Now that’s an enticing and provocative title for a food blog isn’t it? Who doesn’t want to read about chalky chicken and the fact that I had curry in my hair?
So…in regard to the Chalky Chicken…I blame the slow cooker (aka the crock pot) for this latest culinary disaster.
It was one of those afternoons when I needed to distract myself and not think about my current situation. So of course I decided to pull together 4 totally random things. Chicken Tikka Masala, Curried Carrot Soup and Smoked Paprika & Chipotle Sauce with Lemons in Salt. There is no semblance of symmetry or logic behind why I chose these 4 recipes. I think the only thing each has in common is that all 4 finished dishes are orange.
Okay, not the Lemons in Salt. And the Chicken Tikka Masala should have been a lovely orangey, yummy hue. But alas, it was not. It looked more like chunky dirty dishwater. Now that’s something no one really wants to ever see when making dinner. Ultimate failure.
That begs the question…Isn’t a slow cooker some kind of miracle cooking device? Kind of ‘idiot proof?’ You plop in a variety of spices, sauces, veggies and meat. Set the cooker for 7-8 hours. Your kitchen smells like a 4-star restaurant. When the 8 hours is up, you lift up the lid to be greeted by a succulent, flavorful dish that is somehow already pleasingly plated. Your family swoons when taking a bite and asks for more. At least that’s what I thought should happen.
Not with this girl. The kitchen did smell amazing. But when the lid was lifted I was greeted by dried out little bricks of chicken surrounded by lumpy, not at all appetizing masala sauce. I tried to convince myself that it just needed salt. I was wrong. I rarely throw out anything. It’s not the way of my people. Into the trash it went. I wasn’t even willing to give it to the dogs. They have a very refined palate and would have simply turned their noses and walked away.
Fortunately the other recipes were not epic failures. You know how I feel about Rachel Ray (yummo evoo, etc. etc.) but she had a really super easy recipe that involved a package of those unnaturally small, perfectly shaped, not found in nature baby carrots. I had the carrots and all the other ingredients. YUMMO it was.
The other recipe Smoked Paprika & Chipotle Sauce with Salt Lemons was so ridiculously delicious and luscious that I wanted to dab it behind my ears. I now have a bottle of this sauce in my fridge and it essentially goes on everything. The recipe is courtesy of my lovely friend Rebecca, the wildly gifted, talented, funny, smart, brilliant chef behind Foodie with Family.
Curried Carrot Soup
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds packaged baby carrots, from produce section
6 cups chicken stock, available on soup aisle
1 tablespoon mild curry paste or 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder (as usual I used substantially more curry powder than called for.)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
Plastic condiment bottle or medium plastic food storage bag (I so didn’t do this)
6 blades fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces (So didn’t do this either)
I also used one 14oz tin of light coconut milk just because I had it in the drawer and it makes curry even better!
Preheat medium pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil, butter, onions and carrots and saute 5 minutes. Add 4 cups chicken stock, curry and cayenne, and about 1 teaspoon salt to the pot. (I added 3 cups of stock and the tin of coconut milk. Don’t tell Rachel.) Bring to a boil, cover and cook until carrots are very tender, about 15 minutes.
Process soup in 2 or 3 small batches until soup is smooth and carrots are fully pureed.
It was at this point that I might have ended up with curry in my hair because the blender might have exploded just a bit when I started it up. Luckily no one was harmed during the making of this soup.
Return completed soup to the soup pot and place back over low heat. If the soup is too thick, add remaining stock, up to 2 cups, to achieve desired consistency. Adjust seasonings.
Place sour cream in a plastic condiment squeeze bottle or into a medium food storage bag. Cut a very small hole in the corner of the bag with scissors. Ladle soup into bowls and squirt a swirl of sour cream around the bowl from the center out to the rim. Drag a toothpick from the center of the bowls out to the edges, forming a spider web design on soup. Pile a few pieces of cut chives at the center of each bowl to resemble green spiders in their webs! Cool!
Even if you don’t know me can you really imagine me making a spider web in a bowl of soup? I know it’s for Halloween. But that’s just not something I’m ever going to do.
Make this now. I know you have those freaky little carrots in your fridge.
Image courtesy of Rachel Ray and ‘her people’ which I’m sure include a proper and professional food stylist and photographer.
Enjoy. Until next time. Moose out.