Sunday, February 17, 2008

Curried Chicken with Cauliflower and Rice

Jack professes to dislike “working for his food” and, as a result, the ingredients in our meals are prepared boneless, skinless, shelled, and in manageable pieces. He was horrified once when, in a restaurant (one of our favorites, no less), he was served a platter of jambalaya topped with huge shrimp, shells intact, and also a whole chicken leg. This was several years ago and he still talks about it. I had two choices that evening: to watch him mangle the shrimp and chicken in an attempt to extract the meat, or take his plate and do it myself. I did the latter and, by the time I was finished, my crab-and-salmon cakes were cool. So goes the sorry tale of the wife who spoils the husband…

Several years ago when I grew an unusually huge cauliflower in the garden. I had remembered to tuck the leaves around the head as it grew, shielding it from the sun, so that it was an almost-pure white in color. I also had been using biological insecticides to keep cabbage worms and such pests away. This was one gorgeous cauliflower! So I prepared it as it deserved to be. It was steamed, whole, until just tender, then drizzled with a light sauce of an artisan-crafted Vermont sharp cheddar, and sprinkled with chopped chives from the herb garden. Centered in a platter, it was gorgeous. Jack looked at it, complimented my green thumb and presentation, then asked if I was going to cut it in pieces for us to eat. No, I replied, you only have to slice off as much you want with a serving spoon. It was that easy.

Well, not really.

Now, this is an architect who has made beautiful miniature models of building projects without a problem. I know that he has the fine motor skills; I don’t see the difference between cutting tiny windows in a tiny foamboard building and dissecting a cooked, unshelled prawn or removing the meat from a piece of chicken! But it is a problem, and after almost 25 years of marriage, it is simply dealt with.

It goes without saying that I make a good deal of recipes for our meals which feature boneless, bite-sized pieces of food.

Last night for dinner I was craving curry. Something warm and fragrant with Indian spices, and something that I could also make myself. Jack had been in his office all day trying to catch up on paperwork and I figured that the last thing he wanted was to be in the kitchen. While, on the other hand, I live to be in the kitchen! It’s difficult with crutches, and takes at least three times longer to do anything, but as I told Jack later, at this point I have all of the time in the world… ;)

Following is what I came up with. I was surprised at how simple it was to put together, yet how tasty. Just what I had wanted. This isn’t “company-worthy”, it could be with some extra work, but as it is, it’s a very good, basic, warming Indian-style meal.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Curried Chicken with

Cauliflower and Rice

Recipe By: Vicci

Servings: 2

Preparation Time :0:35

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

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10 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast -- cut into 1" cubes

1 tablespoon mild curry powder -- Penzeys is a good brand

2 teaspoons olive oil -- divided

1/2 cup diced onion

1 large garlic clove -- crushed

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes -- (or less, to taste)

1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth -- heated

2/3 cup basmati rice

10 ounces cauliflower flowerets

1/3 cup frozen peas -- thawed

2 wedges fresh lime

Toss chicken cubes with 2 teaspoons curry powder.

Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil into a medium, nonstick, covered sauté pan. Add chicken cubes and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until lightly browned and cooked (cut one of the larger pieces in half to be certain). Remove from pan to a bowl, cover, and set aside.

Add then remaining oil to the skillet and, over medium heat, sauté onions, garlic, and hot pepper flakes until onions are barely softened. Add one teaspoon of curry powder and rice; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add hot chicken broth and bring to a boil, cover tightly, and reduce heat to low. Cook without stirring or removing lid, for 15 minutes. Turn off heat but do not remove lid from pan; allow to stand while the cauliflower cooks.

Steam cauliflower (it should take 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of the florets)

Add cauliflower florets, peas, and cooked chicken to the rice mixture and stir. Serve with lime wedges and additional hot sauce, if needed.

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Per serving: 510 Calories (kcal); 8g Total Fat (1g saturated); (14% calories from fat); 51g Protein; 58g Carbohydrate; 82mg Cholesterol; 592mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 5 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates