Weekly Winner:  This Dish is Like “Buttah” — Indian Butter Chicken that is.

I’ve made Butter Chicken before.  I dearly love Butter Chicken. Whenever I go to an Indian restaurant, I am hard-pressed to not order Butter Chicken.  I’ve even written about the dish before in this very blog (Murgh Makhanwala) However, as of this week, I have destroyed that recipe and am replacing it with this one – Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken.  Not only is this one tastier, it’s a whole lot easier.  It’s one of those miraculous slow cooker recipes that you literally dump everything in, set the timer, and walk away.  You don’t even need to make rice as it has potatoes right in the dish!  Truly a one-pot-wonder!  If you are lucky enough to have a husband that makes spectacular naan, then even better!!  If not, I’m sure store-bought naan would do nicely.  I wouldn’t know — I have one of those aforementioned husbands.

This new and improved recipe comes from Food Network Magazine.  It couldn’t be simpler or yummier. No overnight marinating, no cutting up chickens, just chop, drop, stir and eat.  Obviously, I left out any semblance of cilantro (except for my husband’s dish and the photo-op, which I begrudgingly sprinkled some on). I have no idea if it’s as authentic as my previous post but truth is, I don’t care.  I like it and it’s simple enough that I can and will make it on a regular basis.

Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

3 pieces naan bread

1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 pound baby red-skinned potatoes, halved or quartered if large

1 Fresno chile or red jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced

1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems separated, chopped

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 6)

1 tablespoon garam masala

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cinnamon stick

1 15 -ounce can tomato sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream

Kosher salt

Procedure:

Crumble 1/2 piece naan into coarse crumbs; transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the red onion, potatoes, chile and cilantro stems. Arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer over the vegetables and sprinkle with the garam masala, 3/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Dot with the butter and add the cinnamon stick. Pour the tomato sauce over the top. Cover and cook on low, 7 hours.

Uncover and switch to the warm setting or turn off. Gently stir in the heavy cream, breaking the chicken into large chunks; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro leaves and season with salt. Serve with the remaining naan.

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Weekly Winner:  A few of my favorite things

In the spirit of the holidays and The Sound of Music, I present a few of my favorite things — all of which came together last night for dinner.  In the song, they talk about “Schnitzel with Noodles”, so stay with me here.

Schnitzel is usually made from pork, and you know pork is definitely an all-time favorite of mine.  And who doesn’t like egg noodles??  This time of year I also love putting the slow cooker to use.  I’ve found that pork shoulder is one of the best-suited cuts of meat for the slow cooker.  It comes out incredibly luscious with absolutely no work.  So it goes without saying that if I can take a pork shoulder, put it in the slow cooker with minimal prep and come up with an amazingly satisfying Sunday Supper, then I am totally sold.  That’s exactly what this recipe offers.  Even better?  Everything else that goes in the slow cooker is puréed first in a food processor.  You simply can’t get easier than that.

I’ve had the recipe for Slow Cooker Chipotle Pork for quite some time.  It was just one of those recipes that I would pause at as I was flipping through my recipes for inspiration and think “yep, I’ve got to make that sometime”.  Well Sunday was the day.  We were going to be busy with last-minute holiday preparations and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  But it was going to be the last time for a while that it would just be the two of us for dinner, so I wanted to make it special.  Man, was it!  This was a glorious winter dinner.  The egg noodles are just the right “bed” for all those luscious chunks of slow-cooked porky goodness.  And whatever you do, do not omit the orange wedges or the green onions as garnishes.  They brighten the dish right up!  Amazingly enough, the recipe comes from Good Housekeeping, and it goes something like this:

Slow-Cooked Chipotle Pork

Serves 8

In a food processor, purée 1 medium onion, quartered, 1/2 cup each chicken broth and ketchup; 1/4 cup each chipotles in adobo and creamy peanut butter; 5 cloves of garlic; and 2 Tbsp cocoa until smooth.

Sprinkle 1 tsp salt all over 1 boneless pork shoulder (about 3-4 lbs), quartered; place in slow-cooker.  Pour onion mixture over pork.  Cook 5 to 6 hours on High or 8 to 9 hours on Low until pork is tender but not falling apart.

Transfer pork to cutting board.  When pork is cool enough to handle, remove and discard all fat.  Pull pork into bite-size chunks.

Serve over curly egg noodles along with sauce.  Garnish with orange wedges and green onions.

Weekly Winner: A Curry Like No Other — at least that I’ve had!

2015/01/img_1547.jpg I don’t pretend to be an expert on Indian food, just an ardent admirer. I find that I am drawn to any dish with the word “curry” in it … whether or not curry powder is actually used. I know so many people who claim not to like Indian food or curry because they “can’t stand the smell of curry powder”. What I’ve come to learn is that “curry” is basically a dish made with a complex combination of spices (which may or may not include said curry powder) but which almost always includes some sort of chile pepper. See? Cooking and eating can be educational too!

So, regardless of your take on curry powder, if you like seriously spiced food (not spicy-hot) but a gradual, slow-building warmth as you eat, than do I have a dish for you. It’s Smoky Indonesian-Style Chicken Curry and I got this jewel from Fine Cooking Magazine. The magazine suggests serving it with rice; however since it has potatoes in it, I didn’t think that was necessary. It’s actually perfect just the way it is.  The only change I made was to use boneless, skinless thighs since the recipe called for taking the skin off anyway.

Smoky Indonesian-Style Chicken Curry

Serves 4

Ingredients:

5 dried pasilla or New Mexican chiles, stemmed and seeded

1 small shallot, quartered

2 Tbsp thinly sliced lemongrass

2 Tbsp tomato paste

2 Tbsp sweet smoked paprika

1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger

1 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar

1 Tbsp sambal oelek

1-1/2 tsp ground cumin

1-1/2 tsp ground coriander

Kosher salt

6 Tbsp chicken broth

8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed

Freshly ground black pepper

1-1/4 lb waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3-1/2 cups)

½ lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

2/3 cup thawed frozen peas

Procedure:

Put the chiles in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water; set aside to soften for 20 minutes. Drain, then transfer the chiles to a blender. Add the shallot, lemongrass, tomato paste, smoked paprika, ginger, brown sugar, sambal oelek, cumin, coriander, and 2 tsp salt. Blend the mixture until smooth, drizzling the broth through the hole in the lid and stopping occasionally to scrape down the inside of the jar.

Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper and spread evenly with the chile mixture. Layer the potatoes in the bottom of a 5- to 6- quart slow cooker and arrange the chicken in an even layer on top. Cover and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender and the chicken is tender but not falling off the bone, 2 to 3 hours on high and 6 hours on low.

About 30 minutes before serving, turn the slow cooker to low and sprinkle the green beans evenly over the top, cover and cook until crisp-tender. Add the peas and cook until heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir to combine, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

 

 

 

Weekly Winner: Fabulous Five Spice Strikes Again

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I have become quite the fan of Chinese Five Spice Powder. It’s the easiest way to impart warm, cozy spice to anything without having to go through half of your spice cabinet or buy tons of fresh herbs and spices. And speaking of easy, what could be easier than dropping everything in a slow-cooker and walking away for half a day, only to come back to a wonderfully fragrant, cozy meal? OK, you do have to make some rice as you are getting ready to eat but really, it’s a small price to pay for such a great dish.

As with my previous ode to Chinese Five Spice, https://donnasquickqi.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/weekly-winner-not-only-5-spice-but-definitely-5-star-pork/, this one marries my new favorite spice with my all-time favorite meat – pork. Coincidence? I think not. They are a match made in culinary heaven.

The recipe comes from Fine Cooking Magazine, and it is fine indeed…. I’m just not sure you can actually call this “cooking”. It’s too easy.

Slow-Cooker Five-Spice Pork with Snap Peas

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. Asian chili sauce, such as Sriracha
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. sugar snap peas (fresh or frozen), trimmed

Procedure:

In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the Shaoxing, soy sauce, brown sugar, chili sauce, garlic, ginger, five-spice powder, and 1/2 cup water.

Lightly season the pork with pepper. Add the pork to the slow cooker and stir to coat. Cook, covered, until fork-tender, 4 to 5 hours on high or 6 to 7 hours on low.

Add the sugar snap peas and cook until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Serve

Weekly Winner – What a Crock! (Pot Stew, that is)

I’ve been on a bit of a stew craze lately.  Must be the change in the weather.  The leaves start changing and I crave hearty soups, stews and chilis.  But while I’ve already made known my general indifference towards beef stews (with the exception of my Kerala Style Beef Stew https://donnasquickqi.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/weekly-winner-a-spectacular-stew/) I have always loved chicken soups and stews.  And this is one of the coziest ones around.  As an added bonus, it is made in the crock pot (I know, I know, they’re known as “slow cookers” now, excuse me!) so that you can build the anticipation with the wonderful smells that start filling your house hours before dinner.

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Stout Stew comes from Eating Well Magazine and it has been in my arsenal for quite a while.  And I don’t see it going anywhere soon.  It truly is a stew to savor.  The only variation I made to the recipe this time was that instead of Guinness, I used my new favorite beer, Breckenridge Vanilla Porter.  Yum!

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Stout Stew

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 pieces bacon, chopped
  • 1 2/3 cups Guinness beer or other stout (14-ounce can)
  • 1 pound whole baby carrots or large carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 8-ounce package cremini or button mushrooms, halved if large
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed

Preparation

  1. Combine 6 tablespoons flour with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Dredge chicken thighs in the mixture to coat completely; transfer to a plate.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until well browned, 2 to 4 minutes per side; transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Reduce heat to medium and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and chicken thighs. Arrange the chicken in an even layer in the slow cooker.
  3. Add bacon to the pan and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup flour over the bacon and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes more. Add stout and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from      the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Add carrots, mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme, spreading in an even layer over the chicken. Pour broth over the top.
  4. Cover and cook until the chicken is falling-apart tender, 4 hours on High or 7 to 8 hours on Low.
  5. Stir in peas, cover and cook until the peas are heated through, 5 to 10 minutes more. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.