I am now a Dad! My son Bodhi Michael Ross was born on the 3rd of December 2011. To say it is a life changing experience is an understatement. My wife an I had done our research and attended the classes so thought we were well armed for what was about to come. This feeling of preparedness soon vanished after the second or third contraction, and was completely obliterated some 14hrs later when he arrived bang on 09:00! Bulk preparing food was an absolute God-send and this post is about the batch curry I prepared in quieter times!
This recipe is one that I had originally seen on BBC Saturday Kitchen (perfect inspiration telly) that I thought would be perfect to do in a dutch oven. At first glance the list of ingredients seems a lot, but you can quite easily pre prepare well in advance with the spices being pre mixed together and the fresh ingredients such as the chillies and and the coriander being replaced for dried ingredients.
You will need....
The stock/fat from the roast chicken
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2.5cm/1in knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
8 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into cubes
570ml/1pt chicken or turkey stock
125ml/4fl oz yogurt
85ml/3fl oz double cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
Meat from one large roast chicken , chopped
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
I like to use the left over juices from the chicken roasting as it gives the dish more flavour. Basically I use the same dutch oven that I roasted the chicken in to prepare the curry in. Just leave the juices in the bottom of the oven and suspend it over an open fire just low enough to keep the juices fluid. This dish requires the ability to vary the temperature for different stages of cooking.
By using a tripod it allows you to vary the heat levels simply by lowering or raising the oven over the heat source, some people like to do this by increasing or decreasing the distance between the legs. Personally I have a tripod with a chain and hook system, all I have to do is place a chain link over the hook at the desired height to adjust the heat.
Once all your ingredients are prepared add the onions to the juices Cook over a medium heat - hot enough to hear a gentle simmer, until the onion starts to soften. If you can hold your hand for 3-5 seconds over the heat source, that is the correct height for the oven
Once the onions start to soften add the garlic, ginger, chilli, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and ground coriander. When adding the spices it is important to monitor the temperature as you don't want them to burn!
When you think the onions are looking nice and soft and a little translucent, add the potatoes and butternutsquash and cook until the potato begins to stick to the bottom of the dutch oven. Don't worry about this, if your pan is correctly seasoned it will be easy to clean (Keep checking back for a seasoning article). Add the stock and bring to the boil. Season to taste. Reduce heat by raising the oven ( I use a 7 second hand-over-the-heat guide rule for this) and simmer until the potatoes and butternut squash are tender.
Stir in the yogurt and cream, then add the lemon juice and check your temperature. You may need to add more fuel to the fire or lower the oven to maintain the temperature
Add the chopped up chicken, it will have cooled since you roasted it so heat it long enough for the chicken to be hot through.
Final thing to do is to add the chopped coriander and stir through and then serve!
It is a great dish, and you can 'up' the spiciness by simply keeping the seeds in the chilli's!