Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mandarin Orange Chicken - Gluten Free - Primal

Comfort food.  
Sometimes you just need some comfort food.  Comfort food meant many different things to me before living Gluten Free.  Now my definition of comfort food has changed and changed for the better.  Now I crave things that are full of good things for my body, that have some substance to them and that taste delicious.  This Mandarin Orange Chicken recipe fulfills all of those qualifications and more.  Plus for me, chicken just makes everything better.  Unless it's steak, then steak makes everything better.  Unless... :) 

4 chicken breasts or thighs
salt and pepper 
2 T Avocado Oil

Add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to a skillet on your stove top and turn the burner to medium heat.  
Add your chicken to the skillet that has been salt and peppered and cook until done.  (Deciding when your chicken is done will depend on if you use boneless or bone in meat, when the meat still has the bone attached to the meat your cooking time will need to be longer, please use a meat thermometer to know when your meat is truly cooked.) This post by the Global Post identifies the differences of cooking times and what the internal temperature should be when the meat is finished.

1 T Avocado Oil
1 cup freshly squeeze orange juice (prepared oj will work)
1/2 cup prepared orange marmalade
2 T Dijon mustard
1/2 scant teaspoon Rosemary (chopped)
15 oz can Mandarin Oranges (drained)
1/4 t orange zest
1 T arrowroot starch
1/3 cup liquid (drippings from the Mandarin oranges, water or more oj)

Cooking Tip:  Ever Try chopping dry Rosemary?  It's like herding cats, it's messy and hard to control.  Here's my tip for chopping some dried Rosemary and reducing it's ability to fly away with each cut of the knife.

Add your Rosemary to a cutting board, add a drop of liquid or oil, in this recipe you could use a couple of drops of orange juice and a few drops of avocado oil.  Use the tip of your knife or your finger to make sure all the Rosemary is covered in the liquid and then chop as desired.  The result will be nicely chopped Rosemary that is all still on your cutting board and not all over your counter and your floors.

- Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet and place onto a serving dish.  
- Add 1 T of avocado oil to the hot pan and scrape of any of the brown bits left from            cooking the chicken.  
 This is flavor people, use those brown bits to your advantage as often as possible.  
- After scraping the pan for a minute of two add the orange juice.  
- Continue scraping the bottom of the pan until most of the bits have released and the  orange juice is almost bubbling.  
- Add the orange marmalade and stir until it has melted into the juice.
- Now add the Rosemary and the Dijon Mustard and still until combined.
- Allow the sauce has come to a simmer cook for about 5 minutes to let the flavors  combine.
- In 1/3 cup liquid  add the arrowroot starch and stir the starch mixture until there are no    lumps.
- Slowly stir in the arrowroot starch liquid into the sauce, stop adding the starch when the  sauce reaches your desired thickness, You may not need all of the starch mixture.
- Turn the heat off and stir in the drained Mandarin Oranges gently.

I serve this dish over white rice and add a vegetable.  You can skip the rice but like I stated before this is comfort food to me and I will be using Rice.

Why not wild rice?  For those of us still having digestive upset wild grain rice can be extremely hard for your body to digest.  Society tells you that you must have all that fiber and that's hunky dory for everyone else, but for me it causes me more issues than advantage.  When you have any type of intestinal issue: leaky gut, IBS, Crohns, etc your body needs a little extra help in the digestion department and that's why Dr's and Dietitian's recommend foods that are already partially digested.  
Ok, I know, that sounds disgusting but stick with me just a little longer.  Partially digested actually means cooked or steamed and not raw.  Have you ever noticed that when you eat raw broccoli you have extra belching, gas and even bloating but you don't have those symptoms when you eat broccoli cooked or steamed?  That means your body is having some trouble digesting the food.  I complained of gas, belching and bloating for years and assumed that was the way it was and that everyone had those issues.  In high school I had a dear friend even try to help me with the belching by watching the way I drank my liquids thinking that I was inhaling too much air while drinking.   BTW, it didn't help but isn't that just the sweetest friend ever?

Here's how I make white rice to give it a little more substance.
What's the secret???

Bone Broth

Use bone broth or stock instead of water.  Not only does it make the rice have some flavor it given your body nutrients and minerals that were released in the broth process.  I make my own broth pretty often and have even sourced some good beef bones locally.  
This post from Jennifer McGruther's site, Nourished Kitchen, tells you everything you need to know about bone broth, stock.   

2 cups of chicken bone broth or stock
1 cup of white rice
salt to taste

Bring the bone broth to a boil and add a cup of white rice.  Follow the package directions on the rice.  When the rice has finished cooking serve with butter or ghee for additional goodness.

To serve this dish I add a helping of rice with added butter or ghee, then the chicken, and then the finally and the gorgeous mandarin orange sauce thats smell will lift your spirit and whose sight will brighten your mood.  And for more orange flavor add a sprinkling of orange zest on top of the dish.  
Now sit down with those you love, take a deep breath, be grateful for your meal and take the time to enjoy this amazing food.

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