In the mood for something warm, a little bit spicy, and ever-so-exotic? Nope, I don’t mean a weekend getaway for two to Cancun. I’m thinking more along the lines of a nice big pot of Peanut Chicken Curry, with a side of basmati rice (but, if you’re giving away trips to Cancun…sign me up!) One of my favorite curry dishes, this savory dinner gets its rich flavor from simmering all day in a mixture of sweet-hot spices, organic peanut butter, and coconut milk. It’s easy to put together, and can be made in the oven or in an electric slow-cooker. You can even sneak in some leftover vegetables or meat (shhh), which makes it a great way to stretch your dollars at the grocery store.
The basics for this meal are chicken, potato, onion, garlic and carrot. The sauce is made of coconut milk, chicken stock, organic peanut butter, and lot of curry powder! You can start here, and add what you want. It’s also great with beef or lamb, or leave out the meat and throw in more vegetables. Sweet potato, kale, cauliflower, peas…just about anything in your fridge or garden is fair game here. One of the reasons I enjoy this recipe is that it’s a fun way to combine a little of this and a little of that, and tie it all together with the sauce.
Just chop the vegetables and meat into chunks, and toss it into the pot. Mix up the spices, and blend them with the coconut milk, chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you’d rather) and peanut butter. You can add as much heat as you’d like, by adjusting the amount of cayenne pepper you use. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables, and then cook it slowly in the oven or in a slow-cooker. You can do this faster, on the stove-top…just cook your meat until it’s done, then add the vegetables and the sauce and simmer until the vegetables are soft. This works in a pinch, but you lose some of the rich flavor that you get when you cook it all day long. You’ll also have to watch that the liquid doesn’t boil out of the sauce, keep some extra chicken stock on hand if you’re doing it on the stove top.
You’ll love how savory and satisfying this meal is, and how easy it is to make! Curry is one of the oldest dishes around, it seems that many different societies came up with different takes on the same idea. We usually think of curry as an Eastern dish, but there was actually a cook book published in England in the 1390′s titled “The Forme of Cury.” If you’re interested in the history of curry, check out this article by the BBC. I had no idea that this dish was so rich not only in flavor, but also in history!
Peanut Chicken Curry
3 organic, free-range chicken breasts (or omit for vegan…or you can use lamb or beef instead)
4 medium-sized organic russet potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 large organic onion, chopped
4 cloves organic garlic, pressed
4 large organic carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
Feel free to add other vegetables or meat as you’d like…peas, sweet potatoes, kale and cauliflower are all good choices.
For the Sauce:
1 cup organic peanut butter. You can also use almond butter.
2 cups organic chicken stock, or vegetable stock
1 cup organic coconut milk
4 tablespoons organic curry powder
1 tablespoon tumeric
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
1. Put the vegetables, garlic and meat into a large pot, or the crockery part of your slow cooker.
2. Mix the spices together.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the spices, peanut butter, chicken or vegetable stock, and coconut milk together until it’s smooth.
4. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
5. Place the pot in the oven and cook at 300 degrees for at least 5 hours. Or, plug in the slow cooker and cook 4-6 hours on high, or 8-10 hours on low.
Speed method (if you really want curry, and you want it now): Heat a little coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet. Cook the chicken until it’s done through, then add the vegetables and pour the sauce over it all. Simmer on the stove top until the vegetables are cooked and the sauce is thickened, you may need to add extra chicken or vegetable stock if the liquid boils out before the vegetables are done.
Serve with cooked basmati rice. Serves six, with possible leftovers.
What’s your favorite kind of curry dish?