Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Comfort food at my house.

Everyone has a comfort food. For some, it's macaroni and cheese. For others, meatloaf. Whether it be mashed potatoes and gravy, kettle corn, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chicken and dumplings or pot pie, everyone has a comfort food they turn to when they're needing, well, comfort.

Me? Well, in the Robinson household, it's Indian Honey Chicken.

This isn't something you're going to find on the menu anywhere. It was a happy accident that started an odyssey a couple of years ago that brought me to a happy place. A happy place where I make my own curry powder.

The powder? Is for another time and place. The dish? Well, I'll share.

To start off, you'll need honey, a curry powder, a pan, and chicken. Take your pan (I use an old 9"x13" baking pan) and wrap it in aluminum foil. That is, wrap it if you don't want to be scrubbing honey-encrusted goo later.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Take your chicken and lay it out in the pan. I've been under the weather lately, and my stamina is down, so instead of freash chicken I'm using flash frozen chicken thighs. They're so convenient.

Apply your curry powder. I like mine heavy on the cumin and turmeric.

If you'd like to approximate what my powder tastes like, you might combine two parts garam masala to one part ground cumin, one part turmeric powder, and one part garlic powder.

It's not quite what I use, but it is close. Sprinkle each piece on one side with your curry powder. Don't worry about the other side.


Drizzle honey over your chicken. It doesn't have to be a lot... remember, honey spreads when it cooks. A nice ribbon of honey works fine.

Place your chicken in the oven and let cook for 40-60 minutes, depending on the cut of meat and whether it's flash frozen or fresh. Breasts take longer than thighs.

I usually make a quick rice to go with this -- microwaving a cup of rice in two cups of water with about a tablespoon of ghee and a tablespoon of slivered cashews. Out of cashews tonight, I substituted walnuts.

I also pulled out some frozen onion paratha breads, the sort that you only have to cook two minutes on each side in a skillet. So easy, and so much faster than I could do it.

Check on your chicken when it gets to 40 minutes. Turn over each piece and sprinkle a little curry powder on the other side. If the chicken is done, turn off the oven and let it sit. If not, continue to let it cook.

When you take it out of the oven again, use your tongs to turn over the pieces a couple of time in the coalated chicken and honey juices in the bottom of the pan. Slice and serve over rice.

Don't feel like cooking? A mixture of three tablespoons honey to two tablespoons curry powder added to a zip topped bag of pre-cooked chicken (1-2 pounds) will do someting similar, though you won't get the neat slices. And did I mention it freezes well?

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