It's Apple season here in Minnesota. Really good apples everywhere. Also, it's impossible on an iOS device to have the word "Apple" show up without capitalizing the first letter. I'm too lazy to correct it everytime it comes up.
We're going heavy on the curry in this post. This weekend we also did a really nice homemade applesauce. I don't even like applesauce.
Easy Sweet & Spicy Chicken Curry (with apples)
Apples a-poppin' everywhere. This recipe started with a li'l something I found on the New York Times Cooking site. And then I screwed around with it. I first tried this recipe a couple of years ago when Jill first got sick and we had to be really careful about what she was eating. We needed calories but we needed them to be healthy calories. Over time I've played with it a bit and evolved it.
You want a really sweet Apple. My go-to is Honeycrisp...it's sweet and it holds up well to cooking. But use whatever you like. One safety tip - stay away from anything with "delicious" in the name. These aren't that delicious and tend to turn into baby food when introduced to heat.First, get all your stuff together.
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 tsp ground allspice
3 tablespoons butter
½ chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 sweet apple, cored and finely cubed, about 1 cup (Honeycrisp)
2 ribs celery, small dice
4-6 new potatoes, diced
2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
2 tsp red curry powder
10-12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
¾ cup chicken broth, fresh or canned
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, about 1 1/4 pounds total
2 tablespoons finely minced cilantro or parsley
If you take a little time to get it together up front, this is a lot easier. Left go right, curry powders mixed together, bay leaf (if I don't put it out, I'll forget it, and it adds a nice aroma) potatoes, tomatoes, onion+celery+garlic in the same bowl (they go in together and go in first) and the apples.
Get your pan good and hot. We want to sear the chicken and get some good browning going on both sides.
That's about the level of color you want. Remove the chicken and set it to the side. TURN OFF THE FLAME IF USING GAS. Now, take the skillet to the sink and dump out the oil. Set it back on the burner. If it looks like any oil is escaping down the side, wipe it off. Then and only then, turn the burner back on. This is the kind of thing recipes don't tell you. Why do you do this? A couple years ago on a different dish where you pour the oil out, I didn't turn the burner off. When I put the pan back on...it was certainly exciting! I remember thinking as the flames leapt in the air and singed my hair and eyebrows...huh...shoulda turned that burner off. Since I'd set the pan down with the oil spill facing me, it got a little religious.
Set the heat to medium and throw in two tablespoons of butter. When it's about halfway melted, swirl it around the pan and add the onion, garlic and celery. Hit these with a little bit of salt (to start sweating them) and a little bit of pepper ('cause pepper is good and we want to start building a little flavor). Give this a couple minutes and add the potatoes and apple cubes. Give them a good stir and another couple of minutes. Then in with the tomatoes. At this point, a little more salt and pepper. The pepper is optional, the salt is critical. Potatoes eat salt. They absorb it. You gotta be brave with the salt when you've got potatoes involved (Helpful Tip: if you're cooking a sauce and you taste it and it's just too damn salty, slice up a potato and lay the slices in on top of the sauce. Give it about five minutes and remove the potatoes. Your sauce may still be too salty, depending on how batshit you went with the salt earlier but it will be considerably less salty than it was). Give this a couple of minutes and then in with the curry and the remaining allspice. I've found if I just use a mild yellow curry powder it doesn't have enough heat. Once, I traded the yellow for a spicy red curry powder. That had enough kick that I couldn't feel my tongue for, like, a week. So, I prefer a mix of 2 tbsp yellow curry powder and 2 tsp of red curry powder. Turn the heat up or down depending on your preference but stay with the 2tbsp+2tsp total amount. More than that and the curry overwhelms every other flavor. Less than that and it can disappear.
Let it come together for a couple minutes. Add the last tablespoon of butter. Add the chopped chicken, broth, bay leaf to the pan. It should look something like this.
You're gonna cook this for 8-10 minutes. Cover it for the first five to make sure the chicken and the potatoes get a good start to cooking through. Leave it uncovered the rest of the way to let the sauce cook down and thicken.
The original of this had you cook the sauce separately and then run it through a food mill. This was problematic on two fronts - 1.) I don't have a food mill, and; 2.) I've use food mills and find them to be a pain in the ass. They also take up a ton of space and I don't have the room. I have, thus, convinced myself that it's way better to have something chunky and hearty. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
When it's done, remove the bay leaf. I like to serve it over rice.
Nice big chunks of chicken that have a ton of flavor from sitting in the sauce and cooking through. The creamy happiness of the potatoes adding some heft. And in about every other bite the nice sweet surprise of some apple cutting through the heat and the heavy flavor of the curry.