Back in my twenties when I wasn’t the glamorous, well-thought-of domestic and entertainment guru and internationally famous food blogger that I am today, I did something I’ve never before admitted to. I knew it wasn’t the best thing to do but still, I did it.
So here goes my admission: I once served dinner guests food that I had brought home the night before in a restaurant doggy bag. When I look back on it today it seems pretty ballsy. But then?
Am I the only one here who has ever done this?
We are close now so I must feel freer admitting to such things. Three fourths of a very large asparagus risotto went home with me one night because I didn’t want to waste it, it was very, very good, and I remembered that I had to have a nice dinner ready for my boyfriend and his friends the next evening – one I hadn’t spent any time at all planning.
These were back in the days when my cooking and entertaining skills hadn’t grown to match my already seeded desire to become the domestic kitchen god you now know me to be. I did what I thought any quick thinking, ambitious boyfriend would do in such situations and merely ‘refreshed’ the risotto with some chicken stock and served it along side a roasted something or another.
So I ask you: was I just being a frugal executive chef or was I a fraud? I somehow managed to avoid any direct questioning on the fare that would giveaway my culinary deception but the joke was ultimately on me. My boyfriend and guests went on and on about my show-stopping risotto to the exclusion of everything else I had painstakingly prepared for the evening.
“Honey this is the most amazing risotto I have ever had! How did you make it? What is that spice?”
“That’s my secret dear!
And it was. I never told him despite his many pleas for me to make “that rice” again. Resentment would build up when he never once asked me to make “that pecan pie”. The pie I had spent an entire afternoon making. The pecan pie that was decorated with over 50 handmade chocolate leaves learned from a Martha Stewart pie book. It took a 100 leaves just to get the 50 perfect used. Yeah, that pie.
I grew to hate the continuing pressure to avoid rice altogether after that. Really, all Italian food had to be avoided so the topic of “that rice” would not come up and beg the question of when I was going to make it again.
It was a relief when that relationship fell apart and I could escape the burden of carrying such a secret. In the end, it was worth it as I do hate to waste a good risotto. .
The “two-fer” nature of today’s post reminded me of my youthful risotto indiscretion. Guess what? I kinda did it again just recently with this Chicken Curry with Peas. I repackaged leftovers from my refrigerator into a last minute dinner party offering. I just happened to have a huge pot of it in the refrigerator left over when a need to entertain came up “all of a sudden.” Pie crust really is transformative, isn’t it?
Last week’s Shaved Asparagus Galette with Mascarpone and Jarlsberg post went up as part of our cookbook giveaway for “Savory Pies” by Greg Henry (which got love from the Huffington Post by the way!). Ever since I’ve had savory pie on the brain. (If you haven’t yet entered there is still time so use the widget below to enter the contest.)
Who could blame me for reasoning out that one pot of chicken curry leftovers in the fridge plus a one frozen pie crust in my freezer equals 4 entrees for a dinner party? If only all dinner parties were as easy!
Was my new dinner party math wrong? Would you have done this for guests? I didn’t think I would but there it was on our table.
In my defense at least this time I actually made everything!
One night’s dinner to become the next nights exotic pot pie!
Chicken Curry with Peas Alone or as a Pot Pie
This is what you will need:
- 1-1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch strips or chicken tenders
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2-1/2 teaspoons curry powder, divided
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, best quality such as Swanson
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup frozen peas (no need to thaw)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup plain low fat (2%) or whole milk Greek yogurt (do not use nonfat)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
This is how you make it:
- Sprinkle the chicken evenly with 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon curry powder and set aside.
- Heat 1-1/2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking.
- Add the chicken in a single layer and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned but still pink in spots, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the partially cooked chicken to a clean bowl and set aside.
- Add the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons oil to the skillet and set heat to medium.
- Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, ginger and remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder and cook until fragrant, about a minute more.
- Whisk the chicken broth and cornstarch together to dissolve the cornstarch, then add to the skillet along with the sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce is nicely thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the peas and partially cooked chicken to the skillet, turn the heat down to low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, a few minutes.
- Off the heat, stir in the yogurt and cilantro and season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
- Serve with basmati rice.
- You can gently reheat, put into oven proof bowls, cap with a pie crust, and bake at 400 degrees until puffy and golden.