Easy Chicken Pho

As with so many of my recipes, this is not truly authentic. I’m lucky there are many Vietnamese restaurants in Southern California that serve delicious gluten-free pho (both beef and chicken). I’m also aware that every place I’ve ever gone has a slightly different variation of the broth.

Some are salty and a bit spicy. Some have a bit more sweetness. Most are very rich, with intense meat or vegetable flavor.

These different flavor profiles make me confident my soup is just fine for those times when I don’t want to venture outside to get my pho fix. And when I say this soup is addictive, you can either take my word for it, or, well, become an addict yourself!

Yes, beef pho is traditional, but I haven’t mastered a good beef broth (I’ve mastered an okay beef broth), so I stick with chicken when I’m dining at home. Some things, I believe, are best left to the experts.

Chicken Tikka Masala

For reasons unknown, most Chicken Tikka Masala dishes in restaurants are on the bland side. This is great if you’re introducing someone to the idea of Indian food, but these dishes are not palate-pleasers.

This recipe, based on Madhur Jaffrey’s, is full of flavor. Ginger, garlic, cumin, and various other spices bring tons of flavor. Grated tomato melts into the dish, adding even more flavor. I love serving this at parties or dishing up for leftovers during the week. It just gets better with time!

Chile Verde

I love chile verde, and, despite all the steps in the recipe below, it’s pretty easy to make. A long, slow simmer on the stove (or, heck, you could do this in a 225 degree oven, if you prefer) brings lots of flavors together. The pork will be falling apart, and the whole dish is tangy with just a hint of heat.

While pork is traditional, chicken is also an option. My recipe for Chicken Chile Verde is right here.

Chicken Chile Verde

Chile Verde is a green, tangy tomatillo-based salsa or sauce. While you can certainly use the sauce for dipping chips or chilaquiles, I love simmering chicken or pork in the sauce for a quick weeknight stew. I love the addition of jalapeno to the sauce, but it can be omitted if your prefer your food less spicy.

(You can also ramp up the heat by using additional peppers or adding a few dashes of red pepper flakes or chipotle powder.)

There is no need to add a thickener to the salsa — the tomatillos have lots of pectin to do the job.

Risotto Milanese

Our first meal in Milan was this delicious, beautiful rice dish. While it is technically a first course or served with Osso Bucco, my husband and I devoured a huge serving of Risotto Milanese and declared ourselves happy. I will confess to eating this dish a, um, few more times over the next week.

And, of course, making it the moment we got home. Risotto is a perfect gluten-free dish — elegant and delicious.

Risotto has a reputation for being challenging and time-consuming. This is only sort of true. Yes, you need to keep on eye on the pan while the rice is absorbing liquid, but this generally happens in about thirty to forty minutes. Constant stirring is important, but you can also find time to do other tasks, including drinking a glass of wine!

Gluten-Free Pulled Pork

I think of pulled pork as the beginning of a very good week of leftovers (see this article for ideas on what to do after you’ve made delicious pulled pork). It’s also a truly bargain dish — pork shoulder (also known as pork butt) goes on sale frequently, in quantities that make leftovers a no brainer.

If I were Southern, I suspect I’d be appalled at my version, but since I’m Californian with a full-time job, I will confess the ease of throwing pork into the crockpot and letting it simmer away all day is my idea of a good time. Walking into the house after a long day and smelling dinner? Priceless.

Since I’m committing heresy left and right with the recipe, I’ll confess to another secret: I don’t brown my pork before putting it into the crockpot. Phew! So happy to get that off my chest. I simply toss it, well seasoned (salt generously and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight), into the crockpot. The rest of the seasoning is in the braising liquid.

(Yes, pulled pork is naturally gluten-free, but some people add soy sauce to their braising liquid. I like the idea of adding that additional level of umami, but will remind you to use to GF soy sauce or tamari!)

See notes below for ideas on making pulled pork in your pressure cooker!

Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Green Olives

There are, by my count, a zillion ways to make this dish, but all are essentially braised chicken with preserved lemons and green olives…and a fantastic sauce to be soaked up by gluten-free pasta or rice. Modify the flavors as your mood strikes, adjusting spices to evoke dishes from Morocco to Spain.

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