Are we weary yet of chicken breast fried, baked, braised, roasted, fricasseed or chicken legs and thighs coated with crushed pork rinds and baked? Are ya? This keto challenge can be daunting when meal planning is on the agenda. Can’t have this, no, can’t eat that, whatever happened to the nice side dish of brown rice or pasta? Hmmm, out of necessity, new recipes are born.
I have always loved porcupines. That was my grandmother’s name for cabbage bundles she created with ground beef and rice or ground pork and rice. Of course by the time she added the onion, herbs and spices and then simmered those bundles in a zesty tomato sauce, all hands were on the dinner table waiting impatiently for her bowls of porcupines. Served with a slice of homemade bread – Lord, it don’t get any better than that.
Ground chicken! Yep, that’s right. Grandma’s recipe can be just as delicious with ground chicken, a meat about half the price of ground beef. With the keto plan we are no longer limited to lean breast meat. No, just go ahead and enjoy the fat-enhanced flavor of dark chicken meat. Of course, organic is a nice choice, but, we can’t always choose the organics which usually cost twice as much.
HERE ARE THE INGREDIENTS
- 1 lb ground chicken preferably dark meat and breast meat
- 1 (14.5 oz) can finely diced tomatoes
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped including leaves
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 4 large outer cabbage leaves (for 2 servings)
- 3-4 tbs butter (yes, I said tablespoons – butter is now our friend)
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 12 toothpicks
- salt and pepper to taste
If you have fresh herbs, that’s wonderful. Just remember to adjust your amounts.
- Start with the cabbage by carefully removing intact 4 of the outer leaves
- Place them in a steamer basket and steam until barely tender. You want the leaves to be pliable but not mushy.
- In a bowl mix the chicken, onions, garlic, carrot, celery, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Place the butter to melt in a medium sized saucepot.
- Take each cabbage leaf, spoon 1/4 of the meat mixture onto the leaf and wrap into square bundles with the denser rib section as the last overlap. Insert 3 toothpicks into each bundle.
- The butter, having melted over a medium high heat, is now ready to saute the bundles about 5 minutes.
- Remove the bundles to a plate and add the tomatoes, the basil and oregano to the saucepot allowing the mixture to come to a boil.
- Return the chicken bundles, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook 30 to 45 minutes, basting a few times with the tomato sauce.
I’m sure I could spend the rest of my life eating Grandma’s chicken and corn soup and be a completely satisfied man. She always used dark meat chicken for more flavor, but it is equally delicious using chicken breast. This main course soup is a budget stretcher which complements any shopping list. Add some chopped escarole and you’ve created a health dynamo. If escarole is not available at your grocery, curly endive, a cousin of escarole, will work just as well.
Escarole has no fat. One and one-half cups of chopped escarole has only 15 calories, 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of carbohydrates. It adds 5.2% to 8% of your recommended daily consumption of fiber which is a critical component of bowel health decreasing risk of constipation, diarrhea and diverticulitis. We all know that adequate fiber will satisfy hunger with fewer calories, but to avoid bloating and gas work up slowly to an amount of 25 to 38 grams daily.
But wait, there’s more. This one serving of 1 1/2 cups of escarole supplies 30% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 4% of your DRV of iron and calcium. A shortage of iron may cause you to feel tired, dizzy and headachy. We all know the importance of calcium, don’t we? Yeah, strong teeth and bones. healthfully.com
here are the ingredients
- 3 TBS olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 4 chicken legs and thighs or 2 breasts ( or a combination of dark and white meat, it’s up to you whether to use the skin in cooking, I believe it adds additional flavor, but also calories and fat)
- about 4 cups chopped escarole (Grandma never used greens other than fresh parsley and it was just as delicious)
- 3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed from cob or 2 cups frozen corn
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 3 hard boiled eggs sliced
- a sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 3 TBS chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- heat the olive oil in a stew pot or Dutch oven
- add the onions and garlic
- cook until translucent being careful not to scorch the garlic
- remove from the pot and reserve for later
- add the chicken legs, thighs, breast
- saute in the oil until lightly golden
- add enough broth to cover the chicken pieces and bring to boil
- immediately reduce the heat to a slow simmer, cover the pot
- cook on low heat about 30-45 minutes adding more broth if needed
- remove chicken from pot, set in bowl to cool
- add the greens, herbs, corn, and rest of the broth
- bring to a boil
- reduce heat to simmer and cover the pot
- cook about 15 minutes
- while that is cooking, skin and debone the chicken pieces
- tear meat into bite-sized pieces
- add the chicken and reserved onions and garlic to the soup
- add more broth or hot water if necessary to keep it soup
- season with salt and pepper
- ladle into bowls and top with the sliced hard-boiled eggs