Minty Carrot Chicken 4.000

Dixie D. Vereen for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Sep 8, 2015

This dish, from Claudia Roden, is a fine example of how a classic cookbook keeps on giving. Her 1996 "Book of Jewish Food" doesn't label its recipes "fast" or "easy" or "seasonal," so revisiting a chapter every now and then yields unexpectedly apt treasures. Here, the last-minute stirring-in of fresh mint takes a combination of ordinary ingredients to someplace special. The dish is loaded with more savory turmeric- and ginger-tinged vegetables than with meat.

For fast cooking, boneless and skinless chicken is the way to go; when you have time to let the ingredients cook longer in the pot, use bone-in chicken, and you'll be rewarded with more flavor.

Jarred ginger-garlic paste (and separate jarred ginger paste and garlic puree) is available in the international aisle (Indian section) of supermarkets.

Serve with rice or warm naan.


Servings:
4

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 large white onions (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil (not toasted; may substitute sunflower oil)
  • 1 1/4 pounds carrots (green tops trimmed)
  • 1 serrano chili pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/4 pounds total)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste (see headnote; may blend equal parts ginger paste and garlic paste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Water
  • Leaves from 4 to 6 stems fresh mint

Directions

Cut the onions in half, then cut each half into thin half-moons. Cut the garlic lengthwise into very thin slices.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan or deep-sided skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the onion and garlic until well coated. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring a few times, until just softened.

Meanwhile, scrub the carrots well. Working with one at a time, cut a lengthwise strip off one side, then turn the carrot cut side down (to steady it). Cut the remaining carrot into long, thin strips, then cut the strips into 1-inch lengths.

Cut the serrano pepper in half; stem and seed it, then cut the flesh lengthwise into strips, the thickness of which depends on whether you want to use them just for flavoring the sauce (thick strips) or whether you’ll be eating them (very thin strips).

Trim the chicken of excess fat. Season the chicken lightly all over with salt.

Add the ginger-garlic paste, the strips of serrano pepper and the ground turmeric to the onion-garlic mixture in the pan. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, then temporarily transfer most of the mixture to a large bowl.

Add the chicken thighs to the pan; increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for 5 minutes, turning once halfway through, until the chicken is lightly browned on both sides. (It will not be cooked through.)

Add the carrots, then return the onion-garlic mixture to the pan. Pour in just enough water to cover (2 to 3 cups). Add a pinch of salt and cook (uncovered, still over medium-high heat) for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times, so the mixture is at a lively bubble; the chicken should be cooked through, the carrots should be tender and the liquid in the pan should have reduced a bit. Turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, finely chop the mint (to yield at least 3 tablespoons); stir it into the mixture in the pan. If you’ve used thick-cut strips of serrano, you might wish to discard them. Taste, and add salt as needed. Serve hot.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey From Samarkind to New York,” by Claudia Roden (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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