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Friday, August 10, 2012

Chicken Lentil Patties Recipe- Gluten Free, Egg Free


Often its those things that we know we can't have that we end up craving most.
I never was big into processed, packaged foods, always preferring that home cooked meal to prepackaged, chemical laden junk.
And yet, when I recently was in the grocery store, my eyes fell upon this ready cooked meal that I just "had to have"- chicken and lentil patties, made with ground chicken, flecked with brown lentils. It looked so tempting, I nearly grabbed it up and purchased it, hefty price tag and all, but of course, my brain knocked some sense into me, and I looked at the package, where it stated quite clearly "contains gluten".
Duh.
Nearly everything does these days.
But that wouldn't stop me. If I couldn't purchase those chicken lentil patties, why, I'd just have to make them myself! But how could I recreate them when I've never tasted them before?
I knew I'd figure it out.
A look at the ingredients on the label informed me that the patties contained "chicken, lentils, onion, bread crumbs, potato flakes, and spices" among a whole long list of chemicals.
Well, that was a starting point. We had 4 ingredients to work with, as I obviously was going to be leaving out the bread crumbs.
As for spices, I tried to picture what spices would work best with this recipe, and came up with garlic powder, cilantro, cumin, and paprika, in addition to the aforementioned onions.
I then got to work assembling the dish.
Because I'm (hopefully temporarily) off eggs in an attempt to see if that's what is causing my daughter's rash, I couldn't use eggs as a binder as I usually would, so ground flax seed was the next ingredient to go in. (You can make this without flax seeds; add an egg in its place and leave out the tablespoon of oil.)
As I was leaving out the bread crumbs, I used potato flakes (unseasoned, instant mashed potatoes) in its place.
In my mind, the dish was going to be terrific; like Mozart I could picture and taste the food already in my head; my hands' job was to make this masterpiece a reality.
As the patties sizzled in my skillet, I waited patiently. Would they meet my expectations? Would they be all I was hoping for?
Fortunately, I was not let down. I think these probably were the tastiest lentil dish I had in a long, long time, if not forever. Its quite possibly the best chicken I've ever eaten as well, but that I'm less sure of, as I've had a lot of amazing chicken in my life.
I highly recommend you try this recipe- you won't be disappointed.
And as for that prepackaged garbage- I have not the slightest doubt in my mind that my chicken lentil patties tasted infinitely better.

This is a terrific dish if you want to serve meat at a meal but want to stretch it, while not compromising on the amount of protein. You can make this also with ground turkey. Feel free to substitute all or part of the potato flakes with bread crumbs if gluten isn't an issue for you.

Chicken Lentil Patties Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked green/brown lentils
2 cups ground chicken
1 onion
1/2 cup potato flakes
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1-1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon fresh cilantro/corriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon oil, plus more for frying.

Instructions:
1. Stick the onion in the food processor or grate with a fine grater. Let it sit for a few minutes so the liquids separate. Pour off the liquids. (You can save this if you want it to cook with.)

2. Leave the lentils whole. Mix together with the chicken.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well to incorporate them.

4. Lightly oil a skillet or other non stick pan or pot with a cover, and heat up. (I use my cast iron skillet.)

5. Wet your hands, take a golf ball sized clump of the mixture in your hands, flatten slightly, then place in your pan.

6. Cover the pan. Cook on a medium/low heat for 5-10 minutes, or until browned on one side. Flip, then cook until browned on the other side. Alternatively, bake on a lightly greased baking tray, flipping over when the bottom is browned, and removing from the oven when the other side is browned.

Serving Suggestion:
Plate on a bed of lettuce, with some tomato basil salad on the side, or serve in a rice paper wrap with lettuce, sprouts, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
My husband ate his with ketchup, but I felt it was overkill, and actually diminished my enjoyment when eating these.

Yield: 20 patties.

Does this look like a recipe you'd try?
Were there any dishes you'd seen in the store or restaurant, and wanted to recreate, either with or without having tasted it? What food was it? How did it come out? Did it meet or exceed your expectations, or fall short?

Linking up to WFMWReal Food WednesdayAllergy Free Wednesday

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