Butter chicken and naan are totally gaga for each other, don’t you think? It’s tough to have one without the other. And so I wrapped butter chicken in naan dough, then baked it into a sort of butter chicken calzone. With or without cheese, it’s one of our new favourite things to eat around here.
I originally wrote this recipe for the April issue of Parents Canada – streamlining it for print with the use of bottled sauce. You could, of course, use any butter chicken recipe you like, or even use takeout. Once cold, it will easily spoon into the middle of a circle of dough without running amok; you can then top it with a wee mound of grated cheese and seal the pocket to bake into a gooey pocket – I want to give them a go on the grill, and see if the added char will make them even more reminiscent of the smokey flavour naan gets from a traditional tandoori oven.
Bonus: they happily go into lunchboxes (six days of school to go!) and are pretty perfect for picnicking, too.
Butter Chicken Naan Pockets
1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg
Butter chicken filling:
canola or olive oil, for cooking
2 lb (1 kg) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
a jar of your favourite butter chicken sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1/2-1 cup grated mozzarella (optional)
Start with the naan dough. In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. If it doesn’t foam, the yeast is inactive; replace it with a fresh jar of yeast.
Stir in the flour, salt, canola oil, yogurt and egg, and stir until the dough comes together, then knead for a few minutes, until it’s soft, smooth and elastic. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled in size; about an hour.
Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of oil in a large, heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 7–8 minutes, until opaque and starting to brown. Add the butter chicken sauce and cilantro and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Let cool as you wait for dough to finish rising. It’s even better if it gets a chance to chill completely in the fridge.
Divide the dough into six pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into an 8-inch circle or oval. Pile a spoonful of butter chicken onto each circle, top with a bit of grated cheese and fold over, pinching the edges (you may have to fold the edge up over itself) to seal. Transfer to a parchmentlined baking sheet and cut a few slits on the top of each with a sharp knife. Preheat the oven to 400?F.
Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbly and golden. Makes 6 pockets.
June 18 2013 | chicken & turkey and sandwiches | 4 Comments »
One thing I know for sure: Dads love lemon meringue pie.
And lemon tarts, and lemon squares… a friend who used to own a dessert shop told me that delicate pavlovas filled with lemon curd were her biggest sellers among men. Which I find mildly amusing – doesn’t chocolate come across as more manly? Lemon as more dainty and baby shower-ish?
I have been wrong before… maybe dudes appreciate a good pucker? I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, but in my world, the guys dig lemon. And so I made a pie – from scratch, not a pouch – for father’s day dinner. A super easy process wherein you whisk sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks and lemon just as you might whisk a mix and water, then pour it into a baked pie shell (which must also be made of graham crumbs in my world). Dinner was braised bison short ribs with espresso and balsamic (a longer story I’ll save for later), and as plates were being cleared, I was mixing up meringue. (I didn’t say I was on the ball about all this.) There is something about successfully beating egg whites into a massive mound of shaving foam that makes one feel all pastry cheffy.
The biggest issue home bakers seem to have with the meringue that tops pies is its tendency toward weepiness and sliding around; you can solve this (or at least minimize it) by piling on the meringue while the filling is hot; the theory is (or fact?) that the steam then travels through the meringue, kickstarting the cooking process while getting rid of all that moisture (rather than let it stop and hang out on the surface of the filling). Make sure you spread it right to the edge, too, so it can grip the crust and not shrink. Shrinkage is not as popular as lemon meringue pie.
Lemon Meringue Pie
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar (divided)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
finely grated zest of a lemon
5 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a medium bowl, stir together the graham crumbs, brown sugar and butter; mix with a fork until well blended, then press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until pale golden around the edges. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 3/4 cups of the sugar and the cornstarch. Whisk in the water, lemon juice and zest, then the egg yolks. Set over medium-high heat and cook, whisking almost constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens. Pour into the crust.
If you’re using it, stir the cream of tartar into the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, beating constantly until glossy and stiff. Mound on the warm filling, spreading it to the edges to prevent it from shrinking. Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the meringue is golden.
Let cool on a wire rack for a few hours, until set. Serves 8.
June 16 2013 | dessert | 5 Comments »