Whole30 Day 2, 175 Dinner: with only five additional days on this program, I’ve completely lost count of the seconds, minutes, hours left until I’m finished with it. Twenty-five days? Really? Southern gal gotta be honest here, I am HANGRY. Am I experiencing a mind-altering revelation here as promised? Hell yeah, I am. My revelation? People need to eat! Variety! No rice, legumes, corn, honey even for 30 days? What was I thinking? Oh it’ll be so invigorating to challenge my creativity in the kitchen! And everyone can benefit from a crash course on reading labels to keep that top-of-mind awareness strong, right? Everyone else is doing it so let’s just see what all the fuss is all about. I mean, it can’t hurt, right? Five. More. Days.
First of all, I need to talk about cauliflower rice. Cauliflower “rice”? Bah Humbug! Oh I’m back to my original hatred of this supposed “equally satisfying” rice substitute. Humans have only been eating rice for like 10, 000 years, but yeah okay, let’s just play the Devil’s Advocate here and see if you’re right Whole30. Rice is baaadd for my health. Pulsed cauliflower is so bad it’s insulting. Cauliflower in place of rice is an abomination and has definitely wrecked havoc on the well being of my health! Rice, on the other hand, has never had such a negative impact on my life. Rice is ancient and it’s delicious!
So my first “Tiger Blood” Revelation of Food Enlightenment: cauliflower “rice” sucks. Unless you are roasting, sauteing, stir frying, or enjoying it raw don’t cook with it. Cauliflower is not meant for ricing, flattening or mashing, in my opinion. The only acceptable “substitutes” on this program, again in my opinion, are the Coconut Aminos and in a handful of applications Nutritional Yeast and Almond flour are okay. Otherwise, this home chef is going right back to rice, legumes and that oh so humble grass, corn. Some things are just better left pure as they are. You want rice with your Tikka Masala? Then make Basmati rice and do not for any reason pulse cauliflower in its place!
Miss Hangry is feeling a bit better now. Tangent over. Not sure what my second revelation might entail, or if I’ll even have one, but right now all that matters is five more days.
This roast chicken was served with slightly over roasted Brussels Sprouts and a unique, umami packed gravy. Was it good? I critiqued it pretty harshly. I was proud of the chicken but not happy with my results of the rest of the meal. The Brussels needed to come out 10 minutes sooner than I pulled them. My sweetheart of a wife reassured me that my overly charred Brussels tasted just like the crispy edges of a brownie, that it tasted like she had brownie in her mouth. I accepted her generous compliment fully aware that she’s a wee bit Whole30 delirious.
Looking back, I should have served the chicken and gravy with mash but guess what, I’m sort of sick of potatoes. Gasp!
Five more days….
Szechuan Peppercorn Crusted Chicken
1 good quality Whole Chicken
1 tsp Szechuan Peppercorns, toasted
1/4 cup Homemade Mayo, or mayo of choice
1″ piece fresh Ginger, rough chopped
3 cloves Garlic, smashed
1 Jalapeno, stem removed
1/4 cup Toasted Sesame Oil, divided
1/2 cup Carrots, sliced
1/2 cup Portobellos, sliced
1/2 Sweet Onion, sliced
1 Orange Bell Pepper, sliced
1/2 cup Water or sugar free Stock
1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice Powder, or to taste
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind the toasted peppercorns in a Mortar and Pastel or coffee grinder until medium course. Set aside. In a roasting pan or Dutch oven, toss the carrots, mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper with the 5 Spice and just enough Sesame oil to lightly coat the veggies. Arrange in the bottom of the roasting pan or Dutch oven. Add enough of the water or stock to just submerge the veggies. Set aside.
Salt the chicken inside the cavity and out. Stuff the Jalapeno, ginger, and garlic inside the cavity. With kitchen twine, secure the cavity by trussing the chicken legs together. Slather the outside of the chicken generously with the homemade mayo. Next rub in the peppercorns. Set the chicken on top of the veggies and roast in the oven about 45 min to an hour. Feel free to baste the chicken in its own juices at this time or add additional Sesame oil, if desired. Continue to roast the chicken until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees, about half an hour longer.
Once the desired temperature is reached, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest on a carving board for at least 15 minutes. With an Immersion or counter blender, puree the veggies and chicken jus leftover in the pan, adding additional water, if needed, to create a gravy like consistency. Carve the chicken and serve with the gravy and your favorite sides.