Winter seems to have suddenly ramped up here in Oz, stirring an unmistakeable desire to create tasty comfort food. This dish delivers on that front and is super easy to put together. It also makes for some great leftovers to save coming up with something for lunch (or dinner as the case may be).
Chicken thighs are a fattier cut of chicken, however they are well suited to a slow cooked dish and tastier than breast meat. Remember, don’t be afraid of animal fats in your cooking – this is how we create hormones, get flavour from meat and go away from a meal genuinely satisfied.
I think a lot of people may read this post and think “I make this sort of thing all the time, so this is Paleo?!” and the answer is a resounding “YES!” Believe it or not, a lot of meals ARE paleo-friendly. I hope that goes some way to assuring people that Paleo isn’t really all that hard if you plan ahead. A lot of your favouite dishes may already be Paleo-friendly, or may just need a minor tweak here and there.
I should note here for the Paleo purists that I do eat a little white rice – the reason being that it’s low in the phytates we avoid in grains (much lower than brown rice) and I really believe I would do my head in if I tried to avoid it. Especially eating out socially. I only eat it at night though when I eat most of my carbs. This also helps my blood sugar stay nice and happy during the daytime.
1 kg boneless and skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp sichuan peppercorns*
3 x 2cm piece fresh ginger, shredded
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
80mL chinese rice wine or sherry
60mL tamari** (or coconut aminos if you can source them)
1 tbsp honey
1 star anise
3 spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally
Cut each thigh in half. Put the chicken pieces, peppercorns, ginger, garlic rice wine/sherry, honey and star anise in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with spring onions and serve with steamed white rice and a vegetable side dish.
*Sichuan peppercorns are available at many Asian grocery stores.It’s well worth seeking them out to create some heat in the dish.
**Tamari is a better choice than soy sauce as it’s gluten free, however it still has soy in it. Some Paleo cooks use coconut aminos instead – I have bought these from iHerb, but they’re not quite the same. I think a little tamari, maybe mixed with the coconut aminos is acceptable, unless of course you have an issue with soy (it is known to be one of the biggest food intolerances around)