Cozy Food for Adults

The weather has turned blustery and fall is firmly upon us. This week it has been cold and rainy and the sky has been filled with turmoil. The grayness outside is a taste of the many months to come, no doubt. With weather like this, I think of cocoon food- warm and cozy and hopefully easy. Yesterday as the winds howled, I found a recipe for an easy chicken curry dish. The thought of a sunny yellow curry with a rich sauce flavored with Asian spices was enticing- and, the idea that it was really a snap to make- to die for. The deal was sealed- we were having chicken curry for dinner.

I made the recipe with a few small tweaks and it was as promised, very easy and incredibly delicious. This dish is, in fact, perfect dinner party fare. You can absolutely make it several hours ahead and reheat it on the stove top right before serving. I suspect that it will even be better as the flavors will have longer to marry.

It is worth noting that last night I had no children to cook for. Both my kids had other plans for dinner and were not dining at home. I would be lying to say that this is a kid friendly dish. It is very sophisticated and slightly spicy and as a result I think that even the most intrepid child might balk. But adults will love it! And, as the late fall and winter winds start to howl, this chicken curry is a perfect cozy dinner to end cold dark days- with friends or tucked in home alone.

Recipe note: Don’t be put off by the ingredients. Nam pla (Thai fish sauce) is found in the Asian food section of any grocery store. Lemongrass is sold as stalks and is found at any Whole Foods/Fairway/Gelson’s or at many Asian markets. For those who live in lower Westchester, you can order lemongrass from Hutchinson Farms a day or two before you need it.

Curried Sautéed Chicken Chunks
Adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman
Serves 6

2 ½ medium onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-1 inch dice
3 t curry powder
3 t red pepper flakes
3 T minced lemongrass
1 stick unsalted butter
3 c canned unsweetened coconut milk
6 T nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
2-3 c salted cashews, chopped in a rough chop
1 ½ c cilantro, roughly chopped

1. Toss the chicken with the curry powder, salt, red pepper flakes and lemongrass. Set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. When it melts, add the chicken. Cook the chicken, stirring occasionally, until it loses its raw color. Add the coconut milk and turn the heat to medium.
3. Cook for another 4-5 minutes until cooked through. Stir in the nam pla and nuts and cook for a minute more. Stir in cilantro and serve over rice.

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