Monday, August 15, 2011

The Chicken Curry Affair

Rachel here.

I wrote about "The Family Dinner" a few weeks back and, no joke, have not stopped thumbing through its pages while I stand at the kitchen counter since. I mean, really--I'm kind of going through the equivalent of a junior high crush on this cookbook. I glance at it sideways from across the room, I feel a little jumpy and eager when I open it, I think about it when we're know the feeling, I know you do.

So anyway, this weekend I finally found myself with a bit of free time (a rare commodity in these parts). Wanting to expand our chicken repertoire (you know how I feel about a good, whole bird), I turned the ever-pleasing pages until I found a recipe for Curry. It calls for a whole chicken and, after a few weeks of crushing from afar, "The Family Dinner" and I finally rendezvoused at the stove.

Here is what I'll say about this recipe before I share it with you below. Ok, I'm going to make a list because, well, I feel like it and it seems like an appropriate medium for conveying my post-cooking sentiments.

1. Make this meal.
2. Extra make it if you have kids.
3. If you don't have kids, you can definitely kick up the heat.
4. If you do have kids, they just might blow your mind like M blew mine and eat the entire plate of food before them, grinning the entire time and happily staying in their seats until mealtime is over.
5. The 8 parts of the chicken are: 2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 breasts. Not, as John delighted in informing me after I refused his assistance butchering our dear bird, 2 wings, 2 legs, and 2 breasts that you then turn into 4 so that you can tell yourself you know how to butcher your own bird, thankyouverymuch.

Sloooooow Cooker Curry
Or, you know, not, if you're like me and don't have a slow cooker

serves 6

1 T. vegetable oil
1 red onion, cut into wedges
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. very finely minced fresh ginger
2 T. curry powder, hot or mild
1/2 cinnamon sticks (don't have one? 1 stick=1 tspn. ground cinnamon, so use 1/4 tspn. here)
3 whole cardamom pods or 1/4 tspn. ground cardamom (optional) (using cardamom makes me feel fancy)
1 14-ounce can good-quality crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. small red potatoes, unpeeled, cut bite-size
1 whole organic chicken, 4-5 pounds, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed
1 c. Greek yogurt, whole or 2 percent
1 c. fresh or defrosted frozen peas

If using a slow cooker, heat up a large nonstick pan and drizzle in the oil. If not using a slow cooker, use a big, heavy-bottomed pot. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and saute until soft and golden. Add the garlic and spices, stir for 30 seconds, until fragrant, then stir in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (This can be done the night before: Chill the sauce, add the potatoes and chicken, and store in the fridge until you're ready to cook). If using a slow cooker, put the potatoes on the bottom, then the chicken, and top off with the tomato sauce. If not using a slow cooker, just add the potatoes and chicken to the sauce pot. For cooking with a slow cooker, set cooker to low for 6 to 8 hours. If using a pot, simmer for 40 minutes. In a slow cooker, fold in yogurt and peas 30 minutes before serving. In a pot, simmer for another 10 minutes before serving. Check flavors, ladle over rice and enjoy.

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