Many years ago, I came up with a recipe for Smothered Chicken that was a family, friend and read favorite, but it was made with a tradition roux (butter, flour, milk) and heavy on the dairy. Since several members of our family are sensitive to cow dairy, and many of our friends are gluten-free, it was time for a dairy-free, gluten-free upgrade.
The bechamel sauce, the humble white sauce, is a staple in kitchens around the world. It is one of the “Mother Sauces” in French and Italian cooking, but sadly many young cooks in the U.S. reach for that red can of condensed “cream of” soup instead of making the simple, delicious and versatile white sauce. This recipe uses variations on the bechamel sauce, but it is delicious. Our children declared that it tasted like “nostalgia” referring to their comfort food favorite, Smothered Chicken.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Saucy Chicken and Broccoli
10 cups of cooked, cubed or shredded chicken meat (set aside)
1 pounds fresh (or frozen if that’s what you have) organic broccoli florets
6 cups cashew, almond or any non-dairy milk
1/2 cup cashew, almond or any non-dairy milk
4 rounded Tablespoons arrowroot
4 Tablespoons non-dairy butter, or expeller-pressed coconut oil or healthy fat of choice
4 ounces organic raw coconut aminos
1 teaspoon onion powder (more to taste)
1 teaspoon garlic powder (more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
Roast the broccoli; preheat oven to 450. Place the broccoli in a single layer in am oiled baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt over broccoli. Stir to coat. Roast uncovered for 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the broccoli is browned, caramelized and cooked in the middle. Don’t overcook! Set aside.
Make the sauce; place fat in a large saucepan over medium heat. When pan is hot, add 6 cups of the non-dairy milk, onion and garlic powder, coconut aminos and heat until almost boiling. In a bowl or measuring cup mix 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk with 4 Tablespoons of arrowroot powder and stir until the arrowroot is dissolved. Add the arrowroot and milk to the hot milk mixture in the pan, stirring constantly until thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Add the chicken to the sauce and stir to coat. Stir in the broccoli. Add salt and pepper if desired.
Variations: Saute’ onions and mushrooms and add in when adding broccoli.
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