Cuisine by Melissa Joulwan: Recipes from the Land

Recipes from Melissa Joulwan: Well Fed Books 1 & 2

Recipes courtesy of Melissa Joulwan, author of the cookbooks Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat and Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat. Find her on her blog at where she writes about her triumphs and failures in the kitchen, in the gym and in life.

Recipes from Melissa Joulwan: BigosBigos (Polish Hunter’s Stew)

Serves 6-8 | Prep 15 minutes | Cook 2 hours


  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4 ounces sugar-free bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds boneless stew meat, cubed: pork, veal, beef, or lamb
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound smoked kielbasa, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 3 pounds sauerkraut, drained
  • 3/4 cup pitted prunes, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine (optional)
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • garnish: fresh thyme or parsley, minced


  1. Place the mushrooms in a small bowl, cover with 1 1/2 cups boiling water, and let them rehydrate, about 1 hour. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mushrooms to a cutting board and roughly chop them. Set aside. Slowly pour the remaining soaking liquid into another bowl, being careful to leave behind any sediment from the mushrooms. Set the clear liquid aside.
  2. Place the chopped bacon in a cold Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium heat until the fat renders, about 12 minutes. Remove the bacon to a large bowl, leaving the fat in the pan. Sprinkle the meat cubes with the salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the meat in the bacon fat until it’s nicely browned on all sides. As they brown, remove the cubes and place in the bowl with the bacon. Add the kielbasa chunks and cook until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to the meat bowl.
  3. To the fat in the pot, add the onion, caraway seeds, allspice, and bay leaves. Cook, scraping the bottom of pot, until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the sauerkraut, and cook, stirring, until it’s slightly wilted, about 2 minutes.
  4. Return the meat to the pot along with the reserved mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Add the prunes, beef stock, and wine; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Taste, then add salt and pepper, as necessary. Add the apples, and cook, covered, until the meat and apples are tender, about 30 minutes more. Garnish with fresh, minced herbs. Tastes great ladled over mashed cauliflower or alongside boiled potatoes.
Spiced Nuts

Makes 2 1/2 cups | Prep 5 minutes | Cook 20 minutes

Recipes from Melissa Joulwan: Spiced NutsINGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cup nuts – almonds, pecans, cashews and macadamias taste best
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Heat oil over medium-low heat, then add cumin and cayenne. Cook ’til fragrant, about 15 seconds.
  3. Pour oil over the nuts and toss well to coat. Add sugar and salt; toss to coat.
  4. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for about 20 minutes, til they’re lightly browned. I like to check them at 10 minutes, rotate the pans, give ’em a shake, say hello.

I think they taste best at room temperature ’cause they’re crispy, but some people like them warm.

Marinated and Spiced OlivesRecipes from Melissa Joulwan: Marinated olives

Makes 4 cups | Prep 10 minutes


  • 4 cups black and/or green olives
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice or red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced
  • 2 orange slices
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium glass bowl or jar. Mix well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight. Store in a container with a good-fitting lid for up to a month.
  2. These are earthy and spicy and garlicky-good. The marinade makes a delicious dressing for other salad-type things, too. I threw some chopped hearts of palm into the bowl today, and I bet some roasted red peppers or artichoke hearts or pepperoncini (or all three!) would be genius, too.
  3. So there you have it: two great tastes that taste great together. Or separately. Do what makes you happy. I made both recipes for Christmas Eve so I can go back and forth between the two bowls with a fancy toothpick.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2015 Issue of LAND Magazine, a Lands of America print publication. Subscribe here today!


  • Show Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

You May Also Like

Bacchus Caves underground design

Bringing Luxury Caves to Texas

Bacchus Caves brings a one-of-a-kind underground luxury design to build experience to commercial and residential builders and owners throughout the United States, including the always innovative Texas market.

Local Food, Local Ranchers – Texas Style

This holiday season, will the turkey on your table come from Texas? Will your wine be made from West Texas ...

8 Amazing Vineyards for Sale

According to Wine America, the association of American wineries, the U.S. wine industry was valued at close to $5 billion ...