January 24, 2011

Heartbreak and Chicken Thighs

The start of the 6pm AFC Championship game last night was perhaps not the best time to try a new labor-intensive recipe, but I had pulled chicken thighs out of the freezer Sunday morning with no plan in mind, and Curried Chicken Thighs with Buttery Croutons was the recipe that I stumbled upon that I had most of the ingredients for. So, while Graybeard suffered in front of the TV, I cooked, so that at half-time we could eat this creamy deliciousness and forget for a few minutes about the pummeling that the Jets were taking.

The dish, if not the game, turned out great. It took pretty much the entire first half of the game to put it together (I am a slow cook, and it always seems to take me three times longer than a recipe claims it will), but that way I didn't get so sucked into the agony of the first two quarters.

The curry turned out nice and creamy, even when adapted to be milk-free. The croutons really took it over the top. I served the chicken with brown rice and a simple salad, and am very much looking forward to eating the leftovers for lunch today. I will make this again, very soon, for Graybeard and me, and I would definitely make it for guests.

At least that turned out well last night. The Jets are not moving on to the Super Bowl this year. Heartbreak. But Sanchez is off to a heck of a start, and under Rex Ryan's coaching the Jets will take the AFC Championship game next year. (Yes, this year my husband's extensive efforts to make me a Jets fan have finally paid off, with the help of a New York Times magazine article by Nicholas Dawidoff about what an amazing coach Rex Ryan is. How could you not get behind an inspiring guy like that?)

Here is the recipe from EatingWell magazine's October 2010 issue, adapted for the dairy-impaired. Try it, you will like it (even if you have to use real dairy).

Curried Chicken Thighs with (fake)Buttery Croutons

Ingredients
* 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
* 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
* 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
* 1 large onion, sliced
* 2 tablespoons curry powder
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
* 1 cup rice milk (Almond, soy, or coconut milk would probably work fine too.)
* 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise (I used vegan mayo. I like Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise.)
* 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
* 2 tablespoons vegan butter (I use Earth Balance.)
* 4 slices whole-wheat country bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch (or similar 3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add half the chicken to the pan and cook until browned on both sides and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

3. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until softened and light brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add curry powder, ginger, pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat. Add broth and rice milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in mayonnaise and vinegar. Pour the sauce over the chicken.

4. Wash and dry the pan. Melt vegan butter in the pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in bread cubes. Toss to coat. Arrange the bread on top of the casserole.

5. Bake the casserole until it is bubbling and the croutons are golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

6. Dig in.

UPDATE: If you plan on following the original EatingWell recipe, which calls for peas, read this first.

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