Vermouth chicken with celeriac-carrot mash

Serves 2

Ingredients (chicken):
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 1/4 cup cream or cream substitute
  • 1 t dried tarragon
  • salt
  • pepper
  • coconut flour
Ingredients (mash):
  • salt
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 smallish celeriac
  • 2 T butter
  • milk, cream, or cream substitute
Pre-heat the oven to 200° C (400° F). Pound the chicken at the thicker ends in order to make it more uniform and set it aside.

Finely chop the shallot. In a frying pan, with a bit of oil, lightly sauté the shallot until it is soft, then remove it from the heat. Put the shallot into a small baking dish. Add the chicken, the bouillon cube, and enough water to cover the chicken. Put the pan in the oven; baste or turn over the chicken from time to time.

Peel the carrots and chop them roughly. Do the same with the celeriac. Put them into a pan and fill with cold water just up to the top of the vegetables. Bring the pan to a boil and allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes, or until both carrots and celeriac feel extremely soft when you stick a fork through them. Drain the vegetables and return them to the pan. Add the butter to the vegetables.

Heat the frying pan again, adding some additional oil. Remove the chicken from the oven and lightly fry it on both sides before setting it aside. Deglaze the frying pan with the liquid in the baking pan. Add the vermouth, and allow it to reduce.

Puree the vegetables, using as much milk/cream as needed to get a smooth consistency. Salt to taste and set aside.

Add the cream to the frying pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add coconut flour gradually to the pan, no more than 1 T at a time, whisking after each addition. Wait briefly after each addition: coconut flour will gradually absorb liquid and change the consistency of the sauce. Continue until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Add the dried tarragon to the sauce.


Inspiration for this recipe came from Christina Cooks.


I use a cream substitute with 85 calories and 4.5 g carbs.

Carrots have 9.6 g of carbs per 100 g and celeriac has 9.2 g. Vermouth is one of the lower carb alcohols, at 1.4 g.

If you are not on a low-carb diet, you can use cornstarch to thicken the sauce instead of using coconut flour. This will produce a somewhat smoother consistency.


Entering low-carb land

I try to eat well. For the last 10 years, I've been avoiding sugar, and for the last 6 years I've been making sure I actually get at least 3 portions of vegetables a day. But when I started grad school a few years ago, exercising quickly dropped from my agenda, and I became overweight.

I've been trying to fix that for the last four and a half months by exercising 5 days a week, 2+ hours a day...and I haven't lost a single kilo. I'm not expecting the flab to melt away, but I do expect some progress! The gym instructor was surprised. When I saw my doctor, she thought it was so odd that she ordered a thyroid function test (it came back fine). So I was referred to a dietician, who has put me on a low-carb diet for the next two weeks. I should aim for 30-60 grams of carbs a day.

I don't really have experience with low-carb eating. But I do have some tools which I hope will help me make this cuisine a bit more interesting than the sample diet I received, which seems to be aimed at people who don't especially care for cooking. First, because I already eliminated sugar, I know how to get a pretty good taste using stevia and a touch of agave syrup (important, given my sweet tooth!). Second, I have cooked for someone with a wheat sensitivity, so I know a little bit about using almond flour and coconut flour. Third, I already know of some dishes which naturally contain few carbs, which is good, because I don't want to spend all my time trying to make replacements. I'd rather apply the same principle that I do with vegetarian food, and look for dishes which are already complete without the ingredient that's being avoided. I'm already looking forward to making gado gado and ratatouille. Finally, I like to cook, which is an essential quality when embarking on a non-standard diet if you aren't willing to torture your tastebuds.

I've decided to start this blog to give me incentive to keep trying to make tasty food. I expect some failures, but hopefully there will also be some successes I can share.