Lately I've been having a lot of fun adapting stove top recipes for my slow cooker. This time, I've done just the opposite, tweaking a slow cooker recipe for stove top cooking. I adore the flavor profiles of Caribbean cuisine, yet I haven't often shared recipes from that part of the world. I intend to remedy that situation immediately, starting with this chicken curry with butternut squash and red bell pepper. Allspice and ginger, two of the signature seasonings of Caribbean cooking, have a prominent role here, and coconut milk holds it all together. The curry is mildly spicy, so adjust to your own taste by adding or cutting back on the hot pepper.
Caribbean chicken curry with butternut squash and red bell pepper
From the pantry, you'll need: garlic, ginger root, thyme, allspice, ground cloves, honey, limes, reduced-sodium soy sauce, olive oil, onions, fresh black pepper, turmeric, kosher salt, chicken broth, coconut milk, arrowroot. (For gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free soy sauce and broth.)
Adapted from a recipe for island-style chicken curry from Slow Cooker Comfort Food. Serves 6.
For the marinade:
8 cloves garlic, minced
6 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 Tbsp minced ginger root
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp honey
Grated zest of 2 limes, plus juice of 1 of the limes
3 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
For the curry:
3 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 2-inch chunks (yield: 2-1/2 lbs after trimming)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch dice
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3-4 cups butternut squash (from half of a large squash), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp fresh black pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup chicken broth (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)
1-2 tsp minced hot pepper (habanero, jalapeño, Thai -- whatever you prefer)
1 cup coconut milk
2 tsp arrowroot (optional)
Chopped cilantro (optional, for garnish)
In a large bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients, and stir well. Add the chicken pieces, mix to coat the chicken, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 8 hours.
In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, squash and red bell pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the squash is just starting to brown, 5-8 minutes. Stir in the pepper, turmeric and salt, and cook for 1 minute.
Add the chicken with all of its marinade. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken begins to "seize" (firm up slightly), 5-6 minutes.
Pour in the chicken broth. Raise the heat to high, and bring the curry to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 45 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Remove the cover, and add the minced hot pepper and coconut milk. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
If the curry is more liquid than you'd like it, whisk the arrowroot in a small bowl with 4 teaspoons of water, and pour that mixture into the simmering curry. It will thicken immediately.
Remove from heat, and serve over rice, garnished if you wish with cilantro.
More recipes with warm Caribbean spices:
Burmese dry chicken curry, from The Perfect Pantry
Potato and broccoli samosas, from The Perfect Pantry
Jamaican curry chicken, from That's So Yummy
Jamaican goat curry, from Simply Recipes
Spiced shawarma chicken wraps, from Jeanette's Healthy Living
Chicken Marrakech sandwich, from Kayotic Kitchen
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