New Year’s Eve, 2010

I disappeared there for a bit, huh?  This vacation week has sped by and I kept meaning to post and then just…. didn’t.

But I will make up for that tonight.  It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m home and snuggled in with my baby girl and it’s only 7:12pm.  Yup.  I am THAT old.  That’s ok- I’ve had New Year’s Eves before- drunken ones, wild ones, quiet ones, fancy ones….  I’m ok with this being a quiet, snuggly one.  Before snuggling in, though, I made a fantastic soup.  It’s a recipe from (of all places!) Disney World.  If you go there, please eat at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Really good food.  This soup is exotic but warm, slightly spicy but also sweet.  It’s simply delicious.  I’ve made it many times and am so glad the folks at Disney weren’t stingy about their recipe.  They were, however, a bit stingy with the instructions so I’ll do my best to clarify.

Also?  If you happen to have a small dinosaur with you in the kitchen, be sure to give her snacks of her own, lest she be tempted to eat your soup before it’s done.

Happy new year to you all- may the coming year be full of joy, laughter and good food.

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup (from Boma- Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge)


Ingredients

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces (I actually have always used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about one pound)

salt

pepper

4 tablespoons of curry powder

1/2 cup oil (I use olive oil and use WAY less than a half cup, probably about 1/8 of a cup)

6 tablespoons of butter

8 tablespoons of flour

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup coconut milk (I have successfully used both regular and light)

1 cup onion, diced chunky (This is about a half of a large onion)

1 cup red bell pepper, diced chunky (This is roughly one medium sized pepper)

1 cup diced tomatos, drained (I used canned fire-roasted with success but have also used fresh)

1 jalapeno, sliced (I never use this but I’m sure it’s good)

1 cup potatos, diced chunky (This is about one and a half medium potatos I used 4 small (like fingerling size) potatos)

1 cup honey

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (I NEVER, EVER use cilantro.  Yuck.)

Directions

Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of curry powder. 

Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  Sear the chicken.  You want it to get nice and brown on each side but it’s ok if it doesn’t cook all the way through.  Remove the chicken from the pot (keep it on a plate nearby).  At this point I had lots of little chicken bits stuck to my pot because I’m never patient enough to wait to turn the chicken.  I added about 1/8 of a cup of chicken broth and used that to deglaze the pan (scrape up all of the brown bits).  I then poured those and the very little bit of broth over the plated chicken. 

Put the rest of the curry powder into the pan and stir it around so that it toasts- just for about 30 seconds or so. 

Then add the butter to the pan and let it melt while you stir it so that it mixes with the curry powder.  Don’t let it burn- turn down the heat if you think it’s too hot.  Once the butter is melted (you’ll have this strange sort of curry butter that smells good but….different.), add the flour and stir it around to let it cook a bit- about a minute or two. 

Then add some of the chicken stock and stir to break up the lumps- I always bust out the whisk at this point.  It will thicken up quickly so add a bit more chicken broth and get all the lumps out.  Once it’s smooth, add the rest of the stock and the coconut milk.  Keep that simmering over a low to medium heat and stir it once in a while, scraping up the bottom.  It’ll sort of thicken and get smooth.  As this is happening, it’s the perfect time to chop all the veggies. 

Once the soup base is smooth and warm, throw in all the veggies and the chicken.  Keep that simmering over low heat until the potatos and chicken are cooked through- it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how thick your chicken and/or potatos are.

Before you serve it, stir in the honey and the cilantro and let it sit on the stove for about two more minutes. 

Note:  If you taste as you go, like I do, I must warn you that it will taste somewhat bitter and not good right up until you add the honey.  The honey mellows out the curry powder and makes the soup smooth, sweet and warm.  So don’t worry if it doesn’t taste good until the end- trust in Disney.  Their chefs know of what they speak.

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