Bring on the barley weather

I love barley, so much so that it is a totally fall ingredient that I have definitely eaten during the summer. In the words of Icona Pop, I don’t care, I love it.

Now that it’s officially barley season, though, I was so excited to find a new, fun way to use it. In an Italian casserole, no less.

Italian barley casserole ingredients.

The recipe my sweetie found online randomly from Better Homes & Gardens had all the right ingredients, but the amounts seemed way off, and it included mushrooms, ick. So, I took the ingredient list, sans “fresh button mushrooms,” and ran with my own amounts.

The recipe also called for dividing it into cute, tiny casserole dishes, and even if it weren’t for my Dutch oven theme, I can’t imagine dividing this into single-serve sizes. This is a casserole, dammit. It needs to be big, right?

I want to say I really thought about the proportions, but I really just threw in amounts that made the most sense (who uses a quarter of a package of sausage?!) and hoped for the best. It turned out pretty damn good, because it turns out it’s usually pretty hard to screw up a casserole. Even better, it made a lot more than the four single-serve dishes. A lot being like six servings.

I should note, however, that barley does take a long time to cook, so I recommend preparing in advance or making this dish on a weekend when you have more time.

Alas, it’s all gone now. So much cheese and sausage goodness.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients 

  • 1 c. dry barley, cooked to package instructions (best prepared in advance)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 16 oz. Italian sausage, or other sausage (I love Beeler’s breakfast sausage so much that that’s what I used)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (I used the jar stuff, sorry)
  • 2 c. tomato sauce (I actually used actual pasta sauce, and went for arrabbiata)
  • 2 c. mozzarella, shredded, divided
  • ½ c. Parmesan, shredded
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (12 oz.) jar roasted sweet red peppers, chopped
  • ½ c. pitted green olives, chopped
  • Fresh basil, to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, on the stove top, coat a large Dutch oven and heat over medium. Brown the sausage, stirring occasionally. Just before the sausage is cooked through, add the onions and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes, and continuing to stir. Add the garlic and cook another minute.

Remove from heat. Add in the cooked barley, pasta sauce, half the mozzarella, the Parmesan, the roasted red peppers, olives, tomatoes, and basil to taste.

Cover the mixture and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, take off cover, add the remaining mozzarella, and then continue to bake uncovered for about 10 minutes more until the cheese is melted. Add extra basil to the top before serving, if desired, and enjoy!

Ghoul-ash!

I know it’s a day past Halloween, but I couldn’t resist a terrible pun. That’s right, I made goulash, or ghoul-ash for the spooky set.

Goulash ingredients.

My friend and gaming buddy Jenny made goulash in a crock pot earlier this year for one of our epic Pathfinder games, and I immediately fell in love. And, more importantly, I thought that it would be an amazing dish for my Dutch oven year.

It just took about half a year to get to it. Thankfully, she was able to track down the recipe and then remember what she actually did for the most part, and then, I took that and adapted it yet again and added some ingredients she omitted and some ingredients from another recipe.

Authentic Hungarian it probably is not. But Jenny’s recipe was so good I wanted to eat it again, and none of the other recipes were nearly as inspiring as hers.

Also, spooky it is not. I just happened to make it this time of year. Maybe it’s just dressed up as a ghoul? I tried. Sorry.

There was so much. There was so much paprika. It was great. Sorry it’s gone.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 oz.) box rotini (or medium pasta), cooked according to package directions
  • 1 ½ lb. ground beef, lean
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 to 5 T. paprika (a mix of smoky and spicy if you’ve got it, or whatever you like, to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic (I used the jar stuff)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 oz. shredded cheddar

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, brown the meat in a large Dutch oven on the stove top over medium heat, about 10 minutes. Add the oil and onions, carrots, and bell pepper, and cook another 5 to 7 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Add the diced and crushed tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, paprika, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil, which shouldn’t take long.

Remove from heat, and stir in the cooked pasta and cheddar.

Cover the goulash, and bake in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until bubbling. Let cool slightly, and enjoy!

Crappy week calls for comforting soup

I had plans to make something else this week, but something about the best laid plans of mice and men.

Bear with me as I get personal for just a second before getting into the recipe (I know, it’s widely mocked), but on Sunday night one of my two oldest cats had his first seizure and it was rather traumatic for us (he seems to be doing OK but it probably isn’t good news in the long run). This comes on the heels of learning less than two weeks ago that my other oldest cat has chronic health issues. So not only have I not been sleeping well but we’ve upped our medication routine lately, and of course, my anxiety.

This all means that while I had a vague idea of what I was going to make, I didn’t get around to it yet. Thankfully, my sweetie had plans to make one of his favorite seasonal soups, beer cheese soup. More importantly, he had the ingredients on hand. So, while he did some household chores, I made the soup.

Amy Thielen’s beer cheese soup recipe ingredients.

It’s from Amy Thielen’s The New Midwestern Table, one of my favorite cookbooks, and the beer cheese soup recipe in it is one of our family favorites. It’s not the healthiest but its simple and quality ingredients make it seem kinda OK.

Because I trust Amy Thielen, I mostly follow her recipes with little alteration. The same is true in this case, except as it was approaching 9 p.m., I decided to skip the blending step. I know, it’s sacrilege to have chunky beer cheese soup, but it works for me. Mostly, I don’t love smooth soups. But also, after realizing that my diced veggies — as the recipe called for — weren’t that chunky, I figured I’d save myself the effort.

After all, it’s been the kind of week that calls for easy, comfort food.

See those chunks. Yum.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (8 T.) butter (I used unsalted even though the recipe calls for salted)
  • 2 medium carrots, diced (dicing is less critical if you plan to puree)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced (dicing is less critical if you plan to puree)
  • ¾ c. all-purpose flour
  • 4 c. broth (chicken or vegetable, preferably homemade)
  • 1 (12 oz.) can/bottle of beer (the recipe calls for a pale ale, I used my staple of Hamm’s)
  • 1 ½ c. half and half
  • 12 oz. white cheddar, grated (good-ish stuff preferred)
  • ½ T. Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • ⅛ t. ground nutmeg
  • 2 T. Dijon mustard
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Mustard oil, for serving (optional but a delight)
  • Thyme, for serving (fresh preferable but dry also works)

Directions

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the carrots, peppers, and a pinch of salt, and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring regularly until well incorporated, about 5 minutes more.

Add the stock, beer, and half and half, and cook, stirring often, at a slow simmer over medium low heat. Cook for about 15 minutes.

Add the cheese by the handful, stirring after each addition until the mixture is smooth. Add in the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, nutmeg, mustard, and lemon juice, and stir to combine.

Puree the soup in batches, if desired, being careful not to get hurt by the hot soup.

Just before serving, add salt and pepper, as needed, to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a small swirl of mustard oil and a sprinkle of fresh thyme, and enjoy!

Springing into fall with super soup

I set out this week to make a soup. This is partially weather-related and mostly due to the fact that I had a head cold for about half the week and wanted my cozy hot comfort food.

The recipe that stood out most to me was a light spring soup called a brodo. But this is fall, dammit. Of course, I’m sure it’s possible still to find asparagus in the grocery store, either fresh or frozen, but it just didn’t feel right.

Brodo ingredients, sans broth. Isn’t it ironic, don’t ya think?

Also, because this soup had some cream and gnocchi, I thought it’d work as a fall dish.

So, I did some swapping and some additions, and boy, did I make a good, and pretty easy soup. The biggest difficulty was that I made my own broth. However, it’s not entirely necessary, and stupid me, I had some broth in the freezer that I realized to late. So, good reminder to make broth way ahead of time and freeze it, but yeah, try to remember it’s there when needed. Or, just buy some high-quality broth.

To fully fall this soup, I changed asparagus for Brussels sprouts and added bacon. It wasn’t even that many changes, but it sure felt perfect for autumn.

Soup is gone. So sad.

Here’s what I did, adapting from my Soup Nights cookbook (one of too many/not enough soup cookbooks I own):

Ingredients 

  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, sliced
  • 8 c. vegetable or chicken broth (store bought or pre-made)
  • ⅓ c. heavy cream
  • 4 to 5 oz. blue cheese crumbles, divided
  • 4 t. cornstarch
  • 4 t. tap water
  • 16 oz. pre-made potato gnocchi
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste (I like it spicy so I used closer to 1 t. but very taste dependent and a little goes a long way)
  • 1 to 1 ½ bunches green onions, sliced, to taste
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked to package directions, for serving
  • Chives, to taste, for serving

Directions

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil and then the Brussels sprouts. Cook until softened and starting to brown. Add the vegetable broth and heat to boiling.

Meanwhile, mix together the blue cheese and heavy cream in a small bowl. Once the broth is boiling, add the cheese and cream mixture.

In the same bowl (or separately), mix together the corn starch and water, and then add that mixture to the soup mixture. Stir often for about 3 minutes until the soup begins to thicken.

Add the salt and pepper, cayenne, green onions, and the gnocchi, cooking another 3 to 5 minutes until the pre-made gnocchi is cooked through. Season more, as needed.

Ladle soup into bowls, serve with cooked bacon, any additional blue cheese crumbles as desired, and chives, and enjoy!

Lazy, lovely layered lasagna

I was scrolling through Twitter one fine day keeping up on the shitshow that is our current American political system when I was distracted by something not actually terrible, an Epicurious video.

The short clip I watched without sound was a recipe for slow-cooker lasagna. I thought it sounded amazing, except, you know, I wanted to make it in my Dutch oven.

Lasagna ingredients.

Now, I’ve made lasagna a lot and I have a couple of favorites, so instead of watching the video again, I just sort of guessed/remembered/assumed what I should do to put together my own dish.

Except for the fact that I did a terrible job of evenly distributing my filling, the lasagna was amazing. I mean, most times I make lasagna, there’s too many noodles to fit but this time, oof, I really distributed poorly for the layers. But all was not lost. I just made sure to take from the better filled areas and the less filled areas and made it work.

However, if you, dear reader, try the same, be sure to go light on the filling as you roll up the noodles.

Now, having made lasagna a few different ways during my time, starting with the traditional-ish, I have to say my favorite is still actually the sheet pan recipe because I like my lasagna crispy. But if you really like the saucy bits, this one is for you. And either way, good lasagna is good lasagna, so this was quite good.

BRB, there’s more in the fridge.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 1 box lasagna noodles, cooked to package directions
  • 32 oz. jar of arrabbiata sauce, or red pasta sauce to your liking
  • 1 (15 oz.) tub ricotta
  • 3 c. mozzarella, shredded, divided
  • 1 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded, divided
  • 4 oz. feta, crumbled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 10 oz. marinated artichokes, chopped
  • ½ T. basil, chopped
  • ½ T. dried oregano
  • ½ T. dried rosemary
  • 1 t. red pepper flakes, optional
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, 1 c. mozzarella, ⅓ c. Parmesan, egg, spinach, artichokes, and the herbs and spices, until well mixed. EVENLY spread the mixture onto about 14 lasagna noodles, more if necessary, and roll the noodles lengthwise.

Poor about ¼ of the sauce onto the bottom of a Dutch oven. Add about half the rolled noodles to the Dutch oven; sprinkle with 1 c. mozzarella, ⅓ c. Parmesan, and half the feta, and about half the remaining sauce. Place the remainder of the rolled noodles on top, and then top with the remaining sauce, and cheeses.

Cover the Dutch oven and bake for about 30 minutes; then, remove from heat and remove the lid. Bake another about 20 to 30 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is browned on top. Let cool slightly, and enjoy!

You do udon

I’m slowly getting back into the groove of things since being back from vacation. I imagined it would be quicker but exhaustion got the better of me as did the daily grind.

So I decided to start back up with the kind of weeknight dinner that takes little effort and barely follows a recipe. I went with udon noodles with chicken and broccoli, or the more vague “Asian noodles,” which was the not-the-most-culturally-sensitive Google search I did to get the vague idea of ingredients for a sauce.

Udon noodles ingredients.

That blog post, like my own, makes clear that this recipe can be adapted to anyone’s tastes. Don’t like broccoli? Try carrots or spinach or a combination of veggies. Want to add peppers? Go ahead. Don’t want chicken or are vegetarian? Skip it or add tofu.

The same is essentially true of the sauce. I went heavy on the sesame oil because I love it and I have it. I also added a bunch of ginger (from a jar because I was lazy) that wasn’t in the recipe; I just like a lot of ginger. I skipped out on the cilantro to save my sweetie, but I think it would have been pretty tasty as an addition.

That’s to say, you do udon.

To hurry things along, I cooked the udon separately while I prepared the chicken, vegetables, and sauce, but if you’re in no rush and want this to be a one-pot dish, you can cook the noodles in the Dutch oven and leave to drain while preparing the rest of the dish.

I still want more; it disappeared too fast.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. udon noodles, cooked to package directions
  • 1 lb. chicken, sliced or chopped
  • 3 c. broccoli (or about one grocery store package with 2 to 3 heads), chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts sliced
  • ⅓ to ½ c. soy sauce (less sodium is good)
  • ¼ c. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 ½ T. ginger, minced (I used the jar stuff)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. rice vinegar
  • Sambal oelek (chili paste), or Sriracha, to taste (I used about ½ T.)
  • 3 T. sesame seeds
  • Vegetable oil, for sauteing

Directions

Heat the oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat, and saute the chicken until mostly cooked through before adding the broccoli and green onions, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, and sambal oelek or sriracha, and stir to combine.

Once the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are cooked to desired consistency, turn off stove top and add the sauce. Stir to combine and then add the cooked noodles, and continue stirring. Remove from heat and add the sesame seeds, stirring again. Taste and add more soy sauce or sesame oil as desired, and enjoy!

Cooking class in absentia

As I mull over what dishes I ate on my recent Portugal vacation — and there were so many and such good food — that I can make in my Dutch oven, I thought I’d share a recipe from an exotic vacation that I didn’t get to go on. So we can be in the same boat for this week.

The best part about not getting to go on an international trip with my family is that they’ll bring back and share the recipes from their cooking class.

So, when my mom got back from her eastern European vacation last year, I got a PDF of the Hungarian dinner they had one night. Perfect since I’ve always wanted to make chicken paprikash.

Chicken paprikash ingredients.

I’d say it was almost like being there … but obviously not. Still, it was great to be able to try authentic food without leaving the house (other than to get groceries). Mom even was kind enough to buy extra paprika and send me some, so I had plenty on hand for the paprikash and an extra side dish (the Hungarian salsa!) I decided to make.

The paprikash was a delight. It was a little too saucy for me, but the chicken was slightly spicy and extra creamy, as I expected and hoped, and the really ugly dumplings I made based on the recipe to go with the chicken turned out good if incredibly ugly.

All in all, it was a good substitute for being there and a chance to enjoy some authentic Hungarian food without a lot of effort or the airfare. Now, you can too.

So much paprika (and sour cream). So good.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

For the paprikash

  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 T. oil
  • 4 t. salt (I probably used less!)
  • 1 t. ground pepper (I probably used more!)
  • 5 t. paprika powder (I split the mixture between smoky and spicy, but you do you)
  • ~10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (the recipe calls for 6 bone-in legs but I like boneless)
  • 12 oz. sour cream
  • 1 T. flour
  • Water

For the nokedli (dumplings)

(or use egg noodles or similar if feeling lazy)

  • ~1 c. flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t. Salt
  • Water, as necessary (if mixture is dry)

Directions

Heat the oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat, add the onions, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Take off heat and add salt, pepper, and paprika. Add about ½ c. water to keep the powder from burning. Place mixture back on heat, add the chicken, and pour water on top until just covered. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 1 hour until the chicken is cooked through (can probably check earlier if using boneless — I think I did about 35 minutes). Meanwhile, mix the flour and sour cream together.

Once the chicken is cooked through, stir in the sour cream mixture. Bring to a boil again.

Meanwhile, prepare the dumplings by bringing a separate pot of water to a boil. In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs, flour, and salt, and adding water if necessary until a hard dough forms. Tear dough pieces and place in the boiling water, removing pieces as they float and are cooked through. Serve the chicken (and the sauce) with the nokedli, and enjoy!

Be a doll and make this dal ASAP

Some years ago, my sweetie got this delightful cookbook called “Flavors of India” that includes a ton of delicious, simple, and vegetarian Indian dishes. It was a household staple for years, particularly because it made healthy *and* cheap food that lasted for days.

Then, it got destroyed.

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, it wasn’t lost forever. My sweetie got another copy and we’ve continued to use that one (and keep it safe) for many more years now, and it’s still as much of a treasure.

Dal-dhokali ingredients.

One of my favorites — but one I hadn’t yet made myself — is dal-dhokali, or toor dal (lentils) with chick-pea flour dumplings. It’s also, dare I say, vegan, so it’s mostly healthy (there’s some oil in the dumplings) but still very flavorful.

It’s not necessarily a quick weeknight meal but it is a lot of passive time so put on a movie favorite or catch up on your podcasts while you make this simple dish.

It looks like sludge, it tastes like awesome.

Here’s what I did, following the recipe other than increasing the spice amounts:

Ingredients

For the dal

  • 1 c. toor dal (split pigeon peas), or any dried split pea or lentil if toor dal is hard to find in your area
  • 10 c. water (yes, it sounds like a lot, but it’s works)
  • 1 ½ t. salt
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 1 t. coriander powder
  • 1 t. cumin
  • ½ T. grated ginger
  • 1 T. tamarind concentrate, or if it’s hard to find in your area, the cookbook suggests using a tablespoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of sugar in its pace (which given its tart/sour flavor, it seems appropriate)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 T. oil
  • 1 T. black mustard seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 dried hot peppers, I used chile de arbol
  • Cooked rice, for serving

For the dumplings

  • ¼ c. chick pea flour (besan)
  • ¼ c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 T. oil, plus more for mixing
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 2 pinches cayenne
  • 5 to 7 t. water, more as needed to make dough

Directions

Wash and rinse the dal, rubbing it in your hands to remove the oily coating, while bringing the Dutch oven full of the 10 c. water to a boil with the salt.

Once the water is boiling, add the dal and return to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-high, and cook the dal uncovered for 10 minutes. Then, reduce heat and cook, covered, for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Mix together the two flours with your hands; add the salt, cayenne, and vegetable oil. Crumble the mixture together in your hands. Add 5 t. of water and continue to mix with your hands or a fork until a dough begins to form, adding more water a teaspoon at a time as necessary. Imagine making a pie crust and get it to that consistency. Once ready, set aside.

After the 30 minutes has passed, add the spices, ginger, and tamarind (or substitute) to the dal mixture, and simmer another 10 minutes, uncovered, while you roll out the dumpling dough.

To ready the dough, use oil instead of flour to keep the mixture from sticking. Add a small amount to your hands and knead for a few minutes in your hands until smooth. Add small amounts of oil to the rolling surface and rolling pin, and begin to roll out the dough, again, like a pie crust. Roll until thin like a plate (how the cookbook describes it), about ¼ inch. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut into 1 inch squares.

Add the dough a few at a time, to ensure they do not stick together, and stir to separate.

Add the tomato, and continue to simmer while preparing the final spice addition.

In a small saucepan or frying pan, heat a tablespoon of oil, and add the mustard seeds, whole cloves, and hot pepper (broken into pieces). As the oil heats, the mustard seeds will pop. Once they stop popping, about 1 to 2 minutes later, remove from heat, and dump the contents (with the oil) to the Dutch oven.

Stir the dal mixture together a few more times, and then cover the Dutch oven once more, and cook for another 20 minutes on low heat, stirring about every 5 minutes so that the dumplings do not stick. Once the dumplings are softened, serve with rice, and enjoy!

Christinia’s first cooking class

One thing that has become a staple of vacationing with my mom’s side of the family is taking a cooking class. Though I was not there, I will not soon forget the pictures my mom sent of my Polish maternal grandma learning to make sushi.

We’re nothing if not adventurous.

Pappa al pomodoro ingredients. Decidedly not sushi.

As I’m about to embark on a girls trip with my mom and aunt to a new foreign land, including a cooking class of course, I’m reminded again of the first time our family’s first time taking a class. The poor souls who had to wrangle about 10 of our clan did not have an easy task, especially as the wine flowed freely.

But 12 years later, I still make the recipes that we learned that day, and I still remember the wines that we tasted. Thankfully for the purposes of this blog, the recipe I make most often, pappa al pomodoro, (and was also one of the first dishes I shared with my sweetheart whom I’ll be missing dearly), can be made in a Dutch oven.

I haven’t made many changes over the years. Why mess with this Italian classic?

BRB, there’s more in the fridge right now.

Here’s what I did on my most recent venture:

Ingredients

  • 4 ½ lbs. tomatoes
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 garlic bulb, about 20 cloves, peeled minced
  • 1-2 packages fresh basil, chopped
  • Red chili flakes, to taste (about 2 pinches is what I use)
  • 1 loaf bread, preferably stale
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Peel the tomatoes — my method is to cut a cross in the bottom and put them in boiling water for a minute or less before transferring them to an ice bath. (I didn’t say it was easy, just a way to use tomatoes!) Then, chop roughly and use a food processor or blender to puree the tomatoes.

Separately, in a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and then add the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook for about another 1 minute.

Add the tomato puree to the Dutch oven, and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for about an hour. Add the chopped basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Continue to cook for about another half-hour. When the tomatoes are cooked, chop or tear off pieces of bread and place in the soup until it is thickened to taste. (I used about ⅔ of a small French loaf.)

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with additional olive oil and salt and pepper, if desired, and enjoy!

Programming note: I will be traveling, mostly out of the country, for the next few Fridays, BUT I will still be keeping my blogs updated as I worked in advance to ensure I kept up with posting weekly. However, if any technical difficulties or best laid plans do not work out and I go without posting, please be understanding and know that I’ll fix anything when I return.

Chicken curry a perfect weeknight dinner

Like many of my recipes, this one was given to me by my mother, has been among my staples for years, and has been endlessly adapted until the original recipe is more of a suggestion than a specific direction.

So, I figured this year was the perfect time to write out what I actually do to make chicken curry versus what the recipe I use calls for.

Chicken (and vegetable) curry ingredients.

I started adapting this one from the start out of necessity. I was poor and prefer chicken breasts, but the original calls for 3 pounds of chicken meat. Maybe I could have afforded that if I bought a whole chicken but as it was, I wanted to make a meal that lasted for days, and I was more likely to eat a boneless dinner.

So, I halved the amount of meat and then substituted in vegetables.

Now that I can afford 3 pounds of meat, it still seems excessive. So, I still make it with a mix of meat and vegetables. My list of vegetables changes but I like cauliflower and carrots with curry, even though they’re not usually my favorites. Peas and peppers rounded out the list this time, but anything works.

I also probably end up adding more than 1 ½ lbs. of vegetables because I don’t quite measure what goes in. I just eyeball it, including in the suggested amounts below.

Otherwise, I tweak a few other things from “The Curry Book” recipe my mom Xeroxed many years ago for me to enjoy.

So much curry goodness.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 4 T. unsalted butter (or ghee, if you have on hand)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 3 T. minced ginger
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1 ½ lb. chicken breast, chopped into bite-size chunks
  • 2 c. cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 c. sugar snap peas (or just frozen peas)
  • 3 T. curry powder
  • ½ T. ground cumin
  • 2 t. ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ⅔ c. plain yogurt
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • Scallions, optional for serving
  • Cilantro, optional for serving

Directions

Heat the Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat, and add the butter. Add the onion, cauliflower, carrot, and bell pepper, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until just starting to soften. Add the chicken and cook until mostly cooked through. Add peas, ginger, and garlic and cook another minute.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the curry powder, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, yogurt, and lemon juice, and stir until well mixed. Scrape the yogurt mixture into the Dutch oven, and toss to combine.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook stirring occasionally, for about 30 to 35 minutes until chicken is cooked through and the flavor has combined. Serve on rice, with scallions or cilantro if desired, and enjoy!