Sunday Supper: The Big Guns

The date: Sunday, November 6, 2011

The menu: Baked chicken curry, mustard roasted Romanesco, potatoes with cumin and mustard seeds, and pumpkin flan

The inspiration: At Home with Madhur Jaffrey

I didn’t mess around this Sunday. I had serious intentions to impress someone who has been working pretty hard to impress me. I didn’t try a new recipe this Sunday as I normally would for Sunday Supper, but this wasn’t the time to experiment. I needed to bring out the big guns, make my go-to recipe that nails it every time. And that, my friends, is the recipe for baked chicken curry that I’m going to share with you today.

Truth be told, everything on the menu was something I had tried and loved before. I didn’t think I could be more thrilled to be able to make mustard roasted cauliflower, since cauliflower is in season again, until I spotted the beautiful Romanesco broccoli at the market on Saturday. I quite literally squealed with delight when I saw it. I’m sure everyone in the stall around me wondered what all the fuss was about. It was a sign. Sunday Supper was going to be in the bag. After picking up some waxy, Yellow Finn potatoes from my favorite potato guys at the market and a lovely 3-pound sugar pie pumpkin, I was set.

But seriously, this chicken. It’s what I make anytime I have friends over that I want to impress. It’s been amazing since the first time I tried the recipe, but is even better since I’ve perfected the chicken situation. The original recipe calls for chicken parts, which I interpreted to mean a mix of boneless (OK, that’s just my preference) white and dark meat. But I’ve come to discover that using only dark meat, boneless chicken thighs, to be exact, is the real way to go. The chicken comes out amazingly tender and moist Ć¢ā‚¬ā€œ a hit every time. So trust me on this and make it with only chicken thighs at least once and I promise you won’t be disappointed. After all, I’m trying to impress you too!

Baked Chicken Curry

Adapted just slightly from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey

In a large bowl, mix the following:

2 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
the juice of half a lemon

Mix well and set aside for 20 minutes while you prepare the curry spices. Combine:

2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, crushed
5 Tbsp plain, whole-milk yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
6 cardamom pods

Optional: 2 Tbsp finely chopped red onions or shallots (to be used just before baking the chicken)

Mix well, rub the chicken with this mixture, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bring the chicken to room temperature. Transfer the chicken to a casserole dish (9 x 13 inch works well), brush the top with oil, and scatter the onions/shallots on top, if you’ve got them. Place in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and put back in the oven. Cook another 40 minutes, flipping the chicken pieces and basting every 10 minutes with the juices. Serve and impress your friends and family. Enjoy!

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