CURRIED CHICKEN WITH TROPICAL FRUITS AND COCONUT SAUCE
Dishing Up Maryland
by Lucie L. Snodgrass
Exotic tastes are married with spring colors in this exquisitely flavored curry dish from my sister,
Alexandra Lehmann, a great home cook. Use local, free-range chickens for the best flavor.
• 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
• 1 celery stalk, diced
• 1 carrot, peeled and diced
• 2 sprigs fresh parsley
• 5 black peppercorns
• 1 small onion, peeled and halved
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons hot curry powder (without added salt or garlic)
• 3/4 cup coconut milk
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup creme fraîche
• 1/3 cup grated unsweetened coconut, fresh or dried
• 1 banana, sliced
• 1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
• 3 cups cooked Basmati rice (kept warm)
1. Wash the chicken breasts and place them in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water, the celery, carrot, parsley, and peppercorns. Bring to a gentle simmer and poach for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the chicken sit 10 minutes longer in the pan. Remove the chicken from the broth and transfer it to a plate to cool, reserving the broth.
2. Strain the reserved broth into a large measuring cup. Press down on the vegetables to remove all the juices. Add water to bring the volume of broth to 2 cups.
3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, cooking and stirring until the mixture is smooth, bubbling, and just golden, about 2 minutes. Add the curry powder and stir until fragrant, about minute. Whisking constantly, add the reserved broth, coconut milk, and salt. Simmer, whisking occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce is thick and creamy. While the sauce is simmering, shred or cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
4. Add the creme fraîche and grated coconut to the curry sauce. Stir thoroughly, then add the chicken and simmer another 5 minutes.
5. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the banana and fry for 3 minutes, until golden. Add the pineapple and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Remove the fruit from the heat.
6. Remove the chicken curry from the heat and transfer it to a serving dish. Mound the rice on a separate serving platter and arrange the fruit around it. Serve immediately.