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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chicken with Curried Fruit

Even when I was single, I loved to cook.  I did my share of takeout and restaurant dining, but mainly for things that I can't claim to cook well like Chinese and Indian food.  Otherwise, I always felt like there was no reason to eat well, even if I were dining alone that particular evening.  So I remember that I was really excited when I found a copy of The 15-Minute Single Gourmet cookbook by Paulette Mitchell for about 50 cents at the local thrift store.  Perhaps its previous owner got married and decided the cookbook was no longer necessary, but I decided to hang onto it.  Not because I plan to be single again someday, but because a good recipe idea can be changed to accomodate different tastes, different needs, and even a different number of diners. 

This recipe for Chicken with Curried Fruit sounded really delicious, so I did just that: cooked enough for my entire family.  Unfortunately, the suggested fruit to be curried was peaches and peaches aren't in season at the moment.  So I went with a can of cling peaches instead.  Feel free to substitute with pears, pineapples or apricots--frozen, canned or fresh.

Chicken with Curried Fruit

1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp curry powder, or to taste
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 peaches at room temperature, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch wedges

1.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the water, stir in the curry powder, and heat until bubbly.

2.  Add the chicken and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is lightly browned and cooked through, 8 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, combine the orange juice and brown sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

3.  Remove the chicken from the pan; place in a bowl and cover to keep warm.  Reduce the heat to low.  Add the peach wedges and orange juice mixture to the skillet; stir until the fruit is lightly cooked and the sauce buhbly, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the chicken and heat for 1 minute.  Taste; adjust the seasonings.

The Verdict:  Not bad.  Easy, flavorful.  But not nearly as good as Indian take away.

To be honest, I was surprised how the curry sauce was prepared.  Not that there's a better way to do it; I've just never made it before and was slightly surprised when I read that you first add oil, then add water.  But it works!  You suddenly have a skillet full of fragrant sauce.  And let me tell you, fragrant might be an understatement.  Our house smelled like curry for days afterward and if I were to rate recipes on a scale of one to five stars, it would definitely lose one for that factor. 

I also think I would wait for fresh fruit to be in season.  The cling peaches were a little blah.  Or I would have at least used frozen. 

I will say that it's very quick to prepare and is a fairly healthy meal.  And it's not bad alongside brown rice.  I apologize that this one doesn't have a picture to accompany it.  It was a night of everyone being tired and hungry, so the priority was food on the table.  All in all, it was good but not the best chicken dish I've done.  But again, I might try it with seasonal fruit.  And maybe some onion bhajis on the side, you know, to negate all the healthy aspects of the recipe.

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