I’ve been taking a break from the Food Network’s FN Dish weekly posts during the hectic holiday season, but I am happy to be back, stretching my creativity again!
We are now into the winter months when we long for big hearty meals to warm us on chilly days. To follow that, we are beginning our #ComfortFoodFeast series. Keep your eyes out for lots of wonderful old-fashioned recipes coming your way for the next few months before we transition to spring produce.
Today’s theme is Casseroles. There were so many directions I could have gone with this (as with every weekly theme), but I thought it would be fun, delicious, and helpful to give you a gluten-free casserole you can pull out if you are hosting someone with a dietary restriction, as well as being sure it is something your whole family will enjoy.
When my nephew was first diagnosed with gluten issues, he would come to dinner and I would panic, not sure what I could safely make for him. I would have given anything to have a couple of recipes like this one in my pocket that I could count on. Since marrying The Artist, my favorite casual meal was always pasta. Without personal experience yet, I had no idea where to find GF pasta or which ones were the best (I have favorites now). Suddenly my go-to meals weren’t going to work. But this one is fantastic and everyone, gluten-free or not, will love it!
The first time I tried making a similar dish, I used every pot, pan and bowl in the kitchen. It was a nightmare to clean up, especially in the days when I lived in a tiny apartment with no dishwasher. Over the years I’ve streamlined the method, saving you a lot of time and steps – not to mention only using two pans!
The ingredient list looks really long, but most of them are items you already have in your pantry or refrigerator. If you can’t find poblano peppers in your local stores, substitute canned minced mild green peppers. If your family is sensitive to spicy foods, leave out the jalapeno because that is where your heat is going to come from. Poblanos and the ancho chile powder are both packed with flavor but without much heat. The chipotle powder can be hot (it is dried, smoked jalapenos), but I’ve included just a little so you get the hint of smokiness without burning your tongue. If even that little amount is too much, just use smoked paprika instead.
To make it even easier, you could make the sofrito ahead and keep in the fridge until you are ready to make the casserole. Reheat it lightly before stirring into the rice. That will save you a little work and speed up your process a bit.
I love making this in one of my Le Creuset Dutch ovens. They are pretty enough to bring straight to the table for serving. And when you lift the lid, the aromas fill the room and everyone happily gets to see the casserole before it has been disturbed. Because they are enameled cast iron, your casserole will stay piping hot so second helpings will be just as warm as the first round!
This is great for a crowd of hungry teenagers or family dinner with your whole gang. I hope you love this warming, filling, and healthy meal as much as The Artist and I did. The leftovers were pretty fantastic tonight too 😉 Have fun!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
If you are serving this to little ones who have trouble cutting the chicken off the bones, you can always make it with boneless chicken pieces. Make the rice and sofrito, mix together and put in the oven to bake. Saute the chicken lightly and add to the rice mixture toward the end of the cooking, just long enough to cook it through. Then you can cut it into small bites for your little ones before serving!
Different types of rice require different amounts of liquids. Take a look at the recommended ratio on the packaging and adjust the recipe so that you have a bit more liquid than the rice requires – the chicken needs to cook in the liquid to remain moist and tender.
While wines are naturally gluten-free, some coopers and vineyards may use a flour paste to caulk the oak barrels. If you have a reaction, don’t use that brand again. Contact the vineyards directly to see if they know how their barrels were made. Some wineries are foregoing barrels in favor of steel tanks.
- 3 tbsp organic olive oil
- 3 lb cut-up chicken pieces, patted dry with paper towels
- 3 tbsp organic olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 poblano or other mild peppers, stems and seeds discarded, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds discarded, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro or Italian parsley
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground ancho chile
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder or smoked paprika (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 1 (28 oz) container crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2-3 cups rich chicken stock (gluten-free if needed) - see note regarding amount of liquid
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
- 1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
- Chopped fresh cilantro or Italian parsley
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Brown the Chicken: In a large Dutch oven or stove/ovenproof cooking vessel with a tight fitting lid, heat oil. Carefully place chicken pieces skin-side down in hot oil. Do not crowd the pan, cooking in batches if needed. Brown the chicken for about 10 to 15 minutes per side, turning once, until golden brown. If the chicken won’t release, leave it another couple of minutes. When perfectly browned, it will release on its own. Chicken will finish cooking in the oven. Remove chicken and set on a plate or bowl. Repeat with remaining chicken if needed.
- Make the Sofrito: While the chicken is browning, in a 12-inch sauté pan with straight sides, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers, stirring to coat with the oil. Reduce to medium-low heat and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes, or until onions are softened. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add remaining sofrito ingredients. Cook, stirring often, for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned and flavors have blended. Turn the heat down to low.
- Prepare the Rice: Stir the rice into the drippings from the chicken left in the Dutch oven, tossing to completely coat with oil. Don’t worry if some of the rice sticks to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the sofrito and season with 1/2 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add the wine or vermouth, scraping up any browned bits and rice sticking to the bottom. Add remaining rice ingredients, stirring well to combine. Add chicken pieces and any accumulated liquid to the rice.
- Bake the Casserole: Cover and place in preheated oven. Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the rice is tender and chicken is cooked through. Chicken will register 160°F on an instant read thermometer when done. You can use a lower oven temperature if you prefer to have the dinner ready at a later time.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a serving dish and keep warm.
- Using two forks, gently rake rice, separating the grains without compacting them. Gently scoop rice onto a warmed serving platter, top with the chicken, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.
- Yield: 6 servings
- NOTE: Different types of rice require different amounts of liquid. Check the packaging and use that ratio plus a little extra liquid for this recipe. You will need enough liquid so that the chicken cooks through, but not so much that the rice winds up soupy. Long grain rice will hold up and not get as soft as short or medium grain.
Create a New Tradition Today!
This recipe is part of Food Network’s weekly Comfort Food Feast. See the links below for inspiration and great recipes and check out our Pinterest page for even more!
The Cultural Dish: Mediterranean Fish Casserole
The Heritage Cook: Arroz Con Pollo Casserole (Gluten-Free)
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Baked Artichoke Radicchio Risotto with Lemon-Caper Breadcrumbs
Taste with the Eyes: Mini Shrimp and Grits Casseroles
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Lasagne al Forno with Chard & Mushrooms
Red or Green: Pasta “al forno” Casserole with Mushrooms, Peppers & Vegetables
Swing Eats: Pastitsio: A Delicious Greek Pasta Casserole (gluten-free)
Virtually Homemade: Tamale Pie
Weelicious: Chicken Wild Rice Casserole
Haute Apple Pie: Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Domesticate Me: Baked Orzo with Turkey Sausage, Broccolini and Fontina
FN Dish: 5 Hearty Casseroles Ready to Warm You Up
Let’s connect! If you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, need to alter a recipe for gluten-free, or want recipe suggestions, don’t hesitate to email me. Thanks for reading!
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