This weekend’s #SundaySupper challenge is making a dish limited to 5 ingredients. Being a fan of food author Michael Pollan I am very familiar with the 5 ingredient mantra. See Pollan did a book called In Defense of Food that looked to provide some guidance for today’s conscience eater. With so many foods, especially processed foods, having more ingredients than the Space Shuttle has parts, Pollan added a Rule that said to not eat anything with more than 5 ingredients as a way to avoid all the chemicals, added sugars, etc that affect our food choices more often than not.
Funny thing is Pollan backed off the 5 ingredient rule after he found Big Food pushing processed foods they made with 5 ingredients or less as healthy choices, even if they were not. The best example of retarding this rule is Haagen Daz Five ice cream which repackaged their product as “Five” even though they didn’t change the anything and used it as a way to position their product against other ice cream as a smarter food choice.
Another great example is a TV commercial for Tostidos tortilla chips touting it as better chip decision over Pringels even though both chips are high-fat, high-calorie choices. The ad confuses the issue and Pollan himself backed off the 5 Ingredient rule since the marketers found a way to pervert it.
So Pollan created a replacement rule, Don’t Eat What You See on TV:
The good news is no matter how many ingredients you use at home you can choose items that are healthy and considerate for your family. Simply use real foods, not processed, and you’ll be fine no matter if there are 5 or 20 ingredients in your recipe.
If you want simple though here is a whole meal that requires only 5 ingredients
Blackened Cajun Chicken with Wild Rice & Asparagus
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 Tablespoons Cajun spice blend
3 Tablespoons butter
2 cups wild rice
1 bunch asparagus
Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
Coat the chicken breasts in a bowl with the Cajun spice blend. Heat a saute pan over medium high heat using 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chicken breasts letting them “blacken” in the pan for about 5 minutes on each side. Place the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes.
While the chicken is in the oven…
Boil 2 1/2 cups of water and add 1 cup of wild rice once the water is boiling. After adding the rice, reduce the heat to a simmer and heat uncovered for 15 minutes. It’s done when the water is all evaporated.
Heat some water in a small pan and add the asparagus once boiling and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain and toss the cooked asparagus with 1 tablespoon of butter.
Remove the chicken from the oven and plate with the rice and asparagus.