Okay…I must first state this: while we, as a family *mostly* eat foods that are naturally gluten free, like grilled chicken, fish and lean meats with lots of fruits and veggies, there is the occasional craving for the more “unhealthy” foods from days gone by.
I remember KFC nights growing up. My dad would go and buy a “bucket,” coleslaw, gravy and biscuits. What about the potatoes you ask? My mom always made homemade mashed potatoes…Kentucky Fried Chicken sold “fake potatoes!” LOL! Even back in the 80’s when processed foods ruled, (and back then they didn’t even have all the labels on low fat, low sodium, no transfats, whole grain, all natural etc., etc.) my mom could not embrace “fake” potatoes…the dehydrated kind you get in a box and reconstitute.
Even though I wasn’t a big KFC, Churches, Popeye’s fried chicken eater when I was eating gluten, there is something about being told that you CANNOT have it, that suddenly makes you NEED, not just want, but NEED it!
I have tried several times over the last few years to fry chicken and horrible would be putting the results nicely. I remember the first time, newly diagnosed, I dipped the chicken in water, dredged it in seasoned tapioca flour/starch and promptly placed it in the hot oil…Stark white “Booger Balls!” Apparently, adding tapioca starch directly into something hot does not work!!! Not to be deterred, I thought surely if I fried it long enough it would begin to resemble traditional fried chicken. I am not actually making this up, I fried it for close to an hour and the color did not gradually change from white to a golden brown. Having been at the gluten free diet for a little while, I thought, okay I am learning that just because GF food may not look nice it can sometimes surprise you and still taste good. I pulled it out to drain, and a solid white sheet of crust fell to the side and the dried up, shrunken chicken that my eyes beheld reduced me to tears. It was 3 years before I decided to try again.
This time though I was feeling confident. The following fried chicken recipe is from Roben Ryberg’s, “You Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free!” cookbook. This needs to be my last blog post on her recipes because 1) She DESERVES to make money from selling her cookbook and 2) I don’t want to go to jail 🙂
Kidding aside, I just really want to stress how great her recipes are. I only decided to give fried chicken another shot because we were so impressed with all the other recipes we had tried, like the Cheese Crackers (my Goldfish post). Just a teaser…she has recipes for corn dogs, calamari, fried cheese sticks, onion rings, egg rolls, clam chowder, wonton soup and numerous breads, cakes, pies, etc. There are over 500 recipes and so far, we have not been disappointed once. Get the cookbook. She has recipes for a lot of American fare that has been traditionally difficult to recreate gluten free and she has figured it out! Oh, and no I am not paid by anyone to say that!
Fried Chicken page 178, Corn-Based (There is also a similar recipe for corn-meal based, potato-based, and rice-based Fried Chicken. This cookbook is great if you have other food sensitivities/food allergies too).
1 Frying Chicken, 2 1/2 – 3lbs. (I just bought a package of pre-cut chicken pieces on the bone and with the skin…I only eat this a couple of times a year…so I am going to have the skin!)
2 cups oil for a large skillet or sufficient oil to fill a deep fryer (I used fashioned Crisco…remember, I only eat it twice a year, not everyday!)
1 cup Cornstarch
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 – 1 tsp. Pepper
1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 c. Buttermilk
OR 2 Eggs beaten with 1/2 cup Water
OR 2 Eggs beaten with 1/2 cup Water, 1/2 tsp. Salt and 1 tsp. Cayenne (This is what I used)
- Cut the chicken into desired pieces. Rinse and set aside. (I soaked my chicken in some salted water, or a brine first)
- In a shallow bowl, combine the ingredients in the flour mixture. Mix well. Set aside. Choose the dredging liquid and place its ingredients in another shallow bowl. Mix very well.
- Heat the oil, in a skillet or dedicated deep fryer, to 370 – 375 degrees.
- Place a piece of chicken in the dredging liquid, then in the flour mixture.
- Place the coated chicken in the skillet or deep fryer. Repeat for the remaining pieces of chicken. Fry on each side in the skillet for 15 minutes, or deep fry for approximately 20 minutes.
- Drain on paper towels. (I actually put a cookie cooling rack on a cookie sheet, then place then fried chicken on the cookie rack and placed in my oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes just to make sure the chicken was cooked through, they were BIG chicken pieces! By putting the chicken on a cookie rack and not directly on the cookie sheet, you wont get a soggy bottom).
The following recipe is for Fried Okra and is from my mom. She grew up in Alabama so I consider her an expert in fried vegetables! This is how I grew up eating Fried Okra and I like it much better than the batter based fried okra that seems to be more commonplace in restaurants. Sam eats it like popcorn, he actually asks me to make it for snacks! It is very simple and pan fried versus deep fried.
*I live in the desert so fresh Okra isn’t easy to find. I buy frozen, pre-cut, NON BATTERED okra by Pictsweet.
Judy’s Fried Okra:
Thaw a bag of frozen okra, rinse and drain in a colander
- In a gallon size ziploc bag, I add corn meal, salt and pepper (honestly, I just eyeball it, I only use a little salt in the ziploc, because I add salt to taste once it it done cooking)
- Close the ziploc, shake then scoop out the okra, shaking off excess cornmeal and add to large frying pan that has been pre-heated with oil (I use canola). Pan fry until golden and crispy!
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy:
I just make standard homemade mashed potatoes (or you can certainly use the “Fake” potatoes too…sorry, I still giggle at my mom for saying that)
Gravy: I found this packet of chicken gravy mix that we just LOVE! It is by Mayacamas and it is GF! There is also a brown gavy and a turkey gravy mix.
Biscuits (this is a 2 stepper, but well worth the extra effort!):
Gluten Free Bisquick Recipe (I found this recipe on Recipezaar and it is by the legendary Bette Hagman):
2 1/2 cups Rice Flour (I used White Superfine Flour, I ONLY use Superfine grind to avoid the gritty texture of regular rice flour)
1 2/3 cups Potato Starch
3 tsp. Baking Powder
2 1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Tbs. Sugar
1/2 cup Dry Buttermilk Powder
3 Tbs. Egg Replacer (I used Ener-g brand)
3/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. Shortening (I used Crisco)
- In a large bowl, whish together all dry ingredients.
- Cut in the shortening until no lumps appear (I just throw it all in my food processor and let it do the work for me)
- Store in the refrigerator or the freezer.
“Popeye’s” Biscuits (This is a copycat recipe that I got from a friend and I do not know the author)
4 cups GF Bisquick (see above recipe)
4 oz. Sour Cream (I used Kroger brand Lowfat Sour Cream)
1 cup Sparkling Water (room temperature)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix GF Bisquick, sour cream and sparkling water together.
- Melt butter and pour half into a glass casserole dish. Pour the dough/batter into the casserole. Pour the remaining butter over the top.
- Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown.
This was a delicious meal, although I now know why I only make it a couple of times a year…I am stuffed! I also think that once you get off of mainstream “American” food, with all the fat, sugar, etc. your body is thankful for not being fed all the fattening fried foods on a consistent basis. Your body actually gets a vacation from working overtime trying to digest foods that it wasn’t designed to break down. I can actually FEEL my stomach digesting this meal! My mother-in-law summed it up pretty well. When she and my father-in-law followed a vegetarian diet for a while, she cheated once and grabbed a burger, then she paid for it. Her body wasn’t used to digesting meat anymore and wasn’t prepared for it!
This is what I think has been an AWESOME “side effect” of being forced GF. Once I went through the “Stages of Grief,” from being diagnosed with CD and DH, and as my taste buds changed (think going from Whole Milk to Skim Milk…it is a shock at first drinking watery milk, but after a while whole milk tastes like cream). I am so conscious of what I put in my mouth that my body is singing Hallelujah! Over the course of my 5 year journey I have eliminated gluten and *most* artificial ingredients, colors, preservatives, etc. and I feel GREAT! I know what is in my food because I make most of it from scratch and it has a very limited shelf life. As much damage as gluten has done to my body, now that I am healed…I am taking care of me…just still trying to get my taste buds fully on board!
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