Chopped; Wheat Free Style!

IMG_0584Ever watch Chopped on Food Network? I love that show.  Each contestant gets 3-4 weird to normal ingredients that must be in their final dish.  The dish must be tasty, look good and they have to transform the ingredients.  I am fascinated by what they are able to create in a limited time.  Check it out sometime.

So, I often play my home version of Chopped.  But I don’t limit myself to 20 or 30 minutes nor do I ask myself to radically transform the ingredients.  My rules are that I must make something yummy for supper using ingredients I already have in my kitchen and at least 2-3 that I must include in that particular meal.  Generally I have limited time to throw it together due to my hectic work schedule.  So, sort of like a Chopped episode.  At least I don’t have 3 other chefs there trying to out cook me!

Tonight I had a package of chicken thighs, a head of cauliflower, and half a lemon to build a dinner around.  I added potatoes, onions and garlic as well as some herbs to create a lovely one dish meal that was done in less than an hour.  I started it roasting and was able to complete some chores before sitting down to a wonderful supper.  I did supplement it with a salad of kale, celery and some cooked broccoli, topped off with my own olive oil vinaigrette.  I suppose you could use another cut of chicken, just adjust your cooking time accordingly but thighs cook long and that gave my vegetables enough time to be soft and lightly browned for perfect flavor and texture.  Here is my roughed out recipe

Feeds 4


One package of 4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed

2 Tbsp sweet brown rice flour (can use plain brown rice or sweet white rice flour)

¼ tsp paprika

¼ plus ½  tsp dried thyme

½ to 1 tsp sea salt, good sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper

1 to 2 Tbsp mild olive oil

½ a head of cauliflower, cut up into 2 inch florets

½ a lemon; make zest strips from the skin and you will use the juice too

1 medium yellow onion

2 garlic cloves

3 large russet potatoes

1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup chicken broth.

So I took the flour and put it in a large baggie, added the herbs, salt, black pepper.  Shook them up and shook each chicken thigh in the baggie briefly to coat it.  Heat 1 to 2 Tbps. olive oil in a large frying pan, when hot, add the chicken thighs.  They should not touch each other.  Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned.  I turn them with my old school metal tongs, the kind with the rounded ends, they look like weird scissors.  Perfect for turning chicken pieces.

While it browns get the veggies ready.  Spray a 9×13 glass or ceramic low sided casserole dish with canola or olive oil cooking spray.  Peel and cut the garlic cloves in half, throw in.  Wash and cut the potatoes into 1 inch wide wedges, cut them across into short wedges.  Throw in.  Cut up the onion into 1 inch long chunks, toss in.  Toss in the cauliflower florets. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the veggies. Drizzle the juice of the lemon over it and cut up the lemon half and sprinkle small pieces on the dish. Sprinkle them with some more thyme; maybe another ¼ tsp.  Sprinkle with more salt if you like and some fresh ground black pepper.  Nestle the chicken thighs in there, pour the chicken broth over it.  I had some homemade leftover from another meal and it was perfect for this, I even left the chicken fat in it for extra flavor.  Cover the casserole with a sheet of aluminum foil.  Bake in 375 oven for 45 minutes to an hour; until veggies are done when poked with fork and chicken pieces are also done; clear liquid only when pierced.

Dig in and enjoy the subtle flavor of the lemon and herbs with the chicken and cauliflower along with the mellow flavor of the potatoes, onion and garlic.  Simple and gluten free  and a perfect meal on a chilly spring evening.    Use your favorite gf flour for the chicken dipping.  Most any kind will work.  I am betting you could change out the veggies to suit what you have around the house.  Healthy, tasty and cheap especially if you get the cauliflower on sale.  I think I am almost ready for my Chopped episode!

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