Sunday, March 1, 2009
Maybe you've noticed there haven't been too many recipes lately? Part of it is probably just laziness (I know, shocking...) but part of it is just that I haven't really made anything new lately.
I make weekly menus just so that I know what to make each night. Usually I put a couple of new recipes in a two week period. One such recipe kept getting moved around. I'd planned it for a night when the kids were going to be out thinking that they might not be too excited about it...but then we just went out to eat that night.
Tonight, I was determined to make it...."Mulligatawny". What, you may ask, is mulligatawny? (or maybe you're up on your Indian cuisine and are therefore already bored with this post...)
Michele Anna Jordan wrote a lovely cookbook entitled Salt and Pepper: 135 Perfectly Seasoned Recipes Her passion in life is really salt, with pepper coming in second. "You know me," she writes, "I'm the shy girl from elementary school who gave you her ice cream...I have little interest in sweets...ahh, but that salty flourish. I crave it."
Thank goodness for her attention to seasoning, because I have made an awful lot of soups lately that have been underseasoned.
Okay, back to mulligatawny...In the original Indian (Tamil) the word molaga-tanni means "pepper water". It was Engli-fied and adapted to the above mentioned word through the years of colonization.
This version called for chicken-apple sausages, tart apples, a myriad of rarely used spices (on my shelf, anyways), and a fruity white wine. The sausages and apples were easy to find, but I had to call in the Trader Joe's wine expert for the "fruity" libation. Did that mean sweet like a reisling or a gurtawertabertameisterizer (okay, okay, I know that's wrong, but that name drives me nuts)? He asked for the recipe's ingredients and upon hearing "chicken and apples" knew immediately that I was searching for a chardonnay. Thanks TJ helper guy! I promptly bought the super cheap $3.99 bottle of Santa Barbara Landing and stashed it in my cupboard for a couple of weeks.
The first order of business was to make some pita bread...you know me and my penchant for making elaborate and hair-pulling meals. Let me digress for a moment to talk about my breadmaking adventure (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking ...care of BYOB). While tasty, it definitely takes more than 5 minutes and always seems to be underdone, even doughy in the middle. I'm getting kind of annoyed, but I'm sticking with it just adding more cooking time. Pitas, however, don't run the risk of underdoneness simply because the dough is 1/8 of an inch thick.
I preheated my oven (with the stone) to 500 degrees. When it was hot, I took the dough out of the fridge, floured it, rolled it to 1/8 inch and slid it into the oven. 6-7 minutes later, it was a gigantic pillow of bread! It does deflate upon cooling, but it was fantastic! If you have this book, you should definitely try this recipe.
Okay, onto the soup...it is served over jasmine rice. So make the rice first.
Rinse 2 cups jasmine rice under the tap in a strainer. Add it to a pan. Add 3 cups cold water. Heat on high until it boils, then cover and lower the heat to very low. Cook 20 minutes without lifting the lid. Remove from the heat and let it stand 10 minutes without lifting that lid. Fluff with a fork.
2 pounds chicken-apple sausages
1 c fruity white wine
2 firm sweet-tart apples, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch slices
4 TB clarified butter (or just plain butter works!)
2 tsp curry powder, plus a pinch
1/2 tsp ground cumin, plus a pinch
Black pepper in a mill
One 2 inch cinnamon stick
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp grated fresh ginger (keep some in your freezer!)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or less)
4 cups chicken stock (homemade, of course!)
One 14 ounce can coconut milk
1. In a skillet, heat the sausages and the wine over medium heat. Cover with a lid and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Remove the lid, turn up the heat, and let the liquid evaporate. Brown the sausages on all sides (the sugars in the wine reduce to a blackish syrup that can burn...look out!). Remove the sausages, let them cool, then slice them into 1/4 inch coins.
2. In a large soup pot, melt 2 TB butter. Add the apples, and season with the pinch of cumin and curry, and several turns of black pepper. Add the cinnamon stick. Saute the apples until they are tender and golden brown. Remove the apples, leave the cinnamon stick.
3. Heat the remaining 2 TB of butter in the same pot. Add the onions and carrots, sauteing over ML heat for about 15 minutes. Then add the ginger and garlic, cooking for another couple of minutes. Stir in the curry, cumin, slat, turmeric, cayenne, then add the chicken stock plus 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat, simmering for another 15 minutes. Add in the sausages, simmering for another 15 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Taste it to see if it needs more salt (which it shouldn't since it is "perfectly seasoned").
5. Divide the rice among the bowls (4-6 large servings). Ladle the soup over the rice. Garnish with the apples. The pitas are the perfect way to mop up the sauce.
Oh, the divine smell of this mildly spicy soup. It's rich and creamy on the tongue, full of flavor from the spices. And did I mention, perfectly seasoned??? This made a believer out of me! I'm always shutting down my husband's suggestions for Indian buffets, but if it tastes like this, I may just go next time he suggests it.
Oh, and my 6 year old daughter loved it! She wanted me to tell y'all to try this (especially after I told her I'd make her famous on my blog..."really mama, famous???!!!").