Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
One dish comfort food dinners will always have a place in our hearts! Often new clients believe that they will need to sacrifice their favorite foods if they want to become healthier, and that is just not the case! The trick is to switch out the unsupportive foods for those that are more supportive of the best health. It’s all about adaptation so that you can have your comfort food and a trim waist too!
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 6 green onions, sliced
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped finely
- 1 cup packed with baby spinach (or other leafy greens)
- 2 full chicken breasts, steamed and shredded
- 100 mL chicken stock
- ½ Tablespoon of stone-ground old fashioned mustard
- 1 ½ cups frozen green peas
- 200 mL coconut cream
- A small handful of fresh tarragon, chopped finely
- A small handful of fresh parsley, chopped finely
- 1 medium daikon radish, thinly sliced in rounds
- 3 Tablespoons of coconut flour
- 1 egg, beaten it thoroughly with a fork
Make it vegetarian by substituting mushrooms for chicken and vegetable broth for chicken stock.
This recipe has a few distinct steps to get the “crust” ready, the filling prepared, and to put it all together. Each step flows into the next, creating a pretty simple and streamlined process, and you also get to do some food prep in the meantime.
The first step is to work the magic of turning a vegetable into a light, flaky, slightly crunchy crust substitute. Clean and dry your daikon radish and then slice it very thinly. This can be done with a mandolin or a very sharp kitchen knife, just be safe! Once you have your round slices of radish, place them into a colander over a bowl. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the rounds and toss to combine. Set aside to sweat and drain. As they sit the salt will pull water out of them, which will make them chewier and less soggy when baked.
Next, you are going to steam and shred your chicken. If the idea of boiling chicken sounds unappealing, I promise this gentle simmer method will turn out for you. As long as you check the chicken and remove it once it reaches the magic temperature, your chicken will be perfect every single time. This process will give you chicken for the dish, chicken in the fridge for later convenient meals, and chicken stock for the recipe and a later recipe.
Simply pour a tablespoon or so of oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot, then add the boneless, skinless chicken breasts so that they are in an even layer across the bottom, then season them with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. I like to make 6 or so at a time. Next cover the chicken with 1 inch of water. Place the pot on the stove and bring the water to a gentle boil. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat and let simmer for 8 to 16 minutes, depending upon the size and number of chicken breasts that you are poaching. The chicken is done when the center reaches 165℉. I use an instant-read meat thermometer for guaranteed safety and accuracy. Remove your chicken from the water, which is now stock, and set on a plate to cool.
While your chicken is simmering you can chop the onions, celery, and fresh herbs. You want the vegetables to be minced quite finely so that they will not make the finished filling too crumbly. They are mainly there for flavor, not texture.
Once your chicken has cooled slightly you can shred it. I do this using a stand mixer. This is by far the fastest and easiest way to shred chicken, but not the only way. If you have a stand mixer, place all of your chicken breasts in the bowl, add the paddle or whisk attachment and make sure to lock the tilt head (if you have one) to prevent it from bouncing up. Turn your stand mixer on low and in 15 seconds you’ll have shredded chicken. If that is not an option, take one breast at a time and use two forks to separate the chicken meat and shred as you separate. Continue this process with each chicken breast. You can also simply chop the chicken if you are in a hurry!
At this point the recipe comes together quickly! Preheat the oven to 450℉ and grease a 3.7 quart round casserole dish or deep cast iron frying pan. I love using my cast iron because it means less dishes to do, however a casserole dish looks lovely and is easier to keep in the fridge!
Take your deep frying pan and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil then place the pan over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onions and allow them to simmer for 5 minutes. Next add the chopped spinach, mustard, shredded chicken, stock and cream together for 5-10 minutes.
Stir in the peas and fresh herbs, then 2 tablespoons of coconut flour to thicken the juice to a sauce. This will result in a very juicy pie. If you prefer less moisture, use a tablespoon each of dried tarragon and parsley rather than fresh. At this point pour the pie filling into your casserole dish if you wish, or leave it in the pan and simply remove from the heat.
Returning to the daikon radishes, make sure that they are draining off some of their moisture. Lay out a dish towel and place the radish rounds on it, then pat the tops dry. In a dry bowl, add the radish pieces and dust them with 1 tablespoon of coconut flour to dry any excess moisture and add flavour and texture. Layer the radish slices around the top edge of the dish, starting at the outer edge and forming concentric circles until the top is covered.
If you want the crust to be a bit more golden and extra crispy, crack an egg into a small bowl, whisk briefly with a fork to combine the yolk and white, then gently use a pastry brush to add a thin layer of egg wash over the radish rounds. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Serve hot.