I am grateful for good, gluten-free pizza and this one tops my list. It’s chewy, thanks to the addition of millet flour, and flavorful, thanks to the use of high protein flours. You can use any blend that contains one or more of these flours. (Chickpea, teff, and sorghum are all good.) Of course, you have to make this yourself, but it’s not difficult and these pizzas (par-baked or fully baked) can be frozen.
Using a pizza stone enhances the texture and fills the crust with a slightly smoky flavor. It’s yumminess to the 10th power. But, if you don’t have a stone, don’t fret. Use a heavy baking sheet or pizza pan and set it on the lowest rack in the oven.
The recipe is versatile, too. Use the dough to make pizza, pizza pockets, and focaccia. No need to let the dough rise. It will puff up nicely in the oven. However, if you like a thicker crust, let it rise for 10 minutes before adding toppings and bake an addition 3 to 4 minutes. I’ve suggested some of my favorite toppings. However, feel free to use whatever suits your fancy.
2 ½ cups high protein blend of choice or my recipe, below
½ cup millet flour
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chopped dry or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
5 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Place the pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. (Do this 30 to 60 minutes ahead so the stone is very hot.) If you are not using a stone, it is not necessary to preheat the oven for an extended amount of time.
In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the
high protein blend, millet flour, xanthan gum, salt, and rosemary. Blend well. Add the yeast and blend. Combine water, oil, honey, and vinegar. Beat at medium high speed for 3 to 5 minutes or until the dough thickens. Follow preparation instructions below.
Gourmet Toppings For One Pizza
Makes 1, 12-inch pizza
1 to 2 teaspoons good quality olive oil
2 tablespoons good quality pizza sauce (such as Muir Glen)
4 medium tomatoes (red, yellow and orange) thickly sliced
A handful of small, pitted cured black olives such as Nicoise
¼ cup cubed Manchego or other cheese (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh rosemary for garnish
Scoop half the dough onto a lightly oiled sheet of parchment paper. Cover with a sheet of lightly oiled plastic wrap. Use finger tips and palm to lightly press the dough into a 12-inch circle. Use finger tips to create a rim of dough around the edge that will become a pretty crust. Drizzle olive oil of the surface and top with a light coating of pizza sauce. Scatter tomato slices, olives and cheese over the sauce. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan.
Slide onto pizza paddle and transfer to the preheated stone, sliding the parchment off the paddle and onto the stone or slide parchment onto a baking sheet and set in the lowest rack of the preheated oven. Bake 20 to 24 minutes depending on the thickness. The bottom of the pizza will be brown. Slide the pizza paddle under the parchment and slide the pizza out of the oven. Don’t worry if the paper tears a little. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary and serve.
Note: Double ingredients and repeat with remaining dough or prepare the crust and par-bake for 12 minutes (without toppings). Store the crust in the freezer for a later use. Thaw before adding toppings.
High Protein Blend (from Gluten-Free Makeovers)
Blend well and scoop out 2 ½ cups for the pizza recipe above. Reserve the rest for later use.
1¼ cups white or brown rice flour
1¼ cups sweet white sorghum flour
½ cup amaranth flour
¾ cup cornstarch or tapioca starch
As with so many great recipes, this one passed through several channels, but rather than the old-fashioned grandmother to mother to daughter or son kind of hand-me-down, this one went through an internet-compressed timeline. One day, I read an account from Mark Bittman in the New York Times Magazine about his friend Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s squash on toast. It was not a recipe, per se, but an account, like someone passing along the gist of a recipe, the flavor, the texture, but never the amounts.
The mention of winter squash and caramelized onions caught my attention. What great flavors and there was nothing unhealthy or fattening, at least in the description. So I created a recipe from what I thought Jean-Georges might have told Mark and that Mark was recounting to his readers. I made the recipe for a Thanksgiving appetizer and served it with gluten-free French bread. Needless to say, it was a huge hit. Even my son wanted the recipe.
So, I figured I would copy the account from the New York Times online and fill in the details with my notes. But what came up was the original recipe from Jean-Georges Vongerichten. In some places, it was quite different than what I had created. It called for cheese, chili flakes, and mint. By then, I was hooked on my version. Here it is, a perfect dip or spread or appetizer that I’ll be serving at all our winter gatherings, especially for the Super Bowl.
Butternut Squash Spread
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Gluten-free baguette, thinly sliced and lightly toasted
Extra salt, to taste
Heat the oven to 400. Toss the squash cubes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt and spread the mixture over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake, stirring every few minutes, until tender and slightly colored, about 20 to 25 minutes. Edges should be golden brown and squash should be very tender. Remove from the oven.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat, add the onions and remaining teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are well softened and darkening, at least 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and syrup, stir and reduce until broken down, an additional 15 minutes or so. The mixture should be jammy.
Combine squash and onions in a bowl and smash with a fork until combined. Adjust seasoning. Serve with gluten-free toast or crackers.
Note: The original recipe says to spread this mixture on toasted bread, top with ricotta, goat cheese or mascarpone cheese, coarse salt and mint. I did not do this, but now that I’m passing this on, you can try your own version of this wonderful recipe!
Christine from New Zealand wrote to say, “I haven’t had a Crumpet for years and wondered if you had a recipe for gluten free crumpets?”
She piqued my interest as I had never had one. So I did a bit of research. Crumpets are made with a rather thin yeast batter and are cooked on a bake stone or griddle in crumpet or English muffin rings. The distinguishing feature of real crumpets is their pliable texture and the characteristic holes into which butter deliciously melts and oozes.
After reading a mainstream formula, I developed this recipe makeover. These crumpets are soft, light in texture and quite tasty. You will not be disappointed. Add your favorite jam or slather with butter. I like both. If you are not able to get one of the all-purpose flour blends I mentioned here, you can use any flour blend you have available.
1 ½ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend such as Gluten-Free Pantry All-Purpose Flour or King Arthur Multi-Purpose Flour
½ cup sorghum flour
2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast
1 teaspoon of sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup warm milk (about 110 degrees)
½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon melted butter
TIP: If using a blend that does not contain gum and salt, add 1 teaspoon xanthan gum and ½ teaspoon salt.
1) Combine flours, yeast, sugar, cream of tartar and blend. Add warm milk and water and beat for 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place for about 20 minutes. The thick batter should double in size.
2) Add baking powder, baking soda and butter and beat for 1 minute or until well mixed. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.
3) Preheat a griddle to 350 degrees. Coat 8 to 10, 3 ½ inch English muffin rings well with vegetable spray. Set on griddle, bake stone or large skillet (see note below).
4) Place enough mixture into the center of each ring to come halfway to the top of the ring. Cook for 4-6 minutes over medium heat, until bubbles appear over the entire surface, and the dough appears ‘dry’.
5) Use tongs to remove the ring. Turn the crumpet over and cook an additional 2 to 4 minutes to brown the top. Remove from the pan and cool on a baking rack. Split and enjoy. Or, if thin enough, do not split before eating.
Notes: Alternatively, make thinner crumpets by filling only one-third of the way up the rings. These do not need to be cooked on the second side. If you don’t have a griddle, heat a heavy cast iron skillet and line it with as many rings as possible. You’ll need to make these in more than one batch.
In celebration of reaching 1,500 “Likes” on Facebook, I am sharing this collections of holiday recipes with all of you. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and tasty holiday season!
Pear Coffee Cake
As a baker, I am reluctant to let go of certain sacrosacnt ingredients. Eggs is one of those precious commodities. Then a colleague who is gluten and egg-free asked me if I could convert a coffee cake recipe so she could enjoy, too. I recalled that, back in the days when I owned the Gluten-Free Pantry, I had made many recipes where I replaced eggs with silken tofu, flax gel (1 tablespoon flax meal with 3 tablespoons of hot water) or even with applesauce. I dug out my favorite coffee cake recipe, already gluten-free, and went to work. The results were delicious.
This stunning coffee cake uses soy (or coconut) yogurt and pear puree. The yogurt adds back some of the protein from the eggs and the pear puree, like applesauce, contains pectin which tenderizes the cake. I added a little bit more baking powder to help it rise, usually another job done by the eggs.
This is comfort food at its best and begs for a cup of coffee or tea. I also like to make this with apples and applesauce.
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups All-purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend
½ cup sorghum flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum*
½ teaspoon salt*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups soy or coconut yogurt (flavored yogurt works well)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons pureed baby pear puree or unsweetened applesauce
½ cup peeled and chopped ripe Bartlett, Bosc or red pears, or diced canned pears
Crumble Topping (below)
Preheat the oven to 325°F and lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan.
Combine the sugar, flour blend, sorghum flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine the yogurt, vegetable oil, and pear puree in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Fold in chopped fruit.
Spoon half the batter over the bottom of the prepared pan and smooth to the edges of the pan. Cover with half of the crumb mixture. Spoon the remaining batter over the crumb topping and smooth to the edges. Sprinkle the remaining topping over the top.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean and center springs back when gently touched.
Cool 10 minutes in the pan. Remove the rim of the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve.
*If your all-purpose blend contains salt and gum, omit the salt and reduce the gum to ½ teaspoon.
½ cup rice flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or non-dairy buttery spread, at room temperature
Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the butter and use fingertips or a fork to mix just until crumbly.
This can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
I envy Northern California for its long growing season, its verdant farms and endless vineyards. But from June to September, Connecticut is in full bloom and I am content to stay close to home, near the local orchards and farms that rival anything I’ve seen in any other part of the US. Our best chefs know that cooking with fresh, local foods can turn ordinary recipes into three-star meals. I’m reminded of that secret when Connecticut’s harvest smiles. I load up on fresh corn, heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and herbs. I can never have enough!
And just about now, the orchards are bearing fruit – - pears, apples, and peaches. Ah. Peaches. Perhaps my favorite of all the local produce. Nothing else comes close to that juicy, tree-ripened crop. Their faint fruit perfume floats over the back roads as I drive by the local orchards. I buy them by the bushelful. By the time I get home, I’ve devoured a sizable number and my car seat and steering wheel bear the sticky evidence. It’s a race to reach my saturation point before the trees return to their dormant state. So I eat just as many as I possibly can. But I reserve enough to bake a few special treats.
This peach cake is one. Fresh peach slices, fanned out over the buttery cake, turn this into an elegant dessert that bursts with intense flavor. The cake makes the perfect company dessert that fools most into thinking it’s not gluten-free. Perhaps that’s because I started with a great, gluten-filled recipe. This is a makeover from one I saw in Bon Appetit several years ago. It can also be packed and taken to a picnic or a pot luck meal. Don’t tell, but I make this with frozen peaches when the fresh varieties are not available. They beat the hard, unripened fruit that I find in stores throughout the rest of the year. I’ve also used fresh plums. The purple skin makes for an equally beautiful presentation.
3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend *
½ cup sorghum Flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter or non-dairy buttery spread, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 large eggs or egg replacer of choice
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
4 ripe, but firm peaches halved and each half cut into 4 slices*
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon for topping
Whipped cream or whipped dairy-free topping
Second Choice: Cascadian Farms or other brand Organic sliced peaches can be used. Thaw fruit before using. Purchase 2, 10-ounce bags and pick the prettiest slices for this cake. Save the rest for another use.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch spring form pan. Combine the flour blend, sorghum flour, baking powder, and xanthan gum in a bowl; set aside.
Beat ¾ cup of the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and orange zest and beat until crumbly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the orange juice and beat just to incorporate. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Arrange the peach slices on top of the batter so that they touch and form concentric circles that cover the batter. Press into the batter lightly. Don’t worry if the slices are not perfect. The cake will partially cover the fruit as it bakes. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter.
Bake 55 to 60 minutes, until golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Run a knife along the side of the pan to release and remove the side of the pan. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or dairy-free topping.
* If the blend you use does not contain salt and gum, add ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon additional xanthan gum to the dry ingredients.
Using Your Noodle
I’ve always had a love affair with pasta salads. Easily transformed, they take on the flavor of the dressing, the add-ins, the seasonings, the spices. Cilantro, black beans, corn, and pico de gallo allow me to call my salad, “Mexican Fiesta.” Adding chopped pepperoni, black olives, mozzarella cheese, and artichoke hearts turns my dish into “Antipasto Pasta.”
What’s more, I make it up as I go along. If I have feta cheese and Greek dressing that’s gluten free, the salad might be more of a “Greek Goddess” salad. Caesar dressing and anchovies might become my “Hail Caesar Pasta Salad.” You get the picture. Pasta salad is easy, versatile, and delicious. And little tweaks can completely change its ethnic roots.
With all the gluten-free pasta products available, the trick is selecting the best cut for your salad and following a few simple tips to keep the noodles from getting mushy or absorbing all the dressing before it’s served.
For most pasta salads, select a short pasta. Spirals (fussili), elbows, cavatelli, and small shells are great choices as they hold their shape and pull the flavors of the salad into the crevices of the noodles.
Undercook pasta by 3 to 4 minutes or just until the brittleness is gone. It should be chewy, but not crunchy. Drain the pasta and rinse well under cold water. This removes the starch and cools the pasta so that it does not continue cooking. Now the pasta can sit while you prepare the added ingredients.
Pasta salads can be prepared a few hours ahead but don’t toss the ingredients and dressing into the salad until just before serving.
All Grains are Not Created Equal
Gluten-free pasta comes in all matter of grains. Quinoa, corn, rice, and brown rice are the most common. And many are a blend of flours as well. White rice and brown rice pasta do not hold up as well as others. You might want to leave these for hot dishes that are served as soon as they are made. Corn pasta (preferably from Italy) and quinoa pasta are well suited to pasta salads. They do not fall apart or turn mushy and can even stay overnight in the refrigerator without decomposing.
Here’s one of my favorite summer pasta salads. Roasting the vegetables before they are added, produces an intense and vibrant flavor that is both fresh and satisfying.
Quinoa Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Orange and Olives
1 (8-ounce) box Ancient Harvest quinoa rotelle pasta (about 2 cups) or other quinoa or corn pasta
6 large plum tomatoes, each cut into 6 to 8 wedges
1 large onion, halved lengthwise, cut into thin wedges
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Juice and zest of one orange rind, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Fresh basil, cut into thin strips (about ¼ cup)
½ cup halved, pitted Kalamata olives
½ cup fresh feta cheese crumbles or dairy-free cheese shreds 2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water 6 to 7 minutes or until tender but still firm to bite. Rinse in cool water and drain well. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Oil 2 rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray.
Spread tomato wedges on one sheet and onion wedges on the second sheet.
Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic and juice and rind of one orange. Drizzle half over vegetables on each sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven until vegetables are very tender and brown around edges, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes for onions and 45 minutes for tomatoes. Cool slightly. Set aside.
Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl. Add roasted tomato and onion mixtures, basil and olives to pasta. Stir gently. Add cheese, 2 tablespoons orange juice and olive oil. Toss. Add more salt and pepper, to taste.
May is Celiac Awareness Month
I am celebrating with cupcakes and I hope you’ll join me. I’ll tell you how in a moment, but first, here’s a little background on why this event has far-reaching implications for all of us.
The World’s Tallest Gluten-Free Cake
Last year I was part of the world’s largest gluten-free cake event along with the American Celiac Disease Alliance (ACDA) and the 1in133.org awareness project. Hundreds of us met in Washington, DC to build the world’s tallest gluten-free cake, bring attention to the number of people with celiac disease and convince the FDA to reopen the process for creating gluten-free regulations.
While Jules Shepard and John Forberger headed the confectionery team, Andrea Levario and I headed to Capitol Hill to manage the legislative front. With our sons, media folks and gluten-free manufacturers in tow, we spoke to Congressional leaders about the importance of gluten-free regulations. We asked them to keep the pressure on the FDA to push the regulations forward.
They Heard Us And We Ate Cake
In the early evening, we gathered at a reception for supporters and Congressional folks. To our delight, the Deputy Commissioner of the FDA, Mike Taylor, attended. In front of hundreds of us, Deputy Commissioner Taylor told the group we would have gluten-free regulations. On August 4, the FDA reopened the comment period for the regulations. The comment period closed on October 3 and the FDA promised to issue these regulations by the end of the third quarter of 2012. The countdown is on.
Calling All Cupcake Builders
This May, as we await the forthcoming regulations, I invite everyone to make cupcakes – - one for every year you have been gluten-free. Take a picture and share it with the community by posting to the ACDA’s Facebook page. Then post to your Facebook page, blog and link back to the ACDA’s page. Vote for your favorite cupcake by “liking” the photos on the Alliance Facebook page. Prizes will be awarded in categories like best presentation; most unique decorations; most years being gluten-free; and kids categories. The winners will receive products and coupons from several gluten-free companies. Get out those whisks and mixing bowls. The more likes we receive the more voices will be heard from our virtual community. Go to 1in133 for guidelines.
Let’s Eat Cupcakes
This weekend, I made 56 chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting; 36 for me and 19 for my son, Jeremy. That’s a lot of cupcakes. Let me tell you. But, I’ve seen, firsthand, the power of community. When a standard for gluten-free on food packaging comes out, I can say I had a hand in making it happen. I hope you’ll join me in that effort. It feels good. And, besides, you get to eat cupcakes!
Here’s the recipe I used. You are welcome to “borrow” it. The chocolate cupcakes are a variation on those in my book, Gluten-Free Makeovers. The frosting is pure decadence – - a blend of peanut butter and cream cheese. I love peanut butter and chocolate and the slightly tangy cream cheese flavor cuts the sweetness in a lovely, subtle way. To bring it all together, I top these cupcakes with crushed Reese Peanut Butter Cups. If you are allergic to peanut butter, you could use sunflower butter or simply frost these with plain cream cheese frosting.
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOM CUPCAKES
Makes 24 to 28 cupcakes
2 ¼ cups Cake and Pastry Flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups granulated sugar
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter or non-dairy buttery spread, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk, soy milk, or rice milk
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease or oil two 12-cup muffin tins or line with paper liners. Combine the cake flour, cocoa, baking powder; and baking soda. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate. Blend in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing until each addition is just incorporated.
Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups, filling a little more than half full. Smooth the tops and bake on the center rack for 16 to 18 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely before frosting.
PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOM FROSTING
1 cup smooth peanut butter (any gluten-free brand)
½ cup milk
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup (about 6) Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, crumbled (optional)
Beat the peanut butter, milk, cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Frost cupcakes. Sprinkle with crumbled peanut butter cups. Refrigerate until time to serve.
Cake and Pastry Flour
1 cup sweet white sorghum flour (4 ounces)
1 cup white rice flour (5.4 ounces)
¾ cup cornstarch (3.4 ounces)
1½ teaspoons xanthan gum (or guar gum)
½ teaspoon salt
SHORTCUT: This blend makes very light pastries and cookies with a fine crumb but, if you are pressed for time, you may use 2 ½ cups of any all purpose flour blend. Add the xanthan gum and salt if they are not already in the blend.
Quick, Delicious Chicken and Rice
I went to culinary school in the seventies when classic techniques were still in vogue. We whisked egg whites in copper bowls, boned whole fish, and removed chicken from its skeleton leaving meat and skin intact. But, Auguste Escoffier forgive me. There is more than one way to skin a chicken. As a modern chef and cook, I take shortcuts. Besides, being gluten-free, I cook to eat. I can’t wait all day to enjoy a meal.
In that same era, I took a cooking class in Indian Cuisine. We toasted and ground aromatic spices and made our own customized garam masala, a blend that’s used to flavor every dish. We peeled and grated ginger, poached tomatoes to remove the skin, and fried onions until they were a perfect golden hue. The end results were amazing; but, come on, who has the time to cook this way?
I did meet my future husband in this class and we fell in love over Biryani and Vindaloo. But, I confess we rarely made Indian food together. (It’s still one of my favorites to eat in restaurants and is a decidedly gluten-free-friendly cuisine.) Then I fell in love again - – with Passage Foods Simmer Sauces, aromatic blends of exotic spices, ginger, onion, and garlic, that simmer for hours before they are packaged. These sauces brought Indian food back into my kitchen. All I do is add a protein (chicken or lamb) and some veggies like eggplant, okra. tomato or potato. (Veggies aren’t even necessary if I’m in a rush.) In the time it takes to cook basmati rice in my rice steamer, I have a full meal.
Today, I added a few extra steps so I could justify calling this a recipe instead of a tip. With these additions, I turned Passage Foods Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce into Chicken Biryani and it tastes just like the meal we made in my Indian cooking class years ago.
In case you don’t know about Biryani, it’s a flavorful rice dish filled with aromatic Indian flavors, pieces of chicken or lamb and chunks of potato. There are four hallmarks of a good Biryani. (1) The grains of rice should not clump but be separate and easy to spread apart. (2) The aroma should fill the room with a sweetish fragrance that is not overpowering or reminiscent of any one specific spice. (3) The taste should be flavorful and roll off the tongue and the flavor should fill the meat. (4) There must be nicely browned potatoes and they should be as flavorful as the meat . Without potatoes, it is not Biryani.
So there you have it – - a perfect Biryani. And here’s the recipe. I think you’ll agree it’s easy and delicious. And thanks to simmer sauces, I’ve found a better way to skin a chicken.
Easy and Delicious Chicken Biryani
1 pouch Passage Foods Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce, divided (or other Indian simmer sauce)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut in 1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 ½ cups raw Basmati rice
3 cups gluten-free chicken broth
¾ cup dark raisins
1 ¼ cups shredded carrots (commercial product like Dole brand)
Reserve 1/2 cup of simmer sauce. Marinate chicken in the remaining simmer sauce for 30 to 90 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and sauté the potatoes and onion until brown and potatoes are fork tender. Remove from skillet and set aside.
In a medium pot, combine the rice, reserved simmer sauce and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add raisins and carrots. Simmer until liquid is absorbed (about 18 to 20 minutes). The rice should be slightly chewy, not too soft. (Remember – it should not clump.)
While the rice is cooking, heat remaining oil in skillet. Sauté the chicken until browned and cooked through.
When rice is done, fold in the potato and onion mixture. Reheat briefly (about 1 minute). Spread mixture over a serving platter and top with chicken.
Now For Some Deals!
Want a sample of Passage Foods Tikka Masala? Sign up for our newsletter in the upper right hand corner of this site. We’ll send five lucky people sample packs of Indian, Thai, and Moroccan Simmer Sauces. Or go to Passage Foods for information on where you can find their sauces.
Blender Girl Giveaway
I love this community of bloggers. So much energy! Look at this. My new best blogging friend Tess Masters aka Blender Girl is making April gluten-free month with great recipes from all your gluten free blogger friends and a KitchenAid Giveaway. Check it out.