Wednesday, January 04, 2012

butter chicken and roasted Brussels sprouts

I'm having a really great vacation. I've been off work since Christmas Eve, and won't return to the office until January 16. Three weeks at home is really nice. At this point, it feels like forever since I started my vacation, and forever again until I must return to work. I'm enjoying time with the family and with friends and going out a bit more than I would if I was working. I am also really enjoying cooking. Here's how I make one of my favourite suppers. It's easy to make, satisfying to eat, and special enough to serve to company, AND it uses the little red pot. Perfect, huh?

Butter chicken begins with chicken. I use boneless skinless breasts, cut up into chunks. I cook them up in my little red pot, using just a bit of vegetable oil. For 4-6 servings I cook about a pound and a half of chicken in two batches. Cooked chicken and the juice that comes out go into a bowl on the side of the stove.

Next I chop up about 1.5 large onions or 2 medium ones, and saute these in the little red pot, using a moderate amount of real butter (about 1/3 cup). The rest of the recipe is really healthy, and the butter gives it the right to be called "butter chicken." Believe me, it's worth it.

Cook those onions in the butter for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile you can chop up some tomatoes. If you don't have tomatoes you can use some tomato puree or paste. I used three smallish tomatoes.

Now the magic ingredient: spice packet seasoning. I get these at my produce store. They have packets for Indian, Chinese, Indonesian and Thai recipes. So far I have found they are all good. I use two packets for this amount of chicken. Put the chicken and juice back in with the onions and add the tomatoes, the contents of the spice packets (kind of a wet paste of seasonings) and 2/3 cup each of yogurt and water. If you want to be decadent, you can use cream instead of yogurt. I prefer the tanginess of yogurt, and the sauce is rich enough just from the butter.

When you stir it all together it will be thick, then when it heats up, it gets quite liquidy. Never fear, it will thicken. Here's how it looks at first:

Leave it uncovered on medium heat. Cook it for about 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce is somewhat reduced and substantially thickened.

While it cooks, you can put some rice on, and also make some yummy roasted Brussels sprouts. Wash and trim as many sprouts as you want to serve. These are good reheated, so you can make extra if you like. Put them on a baking pan covered with parchment. Drizzle them with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper at least. You can use rosemary, or another favourite herb if you like. These are good with just about any flavouring.

Bake them in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven, stirring once or twice, for about 15-25 minutes depending on the sice of the sprouts. If you're in a hurry, you can cut them in half before cooking. But you're in no hurry if you're waiting for that butter chicken sauce to thicken.

Look! The sauce finally thickened up and turned golden. The whole house smells delicious, and everyone is climbing the walls, ready for supper. And the Brussels sprouts?

They are perfect - cooked through but not mushy, with a few bits of roasted brown on the edge of each sprout. Don't miss the stray leaves on the pan. They are crispy and delicious. Crispy Brussels sprout leaves?  Can you believe it? I think they are good enough to win over even a sprout-avoider.

Plated up, it looks like this. I was so hungry I didn't even tidy up the sauce splash on the rim of the plate. This is a wonderful warm and earthy combination for a winter evening.

Yum yum yum. Butter chicken. My new favourite comfort food, good enough for company.

question: do you like Brussels sprouts?

mompoet - Brussels sprouts remind me of the pictures of cabbages in Mr MacGregor's garden

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