Wednesday, January 30, 2013

'quick' curry

I love winter cooking. Ok, so it was 70 outside today, but it's still winter and there's actually snow in the forecast for the end of the week (welcome to Asheville!), so there.

soul-satisfying vegetable curry
We had a dinner meeting at the studio this week, and we had decided on a crock pot curry. Normally, I'd get it going early and simmer it all day, but I was scheduled out of the studio until just hours before our meeting, and ingredients would be coming in from the other members of the studio all day, so adjustments had to be made. This 'recipe' is more of an outline, as many recipes here are, but you can use the formula to try your own versions. And to help with the time factor, we're using some pre-cooked and pre-prepared elements, as we've done in the past.

the micro-brew of hummus
Do I still consider it homemade? Oh yah, sure, you betcha! And the result of these little 'cheats' is that we had a curry with deeply developed flavors in a fraction of the time. Do I prefer this to spending a long morning in the kitchen prepping and cooking, then smelling the spices and flavors simmer all day long? Not at all, but when I can get this result at the studio using a crock pot and electric skillet, I'll take it! Will I ever present proper 'recipes' with normal formats? Yes, but you may have to wait for the book version. Will I stop asking myself questions now and get to it? I'll try, but it's kind of hard to stop.

Amounts: we have a large, oval crock pot, and this meal served 9 with leftovers. I'm sharing the amounts I used, so you may want to adjust for your own uses, and as always, use this as an outline and use ingredients that you like. Play with it!

Curry Base

2  8-ounce containers Roots Thai Coconut Curry Hummus
1  large can crushed tomatoes
2  cans coconut milk
1 TBSP turmeric
2 TBSP curry spices*
1 TBSP salt

Put curry base ingredients in crock pot, stir to blend, and set to high while you prepare the vegetables. Keep covered, and stir and cover again immediately after each addition below.
*we use a blend of curry spices at the studio - use your favorite blend or individual spices. Because there's some heat in the hummus, I'm not adding cayenne in this recipe (this time!).

Other ingredients

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1 cup cooked lentils
dry thyme or basil
1 1/2 onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 medium sweet potato, diced
2 cups cooked collard greens, chopped
8 oz. 'baby bella' mushrooms, cut into quarters
2 cups broccoli flowerets
Olive oil
Vegetable broth
salt, pepper, additional curry seasonings

Heat about 3 tbsp vegetable broth in the skillet. Add the garbanzos and lentils. Season with salt and dry herbs. Saute 3-4 minutes, adding more broth if it dries out, then transfer into the curry base, which should be heating up.

Heat 3-4 TBSP olive oil in skillet on low, and add 1 cup of the onions and cook slowly over low heat until caramelized. Season with salt and turmeric (more for color), then transfer into curry base and stir.

Heat 1/4 cup vegetable broth in skillet, then add garlic, sweet potatoes and collards.Season lightly with salt and pepper, adding more broth if needed to keep pan moist until sweet potatoes and garlic soften. Transfer to curry base.

Heat 2-3 TBSP olive oil in skillet on medium heat. Add mushrooms, cut side down, to sear. Stir after a couple of minutes and add remaining sliced onion and saute until softened. Season lightly to tastes, then transfer to curry base.

Add broccoli to curry base and stir. Taste for seasoning balance, cover crock pot and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Serve over brown rice.