Curried Comfort

This time of the year, I rely on my slow cooker. During the non-holiday part of the winter season, I might use it once or twice a week, but I'll have it going three or five times a week when the holidays are just around the corner. And why shouldn't I? When I get done with a busy day or writing, taking photos of beautiful food for the site, returning presents that didn't fit, planning holiday brunches, trying to convince the dog that he cannot reasonably fit under the tree, and wondering if my freezer can hold any more turkey, cutout cookies, or cranberries … why shouldn't I be grateful when I lift the lid on my slow cooker and see this:

Now, this recipe has a lot of ingredients. Indian food is like that. However, unlike most recipes for Indian food, you don't have to hang around and watch it simmer on the stove for most of the day. Instead, you prep some chicken in the evening and let it marinate while you sleep. Then, you put a pile of ingredients into your slow cooker, lid it, and go about your day. Near the end of it all, you lift the lid to add peas, half & half, and red pepper flakes … then make some rice. If you are lucky, you have a rice cooker and there's not much to that, either. Pour yourself a glass of wine and wait to sit down to a fantastic dinner with your family.

If you don't like heat in your Indian food (I know, it can be a thing), simply omit the crushed red pepper flakes at the end. If you really love heat in your Indian food (I know, this can also be a thing), add the flakes to the cubed chicken with the other spices the night before you make it. Voilà! You've got chicken curry that's customized for you. Likewise with the veggies I added to this dish. Not a fan of winter squash? Add cubed potatoes or sweet potatoes. Peas aren't your thing? You can skip 'em. Mix and match until you find the combination that makes you smile and then enjoy the fact that you have a meal that took many hours to make, but without your supervision!

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs -- cubed
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 T. ground cumin
  • 1 T. ground coriander
  • 1 T. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 large onion -- chopped
  • 1 c. cubed winter squash
  • 2 T. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 T. chopped garlic
  • 4 green cardamom pods -- crushed
  • 3 cloves -- crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • 3 T. half & half
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chili flakes

Place the cubed chicken into a zip-top bag and add the next 6 ingredients (garam masala through ground black pepper) and refrigerate for 8 - 10 hours.

Add the canola oil to a slow cooker vessel and place on the HIGH setting. Add the next 9 ingredients (onion through chicken stock). Add the chicken and spices and stir to combine. Cover the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce the heat to LOW and cook an additional 4-6 hours.

Shortly before serving, stir in the frozen peas, half & half, and crushed red chili flakes. Serve over steamed rice.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 6 hours + overnight marinating (hands-on time is about 20 minutes)

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