Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Curried chicken hot pots

I've not done much on my cooking blog this year. What with all that palavar with moving to New Zealand, and selling our house through the most ethically deficient real estate agents I've ever known, and wrapping up my work in Brissie... pause for the dramatic background music and the thumping noise as several angels fall to earth in sacrifice. 

But last night I posted a spur-of-the-moment pic of my culinary outcome. These hot pots were a mish-mash of two recipes. Amusingly they were from different Weight Watchers cook books but by the time I'd finished with them, they more appropriately should have come from Nigella or Two Fat Ladies. They were also dead-set easy to pull together. I work from home and I literally (not figuratively you grammar Nazis) walked out of my office when I heard Alan arrive, and started cooking and had them in the oven in probably 20 minutes. I would hazard a guess that I could have done it in 15 minutes but I obviously allowed time to pour wine and kiss my husband. 

A few people have asked for the recipe so here it is my loves, with all my added fat. You just go ahead and subtract that which makes your arteries frightened. And don't think the 20 minute thing is an Olympic record that needs a challenge. You just take your time and do the hell you please. I know I do... x


1 chicken breast, skin off
2 cups frozen vegies (carrots, broccoli, beans, cauliflower - that sort of stuff)
1 Continental chicken stock pot (the best thing to happen to cooking since me)
1 brown onion, chopped finely
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped finely or pushed through that thing that mulches it
1-2 teaspoons curry powder (less or more, depending if you're feeding a 5 year old or a hungry husband)
1 tin chopped tomatoes 400g
1 tin coconut cream/milk 400g (if you don't use it all, you can freeze the leftover)
2-3 sweet potato (or as we call them here, kumera)
milk/cream, salt and butter (for mashing the kumera after it has boiled)
grated tasty cheese, grated parmesan cheese, mild paprika (for topping)
oil - for frying and what have you (or butter...)


Pre-heat your oven to about180-200⁰C (if it's fan-forced go lower). Lightly spray some oven-proof ramekins (2-cup capacity) with oil. Aim for four but have a couple spare just in case.

Boil a big pot of water. Peel the sweet potato and cut into chunks. Chuck in the boiling water and keep an eye on it while you do stuff with the chicken. When it's cooked (that's when a skewer goes through it without argument), drain and pop back on the heat for 30 seconds to dry off any leftover water. Add a good dollop of butter, milk or cream (forgive me, I used cream) and a good pinch of salt and mash really really well.

Cut the chicken into 1cm cubes. Heat a bit of oil on a heavy frypan and cook the chicken till it's brown, say five minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. I like to have some paper towels on the plate to drain the juice so the poor chicken isn't sitting in its own, you know, wetness.

In the same pan as you cooked the chicken, add a bit more oil, then add the onions. When they've had a jolly time for say 3-4 minutes, throw in the garlic and curry power and stir for a minute.

(My curry powder of choice is Bolsts Hot Curry Powder. I had to get it from the IGA in Brisbane as Coles/Woolies don't sell it. Can't seem to get it for love nor money in NZ but fortunately I packed 10 tins when I moved so have sufficient. If you're not currently married to a curry powder, please give this gorgeous stuff a go.)

Then you get to the fun bit. Chuck the chicken back in, along with the tomatoes, frozen vege and the coconut milk. You be the judge on the quantity of coconut milk but I used half a 400g tin. This is where you give it a good shot of salt and pepper as well. Please use a proper salt, like Maldon, and fresh ground black pepper. Don't be like my mum, who uses her Saxa iodised salt and white pepper from the picnic hamper.

Let all that loveliness meld together in a way the Catholics and Protestants will never be able to do. Unless of course Pope Frank has his way. Which seems to be happening so I guess watch this space.

Now you can have a good gulp of your wine, and start to assemble. Put the chicken mixture into your oily bowls, about three-quarters of the way up. Spoon over some mashed sweet potato (you'll need a spatula for this and maybe the back of a fork to create waves if you're that way inclined) and then top with the two cheeses and a good sprinkle of the paprika.

Put on a flat tray and bake for 25 minutes.

Let it cool a bit before serving with a green salad. And wine. If there's any left.