Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Gluten-Free Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

When it comes taking a night off from making dinner, I have two choices: Papa John's or my crock pot. Sure, the crock pot requires some effort hours beforehand, but Papa John's is chock full of MSG(but soooo yummy. I GET THE GREASE BUCKET!) and realistically requires MUCH more work when you consider that a meal for my family of six costs $40 there, and the 100% organic crock pot meal I made for this post cost about $8. Crock pot it is!
  Usually I make things that are allergy-friendly in our home, which means free of nightshades(eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes), chicken, pork, apple, chocolate, and more, but this is my oldest's favorite meal, so sometimes I make an exception and my allergy guy gets bits and pieces supplemented by components pulled from the fridge to make it a complete meal. Today is one of them. Quick and easy gluten-free cacciatore chicken. Gluten-free? What do you coat the chicken  with? Do you fry it first? Sorry, friends, but if you're married to the oil-fried breading that usully falls off to thicken the sauce while you simmer the pot any way then this recipe isn't for you. Phew! Aren't you glad I saved you the time reading the rest of this post. ;-) Besides, I find the fried breading to thicken the sauce quite unnecessary because the low-and-slow method of cooking in the crock pot makes for a nice thick and rick consistency all on its own. This is a wholesome, organic, super easy, clean-eating approach to a popular Italian dish that, aside from the fried chicken component, is a dead-ringer for the classic dish.

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 bone-in chicken portions(we like drums)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 28-oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine(optional)
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Directions:
Julienne(slice into very thin strips) the pepper and onions, chop the mushrooms, and place all in the bottom of the crock pot, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I'm a big believer in flavoring every layer. 

 Lay the chicken portions over the top of the julienned veggies, and again sprinkle with some sea salt and fresh black pepper. 

   Pour the tomatoes (and wine if you're using it) over the top of the chicken, again sprinkle with some sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. 

Cover, turn the crock pot on low. This will take 4-6 hours, depending on your particular crock pot. To be totally sure your dish is cooked through, pull out a chicken portion and get a temperature reading right at the deepest bone inside. The minimum temperature should be 165F. 


Now comes the hard part: Deciding what to serve it over. There is great controversy among Italians whether the proper mate for chicken cacciatore is rice or pasta. I defy you all. Let's go with quinoa. Quinoa is as easy to cook as rice, has barely any difference in taste and texture, but is far healthier. It is rich in protein, and if you sprout it(we do, but it's not required) its nutrients are very easily absorbed into the body. Just 1 cup of quinoa, 2 cups vegetable stock, a dash each of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, bring it to a boil, then simmer on medium-low for ten minutes. Is that like instant rice or what?! It's just as easy as ordering pizza! Obviously you can serve this on whichever food vehicle you want. Do what works for you. Enjoy! 


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