Fall always makes me want to create rich, hearty, warming dishes. The kind that cook for hours and make the house smell wonderful. Thick soups and meaty stews have always been my favorite and every time I bake a chicken, I make homemade chicken soup from the leftovers: simple and infinitely better than the canned stuff. And it keeps forever in the freezer. So when fall rolls around, I use that chicken soup for the base of all sorts of yummy dishes.
This chicken and gravy recipe is one of my favorites. If you know anything about making gravy, it generally contains three basic elements: fat, warm liquid, and a thickener. You warm the fat, whisk in the thickener – almost always flour – and whisk that mixture into the liquid, usually a broth of some sort, which brings more flavor to the party.
With this recipe, I use chicken soup as my liquid (plenty of flavor there already) and skip the fat. The soup has some already and really, the fat is mostly for flavor. So, the extra herbs and flavorings fill that niche. Then, since I want to keep my meals as Paleo as possible, instead of wheat flour, I use arrowroot flour.
Arrowroot looks a lot like a carrot with all the color sucked out (anyone else read Bunnicula as a kid? The vampire bunny who sucked all the color out of carrots?). It comes mainly from South America, where it has been a staple starch for thousands of years, but it’s also found in Chinese cuisine (and, accordingly, Asian grocery stores) and may be called “Chinese potato.”
While you can extract your own powder from a whole arrowroot, it’s easier to just buy the powder. Frankly, the powder is probably also easier to find than the whole vegetable anyway. However, when you buy the powder, do check to make sure that it’s 100% arrowroot. Some manufacturers add other starches, and that’s not what you want.
Why is this starch better than wheat as a thickener? Well, arrowroot has been around a lot longer than wheat – it grows naturally – and is way easier to digest than a lot of other processed starches. Like with many Paleo choices, it comes down to making the better choice. And that’s arrowroot.
The great part is that arrowroot is almost totally without flavor so it won’t change the flavor of what you are making. And it will still help your dish to set up and give your gravy the creamy, thick texture you want in a hearty chicken and gravy dish.
After cooking in liquid for 8 hours, you chicken will be so tender it will practically fall apart. The herbs and spices will blend together into the rich broth and you’ll have a warm, hearty, fall dish to die for!
- 1 ¼ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp celery seeds
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp arrowroot flour
- 1 ½ cup homemade chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- In a food processor place the arrowroot flour, garlic powder, onion powder, celery seeds, thyme, pepper and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Pulse a few times until powdered.
- In a slow cooker or a Dutch oven place the stock and add the arrowroot mixture. Whisk until combine. Season the chicken breast with pinch of salt and chili flakes and put them in a Dutch oven or slow cooker (no need to brown or pre-cook them). Cover with a lid and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Serve warm with your favorite side dishes.
Is there a reason the spices have to be put in a food processor? Can we just hand mix?
Really wish there was s print button on these recipes.
Do you add the water and stock to the pot and then the arrowroot mixture? There’s no directions for the 1 cup of water…
I am thinking you make a slurry with the water before pouring it into the pot with the chicken broth. After doing some research, the arrowroot should be added this way, similar to the way my grandmother would add some mixed flour and water to the stock to make the gravy. It is easier to whisk the spice mixture in a cup of water and add it to the remaining items than to whisk together after adding dry spices to the pot. It provides a more uniform mixture of spices throughout the liquid.
Thanks that helps a lot!! I bet that’s what it is!!
If you make this in your oven, what temperature do you consider “low”?
This was delicious! I followed your recipe, but used 2 1/2 cups of homemade bone broth instead of stock and water. I also just put the broth, spices and arrowroot straight into the crock and whisked, then added the chicken breasts. It was so good and so incredibly simple! I served it on top of cauliflower mashed “potatoes”. Next time I plan on adding chopped carrot and celery. Thanks for a great recipe, this will be on rotation at my house now!
What about the cup of water? Is that mixed with the chicken stock?
This was outstanding. Thank you. The house smelled WONDERFUL, just like Thanksgiving which makes me think this might just be on my holiday menu. I used frozen chicken which is loaded with water (which I had forgotten) and added the required cup of water. Made the gravy to thin so this next time around I’m eliminating the water.
Could I do this using a whole chicken?
I don’t have arrowroot flour. Can I use either coconut flour, almond flour, tapioca flour, or some combination of these? This sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it! Thanks, in advance, for the suggestion on possible flour substitutions.
I’ve used arrowroot powder many times but my chicken is halfway through the cooking time and the arrowroot is all gummed up and in big clumps. Are you supposed to thinken the stock first before adding the chicken for cooking?
I did this in the oven at about 160 for about 4 hours. I used skin on maryland pieces and I added an onion and some sliced mushrooms. It was absolutely delicious. The skin on the chicken browned slightly which made it look really good, it was moist and very tasty. Had it with cauliflower mash and mixed vegetables. I didn’t put anything in the food processor, I put it all in a casserole dish, gave it a stir, put in the chicken, put the lid on and cooked it – couldn’t be easier.