|Cauliflower and Pear Curry|
Last week we had one of those throw-together-meals for dinner. Cubed chicken breasts, bagged frozen veggies and bottled curry sauce. I also had a few pears on-hand that needed to be used, so I threw them into the mix. The combo of cauliflower and pear was so good that I decided to make it again as a vegetarian dish.
Ever since my friend Jodie sent me a bunch of fun stuff from Japan, including several packages of Vermont Curry, I've been hooked on it. It's sweeter than most other curries and smoother, as well. I took the Wafuu recipe from Saveur and did my own thing with it, using pears rather than apples and using my own blend of veggie. Here is the recipe with my changes in blue. Of course, the curry blend you use will change the flavor of the finished dish, so make sure to use a curry you're fond of.
Japanese-Style Chicken Curry
Wafuu curry has a cult following in Japan, where many fondly remember eating it at home and at school functions. The recipes vary from cook to cook, and often include a host of "secret" ingredients like chocolate, milk, miso, and dashi (a stock made from seaweed and bonito flakes). Unlike most curries in other countries, this one is thickened with flour, which creates a smoother texture.
3 cups Chicken Stock
1 tbsp. canola or peanut oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" chunks (I left this out)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
1 medium yellow onion, 1⁄2 finely chopped, 1⁄2 cut into
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. curry powder, preferably S&B brand
2 tbsp. crushed tomatoes
1 dried bay leaf
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut crosswise into 1⁄2" rounds (I used red and green pepper slices)
1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into 1" chunks (one head of cauliflower florets and NO potato)
1 small fuji apple, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated (I used 1/2 a pear grated and one half sliced)
1 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. soy sauce
Steamed short-grain white rice (no rice here - just the veggies)
1. Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium pot over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper to taste, add to the skillet, and cook, stirring and turning frequently, until deep golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, transfer the chicken to a large plate, and set aside.
2. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and melt the butter. Add the ginger, chopped onions, and garlic and cook, stirring often to scrape up any browned bits, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is evenly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the curry powder and the tomatoes, stir well to combine, and remove the skillet from the heat. Add 1⁄2 cup of hot chicken stock and whisk vigorously to combine, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of skillet. (The browned bits will contribute greatly to the taste and color of the curry.) Whisk the curry mixture into the pot of simmering chicken stock, then add the reserved browned chicken thighs, onion pieces, bay leaf, carrots, and potatoes. (This is where I added the cauliflower, onion and peppers) Bring the curry to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes (only 20 minutes were necessary to cook the cauliflower and peppers).
3. Add the apples, honey, soy sauce, and salt to taste to the curry and stir well to combine. Cook the curry, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat, until the flavors meld, about 5 minutes more. Serve the curry with steamed rice.
I added the sliced pear close to the end so it didn't become mushy during cooking.