Monday, September 23, 2013

Coconut Chicken and a confession

I have a confession to make. From ages 21-24, about 50% of what I made was a Rachael Ray dish (or my own twist on her dishes). I had her cookbooks, knife and large skillet, and pretty much every dish I made started with boneless, skinless chicken breast that I cut into 1-inch pieces and cooked with red onion and garlic. I've come a long way since then, but I still appreciate the confidence her recipes gave me in the kitchen, even though I haven't cracked one of her cookbooks in years.

Making this chicken dish gave me a flashback to my early twenties, when I was living with my three roommates who were finishing college. I'd come home, crack open a bottle of New Age wine, turn on my playlist (a lot of James Morrison in those days), and get cooking. They loved having a homemade meal everyday, and I loved having people to cook for! Now we're all spread out over the country (Michigan, DC, Houston, and of course, Austin), but it felt like they were there last night!

Coconut Chicken

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large red onion (or one small onion), thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional if you don't like things a little spicy)
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 15-oz can coconut milk (not low fat)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 green onions, dark green parts only, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 lime, quartered

In a large pot (I used my 2 qt Dutch oven), warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute two minutes. Toss in garlic and ginger and saute another 30 seconds. Add bell pepper and mushrooms and cook another 3 minutes. Add turmeric and cayenne and stir to combine, then push vegetable mixture out to the edges of the pot to make space in the middle.

Place chicken int he middle of the pot, careful to get it in one single layer. Let it cook 2-3 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper while you wait, then flip and let it cook another 2 minutes. Stir the chicken into the veggies, then pour coconut milk into the pot. Add water to the cococnut can and pour it in, then stir to combine. Bring it up to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer 10 minutes. Stir in cherry tomatoes.

Serve over Basmati rice and top with green onion and cilantro, then squeeze a lime wedge over the top. Pair with a rose and Enjoy!

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