Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chicken Curry

My memories of my mother's cooking always make me smile. She wasn't the most creative cook, and during my younger years, she tended to fall into a pattern with our weekly meals. Each week followed roughly the same menu - baked chicken, spaghetti, hamburgers, steak every week. I swear Tuesday was spaghetti day. These were easy meals, using convenience foods. In the early days, they were budget meals - and were punctuated by the occasional casserole. When I was growing up, Mom was a college student and artist, and later became an art teacher. She worked for the satisfaction of doing what she loved more than the necessity of a paycheck. But still we followed a tight budget. We never ate out until I was in college. Birthday dinners were at home. Weekends we had dinner at my grandmother's house.

My mother made this recipe as one of those occasional casseroles I mentioned above. She didn't cook it often, but I became so smitten with it that it was always my requested meal on my birthday. This recipe is slightly modified from the original, but in essence it is the same. I wish I could take credit for inventing it. It first appeared in the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook in the 1930s. It is well loved in my home.

Chicken Curry
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup tomato juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon curry powder
4 cups cooked chicken, cubed
4 cups cooked rice
4 tablespoons butter or ghee
6 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the vegetables in the butter until onions are translucent. Add flour and curry powder and mix well.  Add broth, tomato juice, seasonings and allow to simmer and thicken. Add chicken and heat through. Serve over rice.  I like to mix the curry powder up a bit - a couple teaspoons of Penzey's Maharajah Curry Powder with one teaspoon of hot or Madras curry powder. The Maharajah curry has lots of whole saffron threads and has an amazing flavor.  

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