Monday, June 6, 2011

Homemade Slow-Cooker Curry

Tonight's supper was delicious!
I'm trying to make use of my slow-cooker more, and maybe perfect some recipes so that when I go back to work, I can have them ready when we walk in the door.
I've been wanting something other than "the usual" which is hard with a picky 3-year-old. I decided to make curry anyways, and figured I'd make him grilled cheese or something.
Pics of curry:

Of course, then I got ambitious, what with my housework being all caught up (mostly) and making excellent progress on my rainbow patchwork skirt. So, I figured I'd try my hand at a simple bento for him. I've never made one before, and had only seen all the cute pictures of amazing creations people pack for their kid's lunches. I picked out a square sandwich tupperware container (I let him pick the colour, since we have a couple) and had to think about what to make.
I opted for a dinosaur theme, to match his dinosaur placemat (and because I have a dinosaur sandwich cutter from Dollarama) I cut out a piece of whole-wheat honey-oat bread, spread one of the dinos with a little peanut butter, and slapped 'em together. I took some star-shaped sprinkles and made a trail down the dinosaurs back. Then, I built a tree out of a hot dog and some grapes. I made a sun with some banana chips (that were layered on top of crackers, which were on top of a peanut butter cup for desert) and filled in the space with blue jell-o in waxed paper for the sky. He thought it was pretty neat :)
And reaction:

I think it was a hit!
Here's the recipe for the curry I whipped up (sans recipe) if you wanna give it a try!

Quick 'N' Dirty Slow-Cooker Curry

2 butterfly pork chops, boneless skinless chicken breasts, or steaks suitable for slow cooking
1 100mL container chicken or beef broth
1 pkg. cubed tofu (optional)
4-5 medium potatoes
handful of baby carrots
1/2 yellow pepper
1 head broccoli
1 medium cooking onion
about  a dozen mushrooms
spinach or kale -something leafy, but hardy (optional)
1 cans coconut milk
2 tbsp curry paste (I use green)
celery salt
bay leaf
juice & zest of 2 limes or a couple squirts of lime juice
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tbsp E.V.O.O.
Flour or cornstarch

Wash, peel & cube potatoes. Place in bottom of slow cooker, cover with baby carrots, pour in all but 1 cup of broth and cook on high. Throw in your paprika, celery salt, pepper & bay leaf
Meanwhile, cube meat and brown with olive oil in a frying pan. When meat is cooked, transfer to slow cooker. Cut onion & mushroom  into large chunks, then quickly sautee in same pan. The point isn't to carmalize them, just so the onions are slightly translucent. Transfer this to slow cooker with your tofu as well. Add remaining 1 cup of broth to pan and bring to a boil, scooping up all those good brown clumps from browning your meat. Turn heat to low & simmer about 5 min. Add in curry paste, whole grain mustard, lime juice & coconut milk. Continue simmering another 5 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
Allow slow cooker to continue for about half an hour on high, then add your broccoli & pepper, chopped into large pieces and the coconut milk mixture. Stir it all up and cook on high for another half hour.
Reduce heat to low, stir everything again and give it a taste. If it needs anything, now is the time to add it (more curry, lime, etc)
Cook on low for 4-5hours, placing thickly chopped spinach (or other greens) in about an hour before you plan on serving it. Remove the bay leaf
Now, the joys of a slow-cooker are that things don't always thicken up. If you are finding your curry excessively watery when you add your greens, make a flour & broth or cornstarch & broth mixture & stir into curry. I know I had to.

Serve with rice vermicelli or jasmine rice - whatever suits your style.

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