Braised chicken with gravy. Just the mention might conjure up happy memories of a family dinner at your grandmothers and make your mouth water. And that gravy. It was the best part, right? Unfortunately classic gravy is usually made with white flour and dairy milk. If you eat gluten-free, dairy-free or grain-free, you might have given up on enjoying rich, sigh-worthy gravy…until now.
Braised Chicken with Cashew Gravy
Last week I promised to post one of my favorite recipes I created for Dr. Mark Hyman’s fantastic new book, Eat Fat Get Thin. Braised chicken with cashew gravy is an American classic recipe re-born without gluten, grain or dairy. The secret ingredient for that rich, creamy taste is none other than cashew butter.
How to Eat Fat and Get Thin
For decades it’s been falsely drilled into us that fat is the enemy. Dr. Hyman blows the lid off our fear of fat. He teaches us not only why, but how to embrace the health and weight-loss benefits of a diet rich in healthy fats like avocados, eggs, coconut, fatty fish, grass-fed meats, and one of my ingredients – nut butters.
What is Braising?
Braising is a traditional two-step cooking method. It’s often done with tougher cuts of meat and a long cooking process, which turns tough cuts into something tender. Braising is easy, hands-off and fool proof. Braising works for tender moist chicken breasts too, and they cook in 20-25 minutes.
Start the Chicken
To start, trim the small ribs and extra fat from the breasts. Season and cook until golden in a little olive oil. Turn the chicken over and pour a flavorful blend of almond milk, chicken broth, garlic, Dijon mustard, thyme and cashew butter around the chicken. Sprinkle in the thyme. Top with a lid and finish the chicken in the oven. In 20-25 minutes your chicken will be cooked to moist perfection.
To make the gravy, remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat (gentle bubbles) and whisk in a little arrowroot starch and water mixture which thickens the sauce into gravy. That’s it.
You will probably have extra gravy, as a serving is 1/2 cup per person. Leftover gravy reheats well and keeps tightly covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
If you missed the post on Eat Fat Get Thin, you can read it here.
Braised Chicken with Cashew Gravy
Cashew butter gives the gravy an amazingly smooth richness, a delicious accompaniment to the crisp-skinned chicken breast. Save any extra gravy for another chicken dish.
- 4 in bone-skin-on chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1½ cups chicken broth low or no sodium
- ½ cups plain unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ cup creamy raw cashew butter I use Artisana
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 tablespoons filtered water
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
- Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Trim any excess fat from the tops and sides of the chicken breasts.
- With a heavy knife or poultry scissors, trim off the small side rib bones for a clean edge. Discard the ribs and excess fat.
Over medium heat, add olive oil to a 5½-quart Dutch oven or other heavy pan large enough to hold all of the chicken breasts in a single layer. Combine salt, garlic and pepper in a small bowl and sprinkle over the chicken breasts. Place the chicken breasts skin side down and allow them to cook until they have a golden brown crust, 5-7 minutes. Turn the chicken over.
- In a bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the broth, almond milk, cashew butter, mustard and the garlic until smooth. Pour around the chicken in the pan. Sprinkle with chopped thyme leaves. Place a lid on the pan and place in the oven. Roast the chicken for approximately 30 minutes or until a digital thermometer reads 160°F-165°F when inserted into the thickest part without touching the bone. When the chicken is done, remove the pieces to a plate or platter and keep it warm covered with foil.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the water and the arrowroot starch and stir until smooth. Add the arrowroot mixture to the pot with the chicken juices and whisk until smooth. Simmer for 2-3 minutes to cook off the raw taste and for the juices to thicken into gravy.
- Serve the chicken with a 1/2 cup of the gravy per person. Store any leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
Nutritional analysis per serving (1 breast, 1/2 cup sauce): calories 340, fat 23 g, saturated fat 6 g, cholesterol 65 mg, fiber 1 g, protein 24 g, carbohydrate 10 g, 806 mg sodium