Dairy Free Chicken Casserole – Slow Cooked Delight

dairy free chicken casseroleThis dish might not sound like much, but it is. Against all expectations, simple and humble ingredients used for this recipe result in a really great dish. Very healthy ingredients, but still, this one has a hint of “comfort food” when you taste it. Why? Because it does to chicken what chicken doesn’t really need – it slow cooks it. Chicken meat is usually tender enough to be prepared quickly. But it actually pays off to go against the common knowledge and try slow cooking it. This dairy free chicken casserole is not only dairy, egg and nut free healthy dish, but also a damn healthy one.

Use thighs or other fatty cuts for this Dairy free Chicken Casserole

Gentle disclaimer: I used chicken breasts for photo shooting, but the recipe applies to chicken thighs! Chicken thighs were what I initially used to prepare this great dish. When I was initially making it, I thought I was cooking an unimpressive Saturday afternoon lunch, but what I ended up with was much more than that. I had to repeat the cooking for the purpose of photographing it for this blog, but the end result was somehow not the same dish as the original. The only difference was the meat. I had to use chicken breasts because it was all I had at hand. So, whenever you see a picture of lean chicken meat in this blog post, imagine you are looking at thighs. It makes all the difference.

dairy-free-chicken-casserole-peppers
Peppers are an important ingredient in this dairy free chicken casserole. If possible, use three of different colours.
dairy-free-chicken-casserole-cut-peppers
Remove seeds from the peppers.

I promise I will re-shoot my coking process the next time I do this dairy free chicken casserole the proper way.

This dish is basically meat with vegetables, very limited spices and herbs, and so easy to cook it almost makes me embarrassed  to give it to you. But the taste of the finished dish makes it all worth it. The only thing I really want you to get, if you didn’t already, is a cast iron pot. Whenever you slow cook, it makes all the difference if the heat comes from all sides, not just from the pot base. The dish cooks more evenly that way, and flavors really blend like they should.

Empti pot. Time to put something in.
Empti pot. Time to put something in.

Ingredients (for 4 people)

  • 1 kg chicken thighs (boneless and skinless, but I imagine bone-in and with skin would be great, too)
  • 3 onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cans diced or whole tomato
  • 3 peppers, if possible of different colours
  • 3 big carrots
  • 2 dl white wine
  • 1 can water (or stock – even better)
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tea spoons dried sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tea spoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tea spoon dried thyme
  • olive oil

Instructions

Slice onions and garlic. Onions finely, and garlic even finer. Halve peppers and remove seeds. Slice peppers and carrots to bigger pieces. 

Slice onions.
Slicing onions.
Sliced peppers.
Sliced peppers and carrots.

Heat up a cast iron pot. Add a good amount of olive oil (5 table spoons) and add onions. Cook onions for a few minutes and then add the meat. Leave the heat moderately high and stir occasionally. 

You want the meat to get nicely brown all around. If some of that deep brown meaty “ooze” sticks to the bottom of your pot, you are doing something right. That is pure taste.

dairy-free-chicken-casserole-meat
I make this dairy free chicken casserole with chicken thighs, but this time, I only had breasts at hand.
dairy-free-chicken-casserole-brown-meat
Notice the brown stuff that is sticking to the bottom of the pot – that is pure taste!

Add remaining vegetables (peppers, carrots and garlic), salt and pepper and stir for a few minutes.  When you add vegetables together with salt, they will release water. And this water will dissolve some of those brown delicious spots of nearly burnt meat juices on the base of the pot,,. Which is a good thing.

Wine will add some acidity and richness of taste you can't produce in many other ways.
Wine will add some acidity and richness of taste you can’t produce in many other ways.

Add wine, increase heat and stir for alcohol to evaporate, then add water or stock, canned tomatoes, cayenne and thyme, stir well and cover.

The active part of the instructions is done. Cover and cook the dairy free chicken casserole for two hours on low heat. You want it to only gently simmer, not boil. 

You are done! Serve it with something simple. We usually eat it with plain bread, and this combo works like a charm.

Finished dish!
Finished dish!

Dairy Free Chicken Casserole – Slow Cooked Delight

Yield: 4 portions

Dairy Free Chicken Casserole – Slow Cooked Delight

Ingredients

  • 1 kg chicken thighs (boneless and skinless, but I imagine bone-in and with skin would be great, too)
  • 3 onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cans diced or whole tomato
  • 3 peppers, if possible of different colours
  • 3 big carrots
  • 2 dl white wine
  • 1 can water (or stock - even better)
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tea spoons dried sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tea spoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tea spoon dried thyme
  • olive oil

Instructions

  1. Slice onions finely, and garlic even finer.
  2. Halve peppers and remove seeds. Slice peppers and carrots to bigger pieces.
  3. Heat up a cast iron pot. Add a good amount of olive oil (5 table spoons) and add onions.
  4. Cook onions for a few minutes and then add the meat. Leave the heat moderately high and stir occasionally. until the meat gets nicely brown all around.
  5. Add remaining vegetables (peppers, carrots and garlic), salt and pepper and stir for a few minutes. Add wine, increase heat and stir for alcohol to evaporate, then add water or stock, canned tomatoes, cayenne and thyme, stir well and cover.
  6. Cover and cook for two hours on low heat.

Notes

Serve with a simple side dish. We usually only have it with plain bread.

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