Sunday, January 12, 2014

Crock Pot Chicken with Gravy

One of the more difficult obstacles in going Paleo, in my experience, is traditional gravy and pan sauces.  I love me some gravy, and I find that most meat and poultry dishes are the poorer without a splash of something extra at serving. Flour and corn starch, the two stand-by thickeners, are now non-starters.  Sure, there are paleo-friendly thickeners that can be used sparingly (arrowroot), but in general you are left either (1) tolerating a thin sauce or (2) spending hours reducing copious amounts of valuable stock into a thick glace.  Number 2 is serviceable and delicious, but not always practical.

Which is why this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo ( intrigued me - chicken roasted on a bed of leeks and garlic.  When the chicken is done, simply de-fat and puree the veggies in the cooking juices, and voila, you have a "gravy".

Begin with three leeks and three large cloves of garlic - clean and slice the white parts of the leeks, and smash the garlic cloves.

Sautee in macadamia nut oil until fragrant and beginning to soften.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

 Stir in 1 tablespoon of tomato paste until incorporated and turn off the heat.

Place vegetables in a slow cooker.

Meanwhile, rub one whole (preferably pastured) chicken with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.  I recommend letting it sit in the fridge for at least an hour to absorb the seasoning into the flesh, but if in a pinch, make sure to get some seasoning under the skin.

Place your chicken breast side down on top of the leeks and garlic.  Cook on low for 4 hours (for a 4-lb chicken).  Adjust cooking time according to weight: My chicken weighed in at 3.5 pounds, and I think I could have benefited from taking off the heat at 3 1/2 hours.

Remove the chicken, tent with foil and let rest for 15-20 minutes.

The vegetables should have accumulated copious amounts of cooking juices.  Defat this liquid, and add with the leeks and garlic into a food processor.
Puree into "gravy".  

Carve your chicken. Note that it will not have the browned skin associated with oven roasting, and without which I thought I could not live.   The moistness of the bird should compensate.

Serve with spinach salad and roasted cauliflower:

 Or with zucchini noodles and roasted beets:

The gravy will keep for days in the refrigerator, and can be used on damn near anything.  Anything.

Sincerest tip of the hat to for the recipe.