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Anyone who is gluten sensitive knows the misery that accidentally ingesting gluten can cause. This is especially true for people who suffer from celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which inflammation to the small intestine caused by gluten can result in tremendous pain and nutritional malabsorption. As gluten hides in everything from canned soup to nuts, finding gluten-free chicken dishes can be a challenge. With a little preplanning, however, chicken casseroles, soups, and marinades can be created that are gluten free.
It’s important for the gluten-free cook to not only read labels but to do some deep investigation about what really goes into processed foods. Gluten plays peekaboo with ice cream, for example, and many types of yogurt contain gluten, as do most soy sauces and beer. The best offense is a good defense, and this means that chicken dishes prepared with fresh, unprocessed foods are most likely to be gluten free.
The easiest gluten-free chicken is one that has simply been roasted. Tucking a bunch of rosemary, a couple of garlic cloves, and half a lemon into the cavity will sweetly perfume the meat. Served with a salad and a gluten-free grain such as quinoa will leave everyone feeling satisfied and happy.
Busy cooks who have mad crushes on electric slow cookers can find a host of gluten-free chicken recipes. An amazing Asian chicken comes together quickly by combining minced ginger, scallions, and garlic with nonwheat, gluten-free soy sauce, a drizzle of honey, and a splash of sake pouring over chicken pieces tucked into a slow cooker.
Caribbean-style oven chicken dances its way to the dinner table after taking a nice bake bathed in Dijon mustard, a little onion, a sweetener, and freshly squeezed orange juice. Creative cooks can toss in other fruit such as fresh peach slices or some diced apple.
Another south-of-the-border delight is Asopao de Pollo. This gluten-free chicken dish invites ham and bacon into the chicken stew pot along with onions, fresh garden tomatoes, carrots, and other vegetables. Capers add a little zing, and good-quality Romano or other grated cheese mellows the dish nicely. Served with brown, Arborio, or another type of rice, it’s a gluten-free meal that will get top marks.
Cold winter nights will seem a little warmer over a bowl of gluten-free black bean chicken chili. Homemade stewed tomatoes do a cha-cha with precooked black beans and diced cooked chicken. Cumin, oregano, and cilantro add dimension to the zing produced by a dash or two of hot sauce, and sour cream or cheddar cheese add a very fine finish.
In my opinion, if you have a gluten intolerance, meats are one of the few things you don't have to worry about. After all, unless it's processed or breaded, there generally won't be in gluten in it. For example, let's say that you buy raw chicken breasts from the store, and prepare and bake it. You won't get sick. However, if you were to eat chicken nuggets at McDonald's or eat Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), you would experience the effects of ingesting gluten. It's not because they're processed meats, but it's because of the coating. Meats are all natural, but adding any breading can prove to be an issue.
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