About a week ago I cooked chicken drumsticks. I was looking for a new chicken recipe, and this one seemed to be pretty good. At least it was different.
It was good, but it wasn’t impressive. One thing that I like about cooking Paleo is all of the options available as far as spices go. I love sauces because they add big, bold flavor to food. While sauces aren’t forbidden on a Paleo diet, it is hard to find sauces that add wonderful flavor without added sugar or crap ingredients. But spices are totally okay on a Paleo diet, and they are so versatile – you can mix up spices in different ways and create entirely new dishes with your creations.
This is what I did with my chicken tonight. I looked at a few different recipes, got an idea of what I wanted to do, and began to mix it up. I can honestly say that this was a huge experiment since my knowledge of what spices work together is pretty small, but it worked so well that my fiance named the resulting dish “Crusty Chicken.” So, here is the recipe:
4 to 6 chicken quarters
3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp paprika
4 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375. Melt the coconut oil, then mix the all of the spices into the oil. rub the spice mixture onto the chicken quarters and place in a shallow cooking dish. Cook for one hour.
You may want to watch the chicken as ours came out a little dry. I’m considering trying the recipe again using a baking bag for the chicken. However, I do like the crust of the spices on the skin of the chicken – it gets kind of crunchy which adds a nice texture. I know that I won’t get that with a baking bag.
This past week was my first week implementing a Paleo lifestyle. Because of the way I started (completely on the fly, without much information) I actually did my grocery shopping without knowing much about what I was doing. I knew enough that I didn’t completely blow my money on tons of processed food that I wouldn’t be able to eat, but I didn’t realize how important spices would be.
I have to say thanks to all of the bloggers out there who tell us all of their experiences and try to keep us on track. I read a comment yesterday on a blog (I always forget which one – I need to start writing that down) that said that the spices that we put in our food determine the type of dish we are eating. This is especially true when eating Paleo. There are no tortillas, cheese, or sour cream on the table to help you figure out that you are eating Mexican food. No noodles, pasta, and cheesy dishes to clue you in to Italian. When eating Paleo, the distinction is made by the spices that you use.
After I read that, I started thinking about it. There is so much that the Agricultural Revolution changed. When we read about the history of the world we generally hear that the Europeans traded in spices, and when they explored new worlds, they brought new spices and traded spices with those of the new worlds. Spices were coveted back in those days and used for trade. I remember thinking as I read that when I was a kid that perhaps spices were used as a sort of currency, but I could never figure out why they would use spices in that way. Now I know.
If I didn’t have several different spices in my cabinet I would be basically eating the same dish over and over again. It wouldn’t really matter what I paired together; it would all basically taste the same because there would be nothing to give the meals any distinction. Because of this, spices have become more valuable to me as a tool to add different flavors to my food. As I continue to experiment with different foods on my Paleo journey, I will also be experimenting with different spices to flavor those foods.
I have long contemplated starting an herb garden so that I can flavor my food naturally, but before I started this journey there very little point and it wasn’t a priority. Now, as I find myself experimenting with new recipes, natural foods, and spices, I am finding the addition of an herb garden almost a necessity. It will definitely save money on all of those spices!