Have you ever changed your cooking plan mid-stream? You know what I mean ... you have every intention of making one dish, you've planned for it, but life gets in the way and before you know it you are side tracked into making something else? Please tell me that you are all nodding in agreement. Please. Nod with me. There. I feel better now.
When I started my day early this morning, I had every intention of dragging out the ol' crock pot and preparing a lovely Indian Butter Chicken Recipe. I envisioned it simmering away all day long filling my house with the most delectable aromas. I could just imagine not rushing around at the dinner hour, dicing this and sauteeing that, but instead just spooning the creamy goodness onto the plates and enjoying a calm, tasty, bone warming meal. *sigh* It was such a good plan.
Just as I was opening the cupboard to pull out the crock pot, I heard it. 'cough, cough, cough.' It's the sound every mom knows and dreads ... 'cough, cough, cough'. This was followed by the familiar, thud, pause, thud, pause, thud of dragging little feet reluctantly coming down the stairs. I round the corner out of the kitchen, pass through the dining room, and stop at the base of the stairs to be greeted with more 'cough, cough, cough' (it's that awful barking cough, too) and the most pathetic little face. With a sigh, I pick up my littlest sickie, who's very hot to the touch, and carry her into the family room where I deposit her in her dad's recliner. This recliner is a BIG manly chair. I feel like Edith Ann in it, and it absolutely swallows my wee babe. She lays down sideways in the chair, using the arm rest for the pillow and announces to me that she doesn't feel good, her throat is sore, she has a headache, and her stomach feels "blah". A quick look down her throat with the flashlight confirms it. It's gross. Alrighty then. Long story short, she stayed home from school, got tested for strep throat (negative), is informed she has the latest virus going around school (woo-who ... we made it for 2.5 weeks before catching it), and that she needs rest, soup, and sleep.
Soooo ... remember the chicken plans? There would be no crock pot Butter Chicken tonight. However, never let it be said that I don't know how to punt. (Oh my gosh, you won't believe this, but said sickie who went to bed 2 hours ago, just came downstairs and asked for some pain relief meds for her throat.
I really wanted to have something full flavored for dinner and my germy/virus girl loves full flavored food, so I figured I'd just chop and saute and simmer whatever came to mind. It's a hodge podge recipe, but lordy, lordy it was GOOD! Oh, and it's gluten free all the way, baby!
Change of Plan Simmered Chicken
4 Large Chicken Thighs
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 stick butter
1 onion cut into large chunks
4 potatoes cut into chunks (from the garden!)
4 carrots sliced thick (from the garden!)
1 cup water
1 cup cream
1 can tomato puree
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 Teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 shake cayenne
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 shake turmeric
Raita: Combine the following
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon cilantro
1 cup plain yogurt
In a dutch oven, combine the oil and butter and heat until sizzling. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook over med high heat until golden brown. Carefully flip the chicken over and cook for another 4-5 minutes. While the chicken is browning, combine the sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender, and puree the mixture. When the chicken is browned on both sides, add the onion, potatoes, and carrots. Immediately pour the sauce over. Cover pot with lid, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 1-1/2 hours. (It's probably done in an hour, but I like the meat to literally fall off of the bone.)
Before serving, remove skin (it slides right off) and using two forks, pull the chicken off the bones (it should just fall right off in big pieces), and discard the bones. I prefer to cook thighs with skin and bones intact, and remove them afterward. The flavor is just so much better that way. It took me maybe 2 minutes to skin and bone the chicken afterward.
Serve with rice and raita. Make yummy sounds.
My sickie-poo LOVED this and gobbled down every bite on her plate. My older two, you know who they are ... the ones who have Picky Eater Syndrome ... turned their noses up at it. Keep in mind that when I made up their plates, I put the rice in one quadrant, the chicken in another, the carrots in their own space, and the potatoes in the remaining space. Still no go. The food had, after all, been cooked together which meant that although it was separated now, it was at one point touching. My son eventually ate his, but didn't wolf down his meal with anything resembling gusto. My oldest daughter managed to "not feel well" and nibbled at it with zero enthusiasm. Hubbyman came through in spades and devoured two helpings, so this was a hit with 3 out of 5 family members.
I'm planning on making Italian sausage tomorrow, but I'm not going to finalize the recipe in my mind until I start cooking. That way, I'm not tempting fate to bestow another plan breaker my way. Hmmm ... should I make sausage hoagies? Sausage and peppers? Sausage and pasta? Any suggestions?