Chicken, no nightshades

If this is your first visit here, please acknowledge that most of my "recipes" are not exact, but rather rambling documents of my more or less improvised cooking.

I've previously heard that some people avoid nightshade (Solanaceae) plants. I cannot now remember the reasons they stated for their avoidance, more than it concerned their health.

The name "nightshade" for the plant family is a bit confusing, since there are plants called "nightshades". The Swedish name for the family is "potatisväxter", i.e. "potato plants", which is also a bit confusing, since potatoes belong to the genus Solanum, which includes potato, tomato and eggplant. Plants called "nightshades" also belong to that genus, except the Deadly Nightshade (Belladonna) that belongs to the genus Atropa. Yet another genus within Solanaceae is Capsicum, which includes chili and paprika. Good thing Linnaeus (a.k.a. Carl von Linné) brought some order to nature! 😉

I often use the above, especially tomato, but also potatoes, chili, paprika (if I can find ecological ones) and rarely eggplants. As a side note, I never understood why they are called "eggplants" until I saw a plant with small, white fruits that actually looked like a bush with eggs. IIrc, that was in Fiji. I have only seen the purple, big, type here in shops.

Yesterday @johnnynull posted a link to a recipe with nightshade-free curry. I thought that was an interesting idea. When I read that nightshade plants can increase inflammation, I decided to have an avoidance-go (!) for it at last night's dinner cooking. I live with inflammation, and joint pains. While I try - with mixed success - to avoid food that are pro-inflammation, e.g. sugar, it can't hurt to avoid the nightshades either. It is also just a fun cooking challenge. It seems it is solanine that is the troublemaker. A quick read of a bunch of articles on the web give rather different opinions on the suitability of nightshades for human food. At least, it is riskfree to exclude them for a time or forever. This is no advice for either abstinence nor consumption. Food is also rather, if absolutely not totally, individual in its effects.

I started with making a spice mixture of grated garlic and ginger, ground cumin, turmeric, salvia, a little ground dried coriander seeds and a little estragon. Added a small amount of cinnamon powder (better too little than too much). I also put in some not-so-sweet mustard. The proportions are not exact, but then that is how I usually cook. Sometimes it turns out meh, sometimes it is good. This time it turned out quite fine, and my cooking was commended by the victims of my culinary experiment. A sort of reduced Kajsa Warg principle.

The spices I mixed with 2 dl of crème fraîche. Swedish made, I have never tasted the French original. I put the mix in the fridge.

I had one kg (3 pieces) of previously frozen chicken legs (thigh and drumstick). I carefully cleaned them and put them in an oiled tray. Beside them I put a few carrots cut in about 7 cm long sticks, two parsnips cut i halves lengthwise and half of a big leek cut in smaller pieces. I applied the spice mix on top of the chicken and salted over everything. I sprinkled some chopped almond over the tray contents. Almond flakes might have been even better. I poured some rapeseed oil over it all as a final touch. Into the oven, 200 degrees. It was in the oven about an hour, a bit longer than planned, but it turned out quite crispy but not dry.

I served it with brown rice, well boiled so it becomes a little bit sticky, but not porridge. And for heavens sake, do not salt the rice. That's blasphemy! 😛

We had fresh cucumber and also newly pickled cucumber (thanks, mom!) as complement.

If you think it necessary to put nightshade stuff into the dish, I guess paprika and tomato would fit. And chili, but then chili fits almost everything 😉

There is no picture of this, as I did not think of photoing it until it was too late.

Another page of nightshade-free spices.

Whatever you might think of what is good and bad to eat, it is good to try exclude/replace something that we just routinely put in food (e.g. tomato). If nothing else, it forces us to be a little inventive and discover new things.