Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gluten Free Cooking

At The Fresh Ingredient we are seeing more and more customers looking for gluten free foods. Gluten Intolerance and Coeliac Disease are becoming more common in Australian society. I'm sure there are many reasons for this, but one of things that we, as food professionals have noticed is the amount of gluten that is added to foods, especially convenience foods and highly processed foods. If you read the ingredients list on jars of curry sauces, pasta sauces etc you will find thickeners are often added, along with other preservatives, colourings etc. Many people comment to me that Gluten is in everything. I don't agree. Gluten is in many foods, but with knowledge and care it is easy to eat Gluten Free.

All fruits and vegetables are gluten free, as is meat. The majority of dairy products are gluten free, you just have to check what has been added to your cheese and yoghurts. Eating grain based foods is a little more difficult, but rice, quinoa, tapioca, buckwheat, corn, millet and amaranth are all gluten free and they are becoming more readily available.
I often hear people say "I don't want to eat grilled meat and steamed vegetables every night, but I have to eat gluten free, what can I do?" At The Fresh Ingredient home we eat gluten free most nights, we love warming casseroles, pies, risotto and even pasta dishes. We use gluten free pasta, and make our own meat and vegetable based sauces. When making casseroles or stews I still coat the meat before browning it, but I use rice flour and a selection of Herbies spice mixes, rather than gluten based prepared slow-cooker bases. Risotto can be a filling, tasty and relatively easy dinner dish. If you use good quality stock and fresh meat and vegetables this will be a gluten free dinner that the whole family will enjoy!
Smoked Chicken and Capsicum Risotto
6 cups chicken stock - either homemade or The Stock Merchant Chicken Stock
1 cup good quality white wine,
1.5 cups arborio or carnoli rice
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 golden shallot (eschallot), finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup finely diced mixed capsicum (red, green and yellow)
1 smoked chicken breast finely diced
2 tbs Brookfarm Macadamia Oil
1 tbs butter
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste.
1. Heat chicken stock over low heat and maintain at a simmer. It is best to heat the stock before adding to the rice so that the rice cooks more quickly at a steady temperature.
2. Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add finely chopped brown onion, golden shallot and crushed garlic cloves and cook, while stirring, for 5 minutes or until the onion softens. Add diced capsicum and stir until capsicum softens, then add one and a half cups of carnoli/arborio rice and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 1 to 2 minutes or until the grains appear glassy and are coated in the butter mixture.
3. Add one cup of white wine and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is completely absorbed. Add a ladleful of the hot stock and stir continuously until the liquid is completely absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously, allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding more.
4. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender yet firm to the bite and risotto is creamy. Remember to stir every minute or so. In the last 5 minutes add the diced smoked chicken.
5. Remove from heat and add parmesan.
Serve with the remainder of the white wine and a green salad if desired.

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