Sunday, May 1, 2011

mom_of_4's Favorite Chicken Curry

My favorite chicken curry recipe is the "Basic Meat Curry" recipe from the More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre. First, I think it's ironic that my favorite curry recipe is from a Mennonite cookbook, but I guess we have been busy being practical and economical all over the world. Second, it's just as interesting that I did not discover this recipe until a coworker brought it for a department potluck. I asked him for the recipe and he brought me a photocopy from the same cookbook I already had. What is so special about this copy, is that on it his wife has recorded a family moment the day she tried the recipe - their son's first music class - and added her own "tweaks" that saved me a lot of trial-and-error.

Basic Meat Curry (with my comments in italics)

Saute in heavy deep skillet or kettle (I use a deep skillet with a lid):
2T fat, oil, or shortening (umm...butter, of course!)
2 onions, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic (2 cloves, definitely 2)

Blend in small bowl:
2 T lemon juice or vinegar (lemon juice)
2-4 t. curry powder (2 is mild enough for the kids, I like 3)
Stir curry mixture into sauteed onions and fry lightly 1-2 minutes. This produces a relatively mild curry; if desired, season with additional spices such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, ginger, cumin, or cayenne.

Add one of the following:
1 3lb chicken fryer, cut into small pieces (6-8 chicken thighs, I like bone-in to add richness)
2 lbs beef, cut in 1" chunks
2 lbs lamb, cut in 1" chunks
2 lbs meatballs, browned
Stir-fry briefly to coat meat with spices.

1 c tomato juice or sauce (I buy the small cans of tomato sauce to have on hand just for this recipe)
1 t. salt
1-2 c. broth or water (2 c chicken broth is best, but I've used water in a pinch)

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 2-3 hours for beef and lamb, 1 1/2 hours for chicken, 20 minutes for meatballs. Add more liquid during cooking as needed for thin stew consistency. Thicken slightly with flour just before serving, if desired. (I just keep an eye on it and take the lid off to reduce the sauce if it is too thin)