Tuesday, June 18, 2013

One sunny day!

PRAISE BE! It stopped raining for one glorious day! I got dinner going in the crock pot, went off to teach my afternoon class, stopped at a local farm stand to buy a couple of hanging baskets for the porch (on sale!) and more strawberries for our nightly salads, and then came home and planted all of my herbs and veggies that I bought this past weekend.
The dogs loved snoozing in the sun (in the extra-long grass that's still too wet to cut--boo hiss) while I did my digging in the dirt, and I swear I could feel the vitamin D soaking into my skin and coursing through my veins. Just a lovely day!
As for today's crock pot creation, I decided to rework my favorite recipe for Indian butter chicken for the slow cooker. Mainly, I swapped out chicken thighs for breasts, as they stand up to a longer cook time, and using coconut milk for creaminess without curdling like dairy productswould do. And of course, I had to rearrange the steps of preparation a bit, but I must say, it turned out FABULOUSLY well, and I would absolutely make it this way again in the future, especially when I'd rather be outside than chained to a hot stove.
Crock Pot Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 inch fresh ginger (about one tablespoon), peeled and grated
3 large cloves garlic (about one tablespoon), peeled and chopped
1 medium jalapeno pepper (whole, fresh), seeded and chopped

1 small can tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons chicken soup base (or bouillion granules)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 can coconut milk
2 tablespoons butter (divided), cut into pieces
2 lbs.boneless/skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" chunks
1 cup plain yogurt (or cream)
1/4-1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (to taste)

Heat vegetable oil in a large (preferably, nonstick) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno, and cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened and slightly browned. Add in tomato paste and garam masala and cook for another minute or two, stirring constantly. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the crock pot. Add chicken soup base, salt, pepper, and coconut milk. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.
Melt butter over medium high heat in the same skillet, then brown the chicken pieces. Add the chicken to the blended vegetable mixture in the crock pot, and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Stir in the yogurt or cream, and serve with steamed (preferably, jasmine-scented basmati*) rice, and garnished with chopped cilantro leaves.
*I used volcano rice tonight (as pictured).

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