It was my son’s birthday recently. When I asked what he wanted for dinner, he replied with “meat and mashed potatoes”. We were staying with friends so I needed to make something easy. The slow cooker came to mind. I poked around in their fridge and found some ingredients that looked promising. I had a vision (it sounds corny but this is one of my superpowers). Braised chicken with prosciutto sounded really good. The best part? It was not only gluten-free and dairy-free but also, wait for it, paleo! This means everyone is happy.
I also made non-paleo but dairy-free mashed potatoes. I’m one of those people who cannot tolerate ghee (clarified butter). Instead, my favorite butter substitute is Earth Balance soy-free spread. For the mashed, I used that and plain unsweetened almond milk along with salt and pepper. Notice I didn’t even peel the potatoes (read: I just saved myself 10 minutes of prep).
The other side dish is something I also created on the fly; curried cauliflower rice with greens. If you want the full recipe, leave a comment and I’ll work on another blog post.
If for some reason you don’t eat pork, you can skip the pancetta or try a turkey bacon instead. It is worth it to sauté the onions and brown the meat. This develops flavor and a rich brown color. I hope you will give it a try. Buon appetito!
Braised Chicken with Prosciutto
1-2 carrots, cut in 3 or 4 pieces
1-2 celery ribs, cut in 3 or 4 pieces
2 1/4 cups chicken broth, divided
Olive oil or refined coconut oil (or fat of choice)
1/2 onion, sliced
Ground black pepper
5 slices prosciutto, cut into short strips
Optional: 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thigh
Salt and pepper
Optional: 1/4 cup white wine or marsala
For a thicker sauce: 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
- Place carrot and celery in the bottom of a slow cooker bowl. Add 2 cups of broth, reserving 1/4 cup for later. Tip: if you are in a hurry, heat broth to simmering before adding. Turn slow cooker on high once broth is in the bowl.
- Heat a large sauté pan to medium. Add oil then onion and ground pepper and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add prosciutto and cook until onion becomes brown and prosciutto becomes crisp. Stir occasionally. Optionally add the minced garlic at the very end with a pinch of salt. Once cooked, place in a small to medium bowl and set aside.
- In the same pan over medium heat, add about 1 teaspoon of oil, then add chicken thighs but do not crowd the pan. If necessary, do this step in two batches. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes or until meat starts to pull away from pan and turn over. Season the other side. Once that side is brown, place thighs directly into the slow cooker bowl with the cover on. Continue until complete.
- Place onion and prosciutto mixture over thighs and cover.
- Keep pan on heat but lower slightly. If using wine, add to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the reserved 1/4 cup of broth to the pan. Cook until pan is deglazed and any bits on the bottom have come up. Pour this over chicken in the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours. Can be left on warm another 1-2 hours.
- To make a thicker sauce, remove about 1 cup of broth from the slow cooker bowl. In a small pot, bring to a low simmer. Stir arrowroot and cold water mixture. Add slowly to broth. Simmer at least 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Continue cooking until desired thickness is reached.
- Serve braised chicken topped with sauce over greens, mashed root vegetables, cauliflower rice, or mashed potatoes.