meat back in, added a liberal dose of red wine, some salt and pepper, and two cups of chicken stock (which I made two nights ago). I let that simmer for about 5 hours, turning and mushing things down periodically. At four hours into the simmering, I added some more wine and water so there would be plenty of sauce for the pasta.

    By the time I dished the meat and juices over the pasta it was falling off the bone leaving clean white bones in the pot and glistening fatty meat with and deep red and brown sauce. My wife loved it which made me smile. Then our Chinese nanny arrived and immediately upon entering the house said "hen xiang [smells good!]" to which I replied "niu ro [beef]". It definitely gives me a sense of pride to know I can provide such nutritious and delicious meals. Even my 3.5 year old ate all her beef, though she did complain a little bit. The amazing thing about eating like this is the complete sense of calmness that infuses the body and soul afterward. All I ever used to get from a tasty bowl of spaghetti and meat sauce was some indigestion and bad gas the rest of the night. Oh and the brain fog, too.

  18. Richard Nikoley on May 4, 2009 at 09:27

    Quite a deal. And, yes, it's amazing to watch how much meat friends and family will put away when prepared this way.

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