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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sniffles Go Well with Soup (Curry Chicken Soup w/ Pickled Red Onions)

This is one of those ideas that simply...happens. I was in the middle of a horrible cold, and all I wanted was soup, and NOT to cook. But I couldn't find a single takeout place with a soup that interested me at the time. So, of course, I said "Fine...I'll just do it..." and started to throw things in a pot. Some leftover chicken tenders, a few vegetables, broth, and why not, let's just top it with some of these pickled red onions that couldn't fit into the jar I had just filled. (Homemade pickled red onions: a staple in my fridge.)

It was only when I got my face close enough to inhale the thick steam did I realize, wait, this may actually be quite good. And, can I just say, what an understatement. The red onions cutting through the thick curry flavors and all these nice, just-soft veggies and chicken floating in was almost worth not having functioning sinuses for the next week. 

Indian Chicken Curry Soup w/ Pickled Red Onions

Note: I actually made this with Trader Joe’s curry marinated chicken tenders that I cubed. Thing is, in this kind of soup the meat became overcooked and chalky. I really didn’t care so much seeing as I was battling the plague, but for those of you with 100% functional taste buds I’d recommend using bone-in chicken pieces that you’ve marinated yourself. Or, for an easier yet still tasty soup, buy pre-roasted chicken and toss it in right before you add the liquids. 

*Pickled Red Onion recipe below

2 tsp canola oil
¾ cup red onion, chopped
¾ cup carrots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tsp of ginger, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1-2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp fresh ground pepper
½ cup frozen corn
3 tsp and 1.5 tbsp favorite curry powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tsp lemon juice
2 chicken thighs or 1 bone-in/skin-on chicken breast cut in half
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/3 cups water
¼ cup heavy cream
Mix the 1.5 tbsp of curry powder with the cumin and coriander in a small bowl.  Add a pinch of salt and some grinds of black pepper. Add lemon juice and combine.  The mixture should become a thick paste. Add water, a small amount at a time till you get a thinner paste, one that you can easily rub onto the chicken. Coat both pieces and let chicken sit for at least 30 minutes (but two hours would be better).

Put oil in stockpot and turn to medium high. When the oil is hot, add the chicken skin side down. Cook for four minutes, then flip. Cook for another four minutes and remove chicken from pot.

Add onions, garlic, ginger, carrots, bay leaf, cloves, and cinnamon.  Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, until onions turn translucent. Add salt, pepper and curry powder. If you feel that you’d like more curry powder, go ahead and add some! I’m a fan so I might actually add a little more than this.

Allow the curry powder to cook a bit, about 3 minutes. Add frozen corn and cook another minutes. Add tomato paste and turn heat to high. Stir to coat all the vegetables. Add chicken back to the pot and give everything a few stirs.

Add chicken broth and water. Allow mixture to come to a simmer and reduce a little more than a third, depending on how strong you like your soup. Finally, add cream and stir, cook for a minute and turn off heat.  (I actually added a touch more than ¼ cup but hey, I’m sick, I’m allowed.)

Ladle into bowl. Top with a pile of pickled onions.

Pickled Red Onions (adapted from David Lebovitz)

¾ cup red wine
¼ cup water
2-3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
3 tbsp sugar
pinch salt
several good grinds of black pepper
2-3 good shakes of hot sauce
1 red onion, sliced thinly

Add everything except onion to a small stockpot and put on med high heat. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to bring to a simmer and add onion. Stir, and cook for about one minute. Turn off and let cool completely in pan. Transfer to either bowl o’ soup or jar and refrigerate. Onions will keep for about a month.

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