Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A warm, winter curry …

Even though the snow and the cold can get tiring, the winter season offers the opportunity for warm and filling dishes. This post features a curry dish we prepared a few weeks ago. Back in October, I shared the curry that we like to fix for our Halloween dinner. The basis for creating this curry is that we found ourselves with extra half and half on hand. I decided that a curry sounded good so we went out in search of curry recipes that included half and half. We found a starting template and embellished from there. We rather liked the end result, and I hope that you will, too.

One of the key adaptations for our recipe is the addition of potatoes. We really like the way that the starch in the potatoes soaks up the curry flavor. 

This recipe also features ginger. Earlier this season, I found this lightly dried ginger for sale in the grocery store. I have found that it is a great substitute for either fresh or dried, ground ginger in recipes. Even though fresh ginger root isn't that expensive, I find that I never use all that I purchase and throw most of it away. This preparation of ginger can be stored in the refrigerator. I like that it still adds a fresh taste in the recipes. During the holiday season, we used it in pumpkin scones and gingerbread biscotti. I found it in the produce section near the fresh herbs. When preparing this recipe, we used 2 teaspoons. You can use more or less - it's a bit of a matter of personal taste.

Here are the ingredients and instructions for our Chicken Curry with Tomatoes and Potatoes:

2 tablespoons cooking oil (add more if needed during the sautéing process)
1 large coarsely chopped onion
2 heaping spoonfuls of finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons of lightly dried ground ginger root
1 tablespoon Hot Madras curry powder
30 ounce can of diced tomatoes with their juices (you may also use a quart of home canned tomatoes)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups half and half
1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon salt (feel free to use kosher salt or sea salt if you wish)
2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes (we used Yukon gold potatoes; russet potatoes would also work well)

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Note: you may want to consider using a deep pan as you will be using an immersion blender to mix some of the curry ingredients together. We have a heavy aluminum dutch oven that we like to use for dishes like this one.
2. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry until the onion is light with a caramel brown color around the edges.
3. Sprinkle the curry powder over the onion mixture and stir together. Within about 10 seconds, your kitchen will smell amazing. 
4. Pour in the tomatoes and stir into the mixture. Stir in the sugar and baking soda as well. (The sugar and baking soda help reduce the acidity of the tomatoes.) Leave the cooking pan uncovered and stir occasionally to soften the tomato pieces and to allow some of the extra liquid to evaporate. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until you see some of the oils from the onion and spice mixture dot the edge of the sauce.
5. Pour in the half and half and stir the bottom of the pan a few times to remove any bits of onion or spices that may have stuck to the bottom. This will help release these flavors back into the curry.
6. Now it's time for the immersion blender to puree the mixture. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can always transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender to puree. We bought an immersion blender a few years ago when we started making butternut squash soup, and it's been a great investment.
7. Stir in the cubed chicken and potatoes and allow to simmer until the potatoes are soft and the chicken is cooked through.

We like serving our curry over steamed rice. Feel free to serve with lentils, naan bread, or however you wish.