slow roast chicken and vegetable-thickened gravy

For more than 15 years, I’ve been the gravy-stirrer at my family Thanksgiving.  I dutifully scraped the brown bits off the bottom of the roasting pan, sprinkled in just enough flour to “soak up” the fat, whisked in water (and occasionally potato water from the mashed potatoes), adjusted the seasonings, and stirred and stirred and stirred.

When I went gluten-free about a year and a half ago, I knew I was going to miss gravy.  Of course you can experiment with alternate thickeners: corn starch, arrowroot, tapioca.  But those types of thickeners tend to make a particular type of sauce; much more like a Chinese-style sweet-and-sour sauce than a flour roux-thickened gravy or white sauce.

Then I found this recipe, which uses the vegetables cooked in the bottom of the slow cooker to thicken the gravy.  It emulates the texture of a traditional gravy, and adds even more flavor with the roasted onions and garlic.  I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit, and this is my favorite version.

Adaptations for slow cooker and pressure cooker are at the end of the recipe after the jump.

 

Preheat the oven to 250 F.

The gravy is thickened with 1 extra large oven onion (or equivalent), 1 clove of garlic, 1 tsp. of tomato paste, and 1 tsp. of coconut oil (or other cooking oil of your choice).

 

Chop the onion into fairly large chunks, like so:

 

Smash the garlic clove and peel it.

 

Put the chopped onions, smashed garlic clove, coconut oil, tomato paste, salt and pepper in a large dutch oven (off heat).

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Stir the vegetables until the tomato coats everything evenly.  The coconut oil helps with this, but it still takes a good minute to get everything combined.

 

Take a whole chicken, and put it breast-up on top of the vegetables.  Season as desired–I just used salt and pepper here.

 

Flip the chicken over, and season the back side.  The chicken will cook breast-down

 

Put the lid on the pot and slide it in the oven.

 

Cook for two and a half hours.  Remove the chicken to a plate and cover it with foil.

Return the pot to the stovetop, and turn the heat to medium-high.  Once the vegetables boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.

 

Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly.

 

Blend the mixture.  I use an immersion blender and the cup the that came with the blender.

If the gravy is too thick, you can add some of the juices that gathered under the chicken while it was resting.

Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Feel free to  play around with the vegetables to your preferences.  The recipe I started with called for several cloves of garlic, but I found the sweet, roasted-garlic flavor to be overwhelming.  I like the gravy with all onion, and next time I’m going to try to add a couple of leeks in as well!

Keeps in the fridge covered for a week.

click through for written recipe, plus slow-cooker and pressure-cooker variations Continue reading

mustard roasted potatoes

Mix dressing ingredients (top panel) together.  Parboil potatoes, toss with dressing.  Broil six minutes, stirring halfway through.  Top with sunny-side-up egg (optional).

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Migas

I eat scrambled eggs for breakfast most mornings.  From time to time, I mix it up by making migas.  We buy chips and salsa almost every week, but they disappear pretty fast around here, since they are Alan’s favorite snack.

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Apple Crisp

 

apple crisp  |  Eliza Everyday

I’ve tried bunches of Paleo/grain-free crisps and crumbles, and they were never quite “right” to me.  So I made this one up, and it is everything I want in a crumble: sweet, tender-yet-crispy, delicious.  I usually make it with sour cherries and almond extract.  This is the apple-cinnamon version.

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Bang Bang Shrimp

There’s a seafood restaurant here in town that’s amazing, but a bit expensive. Alan and I used to go, spend a fortune on dinner, and leave stuffed.  But recently we’ve been ordering off the appetizer menu: bisque for me, chowder for him, salad, and bang bang shrimp to share.  It’s much more affordable, and just the right amount of food.

I am gluten intolerant, and avoid gluten as much as I can.  So I decided to try to make the shrimp at home, breaded in coconut flour, not wheat flour.  It took a few tries to get it right.  First, I used all coconut flour, which was too strongly flavored and too dense.  So I added some arrowroot powder to lighten the breading.

Then I stopped double-breading the shrimp, and switched to single-breading.  I would toss the raw shrimp into the coconut/arrowroot, then into the egg wash, then back into the coconut/arrowroot.  Again, it was too thick, too dense.  A lot of fried shrimp recipes are super breaded, but I decided I like a slightly more delicate crust.

I use bottled sweet chili sauce and bottled Sriracha sauce for this.  I’m going to try to make paleo versions of both (sweet chili, Sriracha), to make this even healthier.

Here’s my recipe and technique.  I can actually whip this up in about a half-hour after school, which makes a seemingly complicated recipe weeknight-friendly!

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Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust

First of all, almost Happy Thanksgiving!  We have two thanksgivings this year: an “early Thanksgiving” with some friends tonight, and then we’re headed to my aunt’s for a family Thanksgiving tomorrow afternoon.  Good thing I love turkey (I do!).

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust

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Homemade Frappuccino

Alan likes his coffee two ways: hot and black, or in a frappuccino.  I like coffee one half of one way: a pinch of espresso in a chocolate cake.  A few months ago I read this post on iced coffee, and realized that my failed attempts to make frappuccinos resulted from the fact that I was using regular-strength cold brewed coffee.  I decided to experiment with a small amount of instant espresso powder in some warm water, and it totally worked!

  • 1 heaping Tbsp. instant espresso
  • about 2 Tbsp. warm water
  • 1 Tbsp. flavoring: flavored creamer, chocolate syrup OR simple syrup
  • ice
  • milk
  • whipped cream
 

I make the frappuccinos in a regular-mouth pint jar.  The advantage is that they screw perfectly into my blender—a standard Hamilton Beach model.  You could use a Magic Bullet blender, using the same process.  I imagine a Blendtec or Vitamix would be just fine, but you’d have to make it in the blender and decant it into a glass later.

Measure out one heaping tablespoon of instant espresso, and put it in the jar

Run some warm water from the faucet, and add a bit to the jar as well.  I usually eyeball it—just enough to dissolve the espresso.

Now add one tablespoon of flavoring.  Chocolate syrup makes a mocha frappuccino.  Simple syrup (1 c. white sugar and 1 c. water heated just until the sugar dissolves) makes a coffee frappuccino.  For other flavors, I bought some Bailey’s coffee creamers.  I chose them because they are made with milk, not non-dairy hydrogenated oils.  I have French Vanilla (shown here), Hazelnut, and Irish Cream.

Then fill the jar almost to the top with ice.  Leave some space for the blade.

Next, pour milk in, again almost to the top.

Now, take the base of the blender and separate the two parts.

Place the blade part, blade-down, over the jar’s mouth.

Then screw the collar on to the jar, making sure it’s tight.

Now, invert the jar, and put the whole thing on the blender.

Blend on the highest setting—mine is called “icy drink” for about five seconds, or until the ice is very finely ground.

Unscrew the collar and remove the blade.  Top with whipped cream.

Serve with a wide plastic straw.

Alan says the frappuccinos are as good as Starbucks.  Once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy to whip one up in a few minutes, and they’re certainly cheaper!

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Turkey Meatballs

gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, dairy-free**  |  contains meat

 

This recipe is my own invention.  It combines ground turkey and poultry sausage for a more savory meatball.   Use caution when tasting the meatballs after they come out of the oven: they are so delicious you might eat them all before dinner!

 

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 TBSP. coconut flour
  • 2 TBSP. grated Parmesan cheese** OR 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 pound 93/7 ground turkey
  • 1 package hot Italian poultry sausage (usually about 1 1/2 pounds)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl
  • Add herbs (basil, oregano, red pepper), coconut flour, and cheese OR salt
  • Use a fine microplane grater or the fine side of a box grater to grate the garlic cloves, add to egg mixture
  • Gently stir the egg mixture until evenly combined
  • Use your fingers to add the turkey and sausage to the bowl with the egg mixture.  Break up the raw meat as you add it
  • Use your fingers to mix the meat into the eggs.  It’ll be messy; get everything thorougly combined.  But, don’t overmix!
  • Place rounded scoops—about 2 TBSP—on a cookie sheet about 1 inch apart
  • Bake for 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees
  • Remove from cookie sheet promptly, so they don’t stick
  • Serve with Simple Tomato Sauce

 

**choose salt option instead of Parmesan cheese to make dairy-free

 

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Simple Tomato Sauce

gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, lactose-free  |  contains milkfat

adapted from here and here

 

This is my very favorite tomato sauce recipe.  Growing up I disliked tomato sauce.  My mom would prepare pasta and dress it with butter and garlic powder.  I would eat my pasta plain, while the rest of the family enjoyed theirs with Prego marinara sauce.  Even as an adult, I don’t enjoy most red sauces.

This isn’t really a marinara sauce: there are no herbs or spices, there’s no garlic.  While I love garlic and Italian herbs in other dishes, this simple tomato sauce is perfect as is.  When I’m tasting the sauce for salt at the end, I have to keep myself from eating it by the spoonful—that’s how good it is!

 

 

Ingredients

  • 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. clarified butter or ghee**
  • 1 large white onion, cut in half
  • salt to taste

Directions

  • Combine tomatoes, butter and onion in a medium saucepan
  • Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer
  • Simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until onion is soft and the sauce is desired consistency
  • Remove the onion, discard
  • Salt to taste

**The original recipe calls for butter, which is delicious.  Feel free to substitute if you can tolerate lactose.

 

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