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Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs With Creamy Leeks & White Mashed Sweet Potatoes

How I miss my cream sauces! (I mean, I think I do, until I have one and I realize how heavy they are and how stuffed I feel afterwards!) Would you believe me if I told you that you could fool everyone at the dinner table with this decadent creamy meal? I did it! The kids never knew...and it was just under 600 calories for everything on my plate! The coconut milk in the mashed WHITE sweet potatoes makes them smooth and silky, but they’re savory, not sweet, cooked with garlic & seasoned with salt and pepper. The creamy leeks are sautéed in stock and coconut milk and seasoned with cayenne pepper & lemon juice (reminiscent of my clean Hollandaise sauce).  And the chicken thighs are rubbed with a paprika/onion spice combo and seared until crispy. I served sautéed kale & collard greens on the side but, to me, the favor “centerpiece” is the creamy leeks. As always, I keep it easy. I used just two pans for this meal and the whole thing took about 45 minutes, beginning to end. (Don’t count the kids doing the dishes!) This was a good weeknight meal but would also work for a holiday or a special dinner. Enjoy and send feedback!! (Note: I used reduced fat canned coconut milk for this whole recipe. I just needed one can. You can use full fat or coconut cream, if you prefer. Also, I included brief, easy directions for how to make a creamy pan sauce with the crispy stuff leftover in the pan after you cook the chicken. That’s called “fond.” It’s not required but it’s so yummy and I always hate to waste it!) Ingredients For the chicken: • 1.5 pounds chicken thighs (boneless) • 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil • 1 tbsp smoked paprika • 2 tsp onion powder • 2 tsp garlic powder • 1 tsp dried parsley • 1 tsp salt • 1/2 tsp ground pepper For the potatoes: • 1.5 pounds white sweet potatoes • 4 garlic cloves, peeled • 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil • salt & pepper to taste • 1/2 cup coconut milk (canned) For the leeks: • 4 large leeks •!2 tablespoons butter or oil • 1 cup veggie or chicken stock • 1/2 cup coconut cream/milk (canned) • 1-2 tbsp tapioca flour • 1 teaspoon salt • 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper • 1/4 tsp cayenne • 2 tbsp lemon juice Directions 1. Bring a large pot of salted, cold water to a boil. 2. While waiting for the water to boil, large dice the white sweet potatoes. Smash the garlic cloves with the blade of your knife (carefully!) Just use the heel of your hand flat against the blade and press firmly on the garlic cloves. The skin will pop off easily. 3. Add the garlic and the potatoes to the boiling water. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes until you can poke a fork easily into the potatoes. Drain and return the potatoes and garlic to the pot. 4. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the leeks. Slice 4 large leeks into 1/4 inch rounds (white part only). 5. In a large pan, sauté the leeks in 2 tablespoons clean oil until wilted. 6. Add the stock and boil the liquid down by half. Then add the coconut milk, salt, and pepper and reduce until it starts to thicken. 7. Add 1-2 tbsp tapioca flour to further thicken the leek sauce. Add the cayenne pepper & lemon juice. Stir to combine well. Allow to simmer briefly for up to 5 minutes. Then transfer the leeks to a bowl and cover to keep warm. 8. While the leeks are cooking, season the chicken thighs with salt & pepper. In a small bowl, combine all of the spices & herbs for the chicken rub. Apply to both sides of the thighs. 9. Using the same pan you used to cook the leeks (and without cleaning it), heat 1 tbsp clean oil. Add chicken thighs to the pan, cooking at medium heat for approximately 7 minutes each side (or until cooked through). They should take on a crisp sear. Remove from the pan when done. 10. While the chicken is cooking, mash the white sweet potatoes and garlic in the pot with a fork until the desired texture is achieved. Over low heat, add in clean oil, salt, pepper and coconut milk. Cook briefly over low heat until well combined, smooth & creamy. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. (At this point you CAN make a creamy pan sauce with the “fond” that’s left in the pan by adding 3 tbsp stock, the leftover chicken spice rub, any leftover coconut milk (about 3 tbsp will work), and 1 tbsp of tapioca flour. Bring to a simmer while whisking until it starts to thicken.) 10. Plate!!! Top the mashed white sweet potatoes with some creamy leeks and then chicken. Drizzle pan sauce onto the dish (if you made it).   Enjoy!!

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