A Low FODMAP Holiday – Pépère’s Tourtiere

Tourtiere is a savory pork pie traditionally served for Christmas Eve.  My French Canadian grandfather passed this recipe down; he used to serve it New Year’s Eve.  There are about as many recipes for tourtiere as there are people who eat it.  Some bind the filling with cracker crumbs or bread crumbs. I like to use  mashed potatoes.  Pépère’s original recipe says to simmer the pork for two hours! I don’t find that necessary, 15 minutes is enough to render the fat and leave a fairly grease-less and tender pork.  You will need wheat-free pie dough.  There are plenty of gluten free pie dough recipes out there; find one you like.  I served this with Spiced Pickled Cranberries; it was excellent!

dough for double crust gluten-free pie
2 lbs. ground pork
2 cups sliced mushrooms (optional – mushrooms are not low FODMAP)
1 cup diced celery
1 cup minced scallion greens
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup minced parsley
1 egg
oil for sauteeing

Preheat oven to 350. Put the ground pork in a large kettle and cover with 2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer for 15 minutes.  Drain. Saute the mushrooms (if using) and celery in some olive oil until tender and the mushrooms have given off their liquid.  Combine the pork, mushrooms, celery, scallions, potatoes, parsley and spices. Mix thoroughly.  Line a pie dish with dough, fill it with the pork mixture, and top with remaining dough.  Make an egg wash be beating the egg with a tablespoon of water. Brush the pie with the wash.  Place it in the preheated oven and bake for 40 – 45 minute, until hot.  Remove from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.  This is good hot or room temperature!


A Low FODMAP Holiday – Twice Baked Potatoes

Every year, I make exactly the same Christmas dinner.  I like to keep it super easy so that I can have a relaxed day.  I make these potatoes in advance and then just reheat them for dinner.  I serve them with a standing rib roast, gravy, and a simple vegetable like glazed carrots or sauteed spinach.  I use crab from the seafood counter at my supermarket; it is cooked and packed into plastic tubs and chilled.  I always buy the claw meat which is the least expensive. You could go crazy and break the bank by using the lump crab meat but I don’t find much difference in flavor.  Always run the crab through your fingers to pick out any tiny bits of shell that are present.  I suppose you could substitute canned crab from the tuna fish aisle if you need to.

4 large russet baking potatoes, scrubbed and  pricked with a fork

4 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee
1/2 – 3/4 cup lactose free milk
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1/4 cup minced scallion greens
6 – 8 oz cooked crab meat
salt, pepper, paprika

Preheat oven to 400F.  Place whole potatoes on the oven rack and bake for 1 hour, turning over once.  Remove potatoes from the oven and let cool enough so that you can handle them.  When cool, cut each potato in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the potato into a bowl, leaving a good 1/4 inch potato shell in the skin.  Mash the scooped out potato together with the butter and enough of the milk to get a good mashed potato consistency.  You don’t want runny potatoes.  Stir in the cheese, scallion and crab meat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Scoop the potato mixture back into the potato shells.  Sprinkle decoratively with paprika.  At this point, I cover the potatoes with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Unwrap potatoes and place them on a baking sheet.  Pop in the oven and bake until thoroughly hot, approximately 30 – 40 minutes if the potatoes started out cold.

Chicken and Rice with 3 Sauces

The food blog Serious Eats is one I visit daily and I often come away with a  new inspiration.  This chicken recipe was inspired by the recipe for Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce.  Of course, I made some changes, both to reduce the FODMAP load and to make it quicker to prepare.  The 3 sauces I refer to are Magic Sauce, White Sauce, and any hot sauce you want to use as a garnish.  The original recipe uses harissa, my choice is sriracha.  If the little bit of lactose that is present in yogurt is a problem for you, try thinning out the mayo with some olive oil instead.

1/2 cup Magic Sauce
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
olive oil for saute

1 cup brown jasmine (or other) brown rice
1 3/4 cup water or chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon clarified butter or ghee.

White Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced scallion greens
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
chopped fresh herbs
chopped cucumber
scallion greens
sriracha or other hot sauce

Combine the Magic Sauce and chicken; marinate for 1-4 hours. Combine all of the rice ingredients and cook the rice according to package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside. While the rice is cooking, combine white sauce ingredients, season generously with salt and pepper, and set aside.  Combine the lettuce, herbs, cucumber and scallion greens and set aside. To cook the chicken, heat the olive oil in a heavy metal pan until it is hot.  Dump in the chicken and marinade and cook on high until the chicken is thoroughly done and browned a bit.  To serve, put some salad on one side of the plate and some rice on the other. Top with hot chicken and then spoon some sauce over all.  Garnish with hot sauce if desired.

A Low FODMAP Holiday – a round-up of treats

Having to avoid wheat is a major setback at holiday time.  I’ve been on a wheat-free diet for a few years and I can tell you that baking wheat-free cookies is mostly not worth the effort.  Instead, I’ve been collecting recipes for other kinds of treats that are much more FODMAP friendly.  Here are some that I want to try:

Peppermint and White Chocolate Macarons

Popcorn Balls

Candied Citrus Peel

Homemade Marshmallows


A Low FODMAP Holiday – Feta Walnut Spread

Good cocktail party food, this recipe is a slightly modified one from Mollie Katzen.  For a party, I spread the cheese mixture on vegetables and serve them on a platter. But you could just put out the spread and some vegs or crackers for people to spread themselves.  If garlic is not a problem for you, smash up one very small clove and add it to the food processor with the cheese. Feta is pretty salty so you shouldn’t need to add salt.

1 cup untoasted walnuts
1 handful fresh parsley leaves
8 oz crumbled feta
up to 1/2 cup lactose-free  milk
1 teaspoon mild paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
fresh ground black pepper
assorted vegetables such as endive leaves, cut up red bell pepper, celery sticks, hollowed out cucumber halves

Combine the walnuts and parsley in the food processor and process until thoroughly ground up.  Add the feta, paprika and cayenne and pulse until combined.  With the processor running, add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a smooth, spreadable paste is formed.  Add freshly ground  black pepper to taste. I like a lot, maybe 1/2 tablespoon.  Spread the mixture on individual serving sized pieces of vegetable and arrange prettily on a platter.

A Low FODMAP Holiday – Spiced Pickled Cranberries

I had a half bag of fresh cranberries leftover from making my cranberry upside down cake.  I bought another bag so that I could make this recipe. A delicious condiment alongside smoked or roasted hams and turkeys, spiced cranberries are very easy to make.  Small jars make excellent hostess gifts too.  I ended up with 4 half pint jars.  Have clean jars and lids ready for canning in a boiling water bath before starting the recipe. This recipe assumes you know how to use a boiling water canner.

1 and 1/2 bags fresh cranberries, picked over and washed
2 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 whole star anise
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Put the anise, peppercorns, and allspice into a mesh tea strainer or cheesecloth bag and close it up. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add cinnamon sticks and the whole spices in their mesh container.  Add the cranberries and bring the mixture to a low boil. Boil for about 8 – 10 minutes until the cranberries are soft and the mixture has started to foam up.  Remove the cinnamon sticks (reserve them) and the whole spices (toss out).  Stir the cloves into the cranberries.  Put a half of a reserved cinnamon stick into the bottom of each half pint jar.  Using a slotted spoon, spoon cranberries into jars, leaving 3/4 inch headspace. Top with syrup mixture to within 1/2 inch of rim.  Close up jars with metal lids and bands and boil them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool, undisturbed, until completely cool and the lids have sealed.  Store any remaining unsealed jars in the fridge.

Low FODMAP Comfort Food – Cheese Grits

I have been trying to fend off a head cold for the past week, only somewhat successfully.  I haven’t had much energy to cook and I have a big craving for carb-loaded comfort food.  Cheese grits is the perfect dish.  (Yes, I said “grits is”, not “grits are”. )  Grits can be gussied up in lots of ways.  For comfort food, I like it very simple.  Use clarified butter or ghee and a hard cheese to eliminate lactose problems.

I always use quick-cooking grits, never instant.  And I don’t have the attention span for the long-cooking variety.

1 cup quick grits
4 cups water
half stick of butter
1 egg
2 cups shredded low fat cheddar (I like Cabot)

Preheat the oven to 350, grease a 1 1/5 quart casserole dish.  Cook the grits in the water according to package directions.  When done, remove from the heat and stir in the butter until melted.  Vigorously beat the egg while you add in a couple of tablespoons of hot grits.  Then add the egg mixture to the pan of grits, stirring the whole time.  You don’t want the eggs to set up just yet.  Stir in the cheese, adjust seasoning if necessary.

Pop into the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.