Friday, January 27, 2012

Gluten Free Pineapple Chicken

I'm testing my daughter out on a gluten-free diet after several weeks of constant stomach pain. It seems to be working. Because lets face it, man cannot live on Vicodin alone. When I initially suggested that she might need a gluten free diet she looked at me with fear in her eyes and said, "I won't be able to eat delicious foods with you guys anymore?"

Pfft. Ye of little faith.

If one of us has to eat gluten free, we all eat gluten free. Enter the pineapple chicken.

What I wanted was to be able to give my daughter that crispy fried chicken taste that she likes. Grilled chicken just isn't the same, and baked chicken? Gag me with a washcloth dipped in Lysol. No 13 year old girl should have to strike fried chicken from her diet (unless she's one of those 300lb. children from daytimie talk shows. Those girls can skip the chicken). 

Given that flour is a no no, we start out by washing the chicken, dipping it in whole milk and rolling it in cornmeal. I usually fry with a mix of flour and cornmeal, so this isn't quite so different. I forgot to salt the cornmeal, but you should. You totally should. 

Heat up about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a frying pan. Heat it until it starts to pop lightly on its own. It's important to get the oil very hot so that the cornmeal sears to the chicken skin immediately. Cornmeal has a greater tendency to slough off during cooking than flour, and we want to make delicious gluten free fried chicken, not wet, crustless, fail chicken. You can turn the oil down slightly after searing. 

While your chicken cooks, toss 1/2 a can of chunk pineapple (this will work with crushed pineapple too) into a saucepan with 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and roughly 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar. It just depends on how sweet you want it. I'm not sure exactly how much sugar I added. I don't really measure things. 

Word to the wise: No matter how funny you think it may be, do not ask your four-year old to taste test the pineapple sauce before you add the sugar. Two things will happen: One, he will spit it out on your nice, clean floor. Two: he will refuse to eat the finished version. 

Bring the pineapple mixture to a boil. Mix 2 tbsp water and 2 tbsp corn starch in a small cup. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the pineapple sauce. This will thicken it. 

Turn the heat down to a low simmer. Add 3/4 tsp ground ginger. Remove the chicken from the pan and pour a generous amount of pineapple sauce over each piece. If you wish, you can serve this dish over rice. The pineapple sauce and the rice go quite nicely together. 

My goal isn't to work around my daughter's dietary restrictions, but to make her forget that she even has dietary restrictions. The pineapple chicken suited that purpose quite well. It's a keeper. 

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