Google Analytics

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gluten-Free Dirty Rice and Polenta Spoonbread

So much with kids and with parenting is a guessing game. You can read all the books in the world, take parenting advice from your parents and in-laws, but the reality is, every child is different. I was a child of multiple, multiple food allergies, restricted to a diet from age 4 until I was on my own in college (when I quit the diet whether it was actually healthy for me or not.) One of my big reasons for breastfeeding both of my children was the research that shows that kids who are breastfed have less allergic tendencies, so I hoped if anything, I could help them avoid missing out on all of the foods I did. Little did I know, most of the foods I pined for as a child, like pizza, packaged meals, and candy bars, were junk anyway. With my daughter, she had some allergic reactions as an infant, but then they all seemed to fade away.

Fast forward six years. My son was allergic to dairy and soy even when I breastfed him, and I have been possibly overly cautious in the way we went about starting him on solids. It seemed for a period of time, however, that dairy and soy were my only concerns, and the floodgates of solids opened. He is, after all, a toddler now, and wants to feed himself. He demands foods with great greed, shoving bits of food into his mouth indiscriminately, doing the "happy food dance" when he eats something he particularly likes. But he has had multiple stomach and digestive issues, and after a comment from my mother-in-law a few weeks ago, I finally decided to research his issues. He could have multiple things wrong with him, but the most likely culprit seems to be gluten. Of course, I could run him out to the doctor for testing for many disorders, but it does seem that eliminating gluten for a couple of weeks is easier and much less traumatic.

Except he loves toast. And he's a bread man's grandson. Easy? Um, maybe not so much.

But I am determined, and the more I read, the more I am convinced that possibly I have an intolerance to gluten I never realized.... OH THE AGONY. I JUST LEARNED TO BAKE BREAD IN THE LAST YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, we are trying this gluten-free thing. R and I are doing really good, M and S are not. They are really stubborn and think morning cereal is a food of the gods.

And it seems that GF is helping R. So, I came up with my Gluten-Free version of Dirty Rice and a Polenta Spoonbread. It starts off oddly, but came out really tasty!

Gluten-Free Dirty Rice

1 lb chicken livers
1 stalk celery
1 carrot
1/2 red bell pepper
1/4 onion
3 tsp. thyme
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp cayenne pepper
olive oil
2 tsp almond flour
2 cups chicken stock (homemade, preferably)
4 cups of pre-cooked rice

If you do not have rice you have already cooked, you will want to start it cooking first. I find this recipe a handy use for the leftover containers of rice taking up space in the fridge. Chop the onions, carrot, red bell peppers, garlic, and celery into small bits, and them keep them handy. Melt about 2 tbsp of butter and add the almond flour, stirring constantly to make a nice roux. Add in the veggies and about 1 tsp. of the thyme. Stir together so it all mixes well, and cook until the onions are starting to turn translucent. Watch the garlic carefully to be sure it doesn't burn. Meanwhile, put the chicken livers into a food processor or blender, and shred them completely. When you have the right consistency, the contents of your processor will look like blood soup (quite nasty, really.) If the pan with the veggies needs some olive oil at this point (most likely it will) add a couple of tablespoons. Add the chicken livers to the veggies, along with about 1/2 tsp. of the cayenne pepper and another 1 tsp. of the thyme. Cook on low heat, stirring pretty constantly to be sure all of the liver is getting cooked evenly. You are looking for it to turn a ghastly gray color. Once you have that, stir in the rice, mixing it in well with the liver & veggie mixture. Add the stock, and the remaining spices. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally to be sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. You want the stock to cook mostly out, so it all gets the lovely flavors and moisture from it.

Polenta Spoonbread

2 cups polenta (in a box, not the rolled kind)
2 cups of chicken stock (preferably homemade)
4 eggs

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook the polenta according to package directions (generally bring it to a boil in the stock and let it cook for about 5 minutes.) In a mixing bowl, whip 4 egg whites into soft peaks. Mix the cooked polenta in with 2 egg yolks and 2 of the egg whites. Fold in the other egg whites, and then add seasoning (I used 1 1/2 tsp. of each.) Spread the mixture in an oiled baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is starting to look a bit crusty and slightly browned.The bread comes out tasting a lot like a cornbread based dressing, but fluffier.

To serve, spoon large spoonfuls into a bowl and top with the dirty rice.

This was a hit with the entire family. And the 7 year old was particularly impressed. The conversation went like this:
"What is that?"
"Polenta spoonbread."
"What is spoonbread?"
"Bread you have to serve with a spoon."
"What is polenta?"
"Fancy Italian grits."
"You made bread out of grits? WOW. THAT IS AWESOME!!!!!"

It is worth noting if you are trying to go gluten-free that polenta is a gluten-free substance. All manufacturers do not think alike. It's better to read your product's packaging to be sure!

No comments:

Post a Comment