Sunday, January 12, 2014

Indian Crockpot or Instant Pot Coconut Chicken Curry

Piggy-backing on my latest Indian food in a Crockpot success story, Beef Vindaloo, I decided to try a chicken curry cooked with coconut milk. This was my husband's response upon tasting it: "it really is amazing that you can make up recipes that taste like restaurant-quality Indian food." This is probably the easiest Indian recipe I've ever made. If you want to make your first curry, this is a great beginner's recipe.

Indian Crockpot Coconut Chicken Curry
1 T butter
1 onion, roughly diced
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 t minced ginger
3.5 pounds skinless chicken thighs (bone-in or out)
3 T Sun curry powder (you can use another curry powder brand, but I can't promise the flavor balance will be as good, or you could make your own using this recipe, which is what I usually do: 2 T cumin, 1 t salt, 1 1/2 t coriander, 1 t turmeric, 3/4 t cayenne pepper (I like it spicy), 3/4 t cinnamon, 3/4 t cardamom, 1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper, 1 bay leaf, 1 t fenugreek (optional))
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
1 14 oz can coconut milk
I bunch cilantro (optional) (stems and leaves separated and chopped. Cook chopped stems in the slow cooker to flavor the dish; reserve chopped leaves for garnish.)
1 cup pumpkin puree (optional--to thicken)

Dump all ingredients except garnish in Crockpot in the order listed. Cook on low 6 hours or high for 3 hours. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves if using.

UPDATE: I recently bought an Instant Pot, and have been having fun converting my recipes to work in it. Here's how to do it:
Using the Saute function, saute the onions, garlic, and ginger with the spices. Add remaining ingredients except pumpkin and stir together. Cover and close vent, then set to Poultry for 20 minutes. When finished, quick release and stir in pumpkin.

Serve with cauliflower "rice" or basmati.

Slow Cooked Cinnamon Apples

Make your house smell like hot apple pie ALL DAY. (And torture yourself because it won't be ready for hours.)

I'm getting increasingly slow cooker-obsessed lately. I especially love finding surprising things to use my Crockpot for. So today, I give you my first slow cooker dessert recipe: slow cooked cinnamon apples.

I have to admit, this was inspired by my recent trip to my hometown in Louisiana for Christmas, and a taste of the fried apples at Cracker Barrel. Contrary to what you might expect at a Cracker Barrel in Louisiana, these apples were not deep-fried; they were like apple pie filling. The real inspiration was that they used Golden Delicious apples and left the skins on! Turns out that apple variety has very tender skin. I HATE peeling things. See my cooking philosophy re: hatred for fussy recipes and my love for healthy cooking (most of an apple's fiber is in the skin).

When I got returned from Christmas, I whipped up this healthy Crockpot apple recipe that tastes like apple pie filling. It's so simple and versatile. It would make a lovely holiday side dish, healthy fruit snack, dessert, or breakfast. Serve warm or cold, plain, or with whipped cream, ice cream, or yogurt. You could even make a shortcut crumble by topping with granola!

I am such a fan of this simple recipe that I went out and bought this apple corer/slicer to make it even easier. That is really saying something, because I usually hate kitchen uni-taskers, but since I've been making this all the time, it's worth it! This brought the prep time down to five minutes.

Slow Cooked Cinnamon Apples
3 lbs (6-7) apples, cored and sliced (I like Golden Delicious because the skins are so tender you can leave them on. You can peel them if you must.)
1/4 cup Splenda or sweetener of choice
2 t cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla (optional)
shot of bourbon or brandy (optional; if you're feeling fancy)

Dump all ingredients in slow cooker; toss to distribute. Cook on high for 2 hours, or low for 6 hours, until apples are tender.