Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chicken Curry in no Hurry

Mental note: my next career move should be poetry... Perhaps recipe poetry is a niche not yet accomplished...
 Alright. Today I came across a recipe and it looks delicious. For a Sunday. Maybe someday I'll try it. For today however, a little midweek pizzaz seemed necessary. So, I took the recipe and gave it a dash of India with a little twist of the Caribbean. It was simple, I even had time to throw in a load of laundry while it was braising in the oven, you can't beat that!

Red Chicken Curry

8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin-on and trimmed (about 3 pounds)
Red curry powder (McCormick)
Kosher salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 cup chicken broth
1 sweet red pepper, julienned
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 package (10 ounces) couscous
1 can (13.66 ounces) coconut milk
Chicken broth
1 lime, halved
Minced fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 425°. Rub chicken thighs very well with curry powder; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the thighs to the skillet, skin side down. Reduce heat to medium; cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn and brown other side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken and transfer to the plate.

Add garlic to the skillet; cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, red pepper, and sweet potato. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and return chicken to skillet, skin side up. Transfer to the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until potato is tender and chicken reaches 180°.

Meanwhile, prepare couscous according to package directions using coconut milk and the amount of broth that fits into the coconut milk can and a sprinkle of kosher salt.

Squeeze the juice from the lime over the chicken. Serve with couscous and sprinkle with cilantro. 4 servings.

For a side, I steamed spinach in the microwave at the last minute. Now we can await leftovers for our lunch tomorrow!

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On a whim:
Some helpful hints. What polishes this dish off perfectly is a perfect sear on the chicken. A proper sear will give you a nicely browned appearance, crisp skin and the chicken will be ever-so moist on the inside. Following are the steps.
1) Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towel before seasoning
2) Pre-heat the skillet before adding the oil (but not for too long or the oil will immediately smoke)
3) Pre-heat the oil (but not for too long or you will immediately burn what enters the oil)
4) You should hear a romantic sizzle when the meat hits the pan
5) Don't crowd the pan or you will steam your items instead of sear them
6) Don't stir to often or to early, when it's time to turn, the piece of meat should release easily from the pan, if it doesn't, it needs more time
7) Browning should take just a good couple minutes on each side, the purpose is to form a crust to hold the juices in, not cook the piece of meat completely through

Just ask Troy, I have a lot of rules, but I find these ones very important. Now that I've put them down on paper, next time he tells me "you sure have a lot of rules", I can say "no, honey-bunch, there are only seven". He'll appreciate that.

I highly recommend trying this (the recipe that is, not being smart to your loved one). You can also prepare rice instead of couscous if you have some on hand. Rice is also delightful prepared with coconut milk, you can use any ratio of coconut milk and broth or water that meets your preference to match the liquid amount called for in the package directions.

Have a wonderful evening!

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