Monday, July 23, 2007

Curried Poultry Potion

Like millions of people, I was occupied on Saturday. I mean, I'm an adult, I have adult things to take care of, shopping, picking up my husband downtown, working, reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows...

Oh don't give me that look--I know I'm not the only nutcase around here. Eric's sister, Ms. Art Attack, spent the weekend in Portland so she could attend the Powell's Potter Party (She tried to convince us to fly up there with us and construct special Beach Blanket Babylon style hats depicting scenes and themes from the books.) Another friend of mine-- adult, mind you -- is holding out because her copy has not arrived from the UK yet. "I'm a purist," she says, "I wanted to get it with the other cover."

But back to MY copy. So, I have my hot little hands on a copy of the book. Starting at 1 pm, as I'm waiting for my husband to finish his gig, I happily tuck in.

By 3 pm, having Apparated back home, I'm deeply lost at around page 200.

"I had a wife around here someplace," says a distant voice.

In a misty, Trelawney-prophecy voice, I murmur, "I'll start dinner prep soon..."

Around 5 pm, my hands are tired from holding up the book on my chest, and I have changed positions for the first time in hours. The house is remarkably silent, as my Omnivore, sensing the gravity of the situation, has plugged into his iPod and is staying far away.

By 6 pm, though, he can no longer help himself. There's a rustle at the doorway of the bedroom and I hear a slightly mewling that becomes an increasingly insistent whine, not unlike the "feed-me, feed-me, FEED-ME..." sound the cats make when it's dinner-time.

"Okay, okay," I glance at the clock and sigh-- we're at a good place in the book, I can do it, I can stop, I can... I rouse myself blearily and head for the kitchen.

Curried Poultry Poultice

"To begin," says, Libatius Borage, "compose a potent dry masala. Two tablespoons each of cumin and coriander seed. A teaspoon each of fennel and cardamom seed and two of fenugreek. Toast and grind well."

From behind me, I hear the cold clipped tones of Snape, peering over my shoulder.

"Ten points from Ravenclaw, Miss Eats, for using Batali Bowls."

I wrinkle my nose at him and defiantly add in a tablespoon of turmeric, turning the mixture a pleasing golden hue.

"And another five points taken for stirring clockwise. Do you pay no attention at all?" he sneers.

"I am making a LIGHT curry," I shoot back.

"Sweets? Do you need the chicken cut up?"

Uh- what? "Uh, um, yeah... Yeah, 1-1/2 inch pieces, thanks. "

"You okay, sweets?"

"Yep, no problem."

Right, cooking, cooking... Finely chop 4 cups of weepingweed...

Wet masala:
12 cloves garlic
1.5 inch piece of ginger peeled and sliced
2 fresh serrano chiles, stemmed and seeded
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
7-8 whole cloves

4 cups yellow onions, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 dried red chile peppers

2 Tbsp. dry masala

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 cups Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp salt.

3 cups spinach, torn
1 tsp dry masala

Make the Dry masala ahead, and combine garlic, ginger and chiles in a food processor for wet masala.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet and tilting the pan to one end to pool the oil, add in cinnamon and cloves. Fry until the cloves pop and the cinnamon opens (5 minutes). Remove the spices with a slotted spoon and discard.

Add onions and saute over medium heat until lightly browned (10 minutes). Add bay leaves and dried chiles and continue cooking. Fry the onions 10 minutes more until golden. Add the wet and dry masalas and fry until fragrant (1-2 minutes) stirring well.

Add the chicken, tomatoes and salt, stirring to coat. It may seem dry but tomatoes will add liquid. Reduce heat and cover, simmering for 30-40 minutes.

The curry is done when the liquid has reduced and the sauce has thickened. If it's thin, simmer the curry uncovered for a few minutes, to reduce.

Stir in torn spinach and 1 Tbsp dry masala.

Done. Here-- your dinner...Enjoy! And now, back to Page 600...

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