27/11/2013

Chicken & Vegetable Curry

Chicken & Vegetable Curry
Currying in the English tradition goes back to Victorian times, not only as a dish in itself but as a means of spicing up leftovers, and it is this tradition in which this meal came together.

Curiously, Queen Victoria was a great lover of curry and despite being Empress of India ... she actually never visited the country.

Anyway, this curry ...

I'll just tell you about how this started, which meals it's ended up in and how it came to be curry, the ingredients and method will play along as if we're making it from scratch.

I began on Monday when I came home with a great haul of fish and a bag of chicken thighs which were given to me for a song ... £2.40 to be precise, for eight! We're not big meat eaters, but I couldn't pass that up.

So, home, I simply pushed the chicken pieces into the oven covered with water and a couple of bay leaves. Three hours at 150C and the meat was falling off the bones. Meat recovered, cooled and settled into the fridge for another day, I proceeded to prepare all my fish for Monday's Bouillabaisse which used the stock from these chicken thighs and all the trimmings and such from the fish.

That's an aside ...

Tuesday, we enjoyed the chicken pieces bulking out the leftover Bouillabaisse along with more veggies - courgette and aubergine. Sorry, that's zucchini and eggplant.

Tonight, I still have leftovers ... Curry!

My Mrs really wanted Cauliflower Cheese so I focussed the curry on cauliflower and continued the theme of courgette and aubergine, largely a fairly classic Vegetable Curry, but with a good base of chicken.

Phew! From scratch, we'd use the following ...

Ingredients

Chicken - Thighs for slow-cooked, breast for a quick curry

Spices - Turmeric, coriander, cumin, paprika, fenugreek and asafoetida

Sauce - Onion, tomatoes and garlic, and butter/ghee

Veggies - Cauliflower, courgette and aubergine

Seasoning - Black mustard seeds, sea salt and black pepper

Curry Sauce

In a large, heavy-based skillet melt a good amount of ghee or butter and soften an onion, shredded. Low heat, allowing the onion to caramelise.

Add in the spice mix - weights and measures are not so important, but for a large onion, a teaspoon each of turmeric, coriander and cumin, half a teaspoon each of  paprika, fenugreek and asafoetida.

Toss in some chopped garlic and while the onion is caramelising, draw an X into the base of a few tomatoes, immerse in boiling water for a minute, retrieve, peel and chop.

Once the onion is caramelised, take the onion, the tomato and blend together into a paste. Curry Sauce.

Chicken & Veggies

Several choices here ...

With pieces that need longer cooking, like thighs, either pre-cook simply in water then shred the meat from the bones or brown off the pieces in the skillet, pouring the sauce over, add a pint of water and simmer on for a good couple of hours until the meat is falling off the bones. Add in the veggies, perhaps some more water and cook on until the veggies are soft. Maybe 20 minutes? Half an hour?

With chicken breast, simply diced up, brown off, pour the sauce over, add a pint of water along with the chopped veggies and on a low boil, cook through and reduce. Maybe 20 minutes? Half an hour?

Seasoning

Before serving, season with a teaspoon of black mustard seeds, some black pepper and sea salt to taste.

Serve

Serve out and enjoy as-is, perhaps some rice alongside.

Leftovers

Got leftovers? Simply heat up in a pan for lunch with a couple of boiled eggs chopped over. Sorted!

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