Friday, March 04, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

Back in January my roommate and I made "Red Hooker Lipstick" soup, which was a little like tomato soup.   It got us thinking about what else we could make along that same theme - tomato-like, but tomato-free.  I've not had tomato in many years because I am allergic to it, so this prospect excited me.  LDK found a recipe online for tomato-free "Marinara" sauce and we'd talked about trying it out sometime, but never did. Until tonight.
LDK suggested we make Chicken Parmesan for dinner.  I had never had Chicken Parmesan before, but when she described it to me, it sounded good.  (Actually, the original plan was for chicken nuggets with roasted Jerusalem artichokes and turnip...somehow we strayed from that).  For those of you, who like me, are unfamiliar with Chicken Parmesan, it is a dish that has breaded chicken covered in marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.  I'm not sure why it is called Chicken Parmesan because it has no Parmesan in it.  Go figure.
Anyhow, "normal" Chicken Parmesan would be bad news for me on so many levels: breaded chicken usually has wheat and gluten in the bread, and sometimes egg on the chicken to make the bread crumbs stick better, marinara sauce is full of tomatoes, and cheese is full of dairy.  So pretty much, in order to make this Joy-Friendly, we had to substitute everything except the chicken itself. However difficult this might seem, we felt we were up the challenge.
I started by breading the chicken using PaneRiso bread crumbs and put it in a lightly oiled pan, while LDK chopped up some onion.
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With the chicken safely in the oven I pureed a can of beets (15oz, instead of 8oz like the recipe suggested...mostly because I forgot to read/listen) and LDK started frying the onion and some minced garlic in a little oil.
Click to enlarge
When the onion was translucent and soft we added the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar and then the pumpkin puree, beet puree, chicken broth, and some season as suggested by the recipe.  Had we been thinking we would have realized that we had more than 8oz of beets and 2 cups of pumpkin and adjusted the lemon juice and vinegar accordingly.  Live and learn.
While the "marinara" sauce cooked I boiled some Joy-Pasta.  I kid you not, that is its real name.  See?

When the chicken was cooked we poured "marinara" sauce on it and sprinkled it with Daiya mozzarella cheese.  Daiya is quickly becoming a favorite of mine because it tastes good and behaves like "normal" cheese.  Then we popped it back in the oven to get all yummy while the pasta finished up.
Finally we were ready for the table.  Our main dish looked beautiful and smelled really good (sorry, scratch and sniff technology has not been invented for the computer yet).
We also had a big bowl of pasta and one of extra marinara sauce for our pasta.
 This is LDK's plate because it was prettier than mine...I failed at taking my chicken from the pan neatly.

And that my friends, is the story of allergy free Chicken Parmesan.

Overall this recipe gets a "thumbs-up" or "come again", depending on which recipe rating scale you are using. The idea of using beets and squashes along with citrus juices and vinegars has opened a whole new world of possibilities.  I can imagine chili's and ketchups and spaghetti with meatballs and cabbage rolls and pizza sauce and salsa and....the possibilities are endless.  It's like adding tomato back into my diet without actually doing so. 

1 comment:

Emmaru said...

That's awesome Joy! It sounds like you have a lot of fun experimenting in the kitchen :)