Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Paleo Chicken Tetrazzini

Last night's dinner was inspired by a meal during our DC trip at a restaurant that was all about kitschy-cool comfort food. It had everything from meatloaf and mashed potatoes to milk shakes (even some adult alcoholic ones), and featured funky retro decor while black-and-white movies played in the background.

During our long car ride home, my mind thus wandered to comfort food. Certain classic and universal dishes come to mind, but there's one meal that to me was the epitome of comfort food in my youth: turkey tetrazzini.

My mom would make it after Thanksgiving to put leftover turkey to good use (she also made a version with chicken other times during the year). I liked it so much I even ate the mushrooms (and I was definitely not a fan of fungi as a kid!). While I don't have the exact recipe, I know it used condensed mushroom soup, lots of parmesan cheese and pasta.

Needless to say I haven't had tetrazzini in a while!

So imagine my delight - with tetrazzini on the brain - when Carol at Ditch the Wheat *just* posted her paleo take on the dish 4 days ago. Seriously, what are the odds? I totally thought I was the only person craving tetrazzini…

I largely followed the recipe as written, though I did add a hefty dose of garlic powder to the zoodle mixture before pouring it into my casserole dish. I think next time I will use 6 garlic cloves as opposed to 4 (but keep in mind I'm a garlic freak!)

To appease my cheese-loving children I also scattered a light layer of freshly grated Parmesan over the mixture before topping it off with the almond meal crumble. It's a completely optional step that you can skip if you want to keep things 100% paleo.

My kids have never had the "real" thing, and the caveman informed me while I was cooking that he loathes tetrazzini. But guess what? They all happily chowed this one down. Many thanks and respects to Carol for reading my mind, and helping me get my random comfort food fix.

Paleo Chicken Tetrazzini
from Ditch the Wheat

8 zucchini, peeled and spiral sliced (I didn't bother to peel mine)
2 lb. chicken thighs
4 tbs. butter or ghee
1 tbs.  kosher salt

  • 1 tbs. black pepper
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbs. fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • the cream from the top of a can of coconut milk
  • 1 bag frozen organic peas 
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 additional tbs. butter & 1/2 tsp. salt, for topping

  • Put zucchini noodles in a colander and sprinkle with a little salt to absorb any excess liquid.

  • Melt half of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook in melted butter, seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove from heat when cooked through and cut into bite-size pieces.

  • Preheat oven to 375.

  • In same skillet that you cooked chicken, add remaining butter to chicken drippings. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms and cook over medium heat for a minute. Add fresh thyme, vinegar and coconut cream. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until thickened.

  • Stir in peas and remove heat.

  • Add zoodles and chicken, stirring to combine. Taste for seasoning (this is when I added a little more garlic powder). Pour into a casserole dish.

  • Meanwhile, pulse almond flour with butter and salt in a food processor until the mixture forms a dough. Drop bits of dough over chicken mixture and flatten with hand.

  • Bake for 25-30 minutes and allow to sit 5 minutes before serving.
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