So the post today is about making a tasty, well-seasoned chicken dish for your little one, but since I can’t photograph the results (reason being, the dish was consumed too fast by a 4-year-old and a ravenous 2-year-old last night for dinner. One bowl, two forks, on the couch, with me refereeing the saucy madness! Seriously, don’t let your kids eat this on the couch! Also, photographing chicken tikka masala is really hard and I just plain gave up). Anyway, I am posting instead, a picture of what happens when your entire spice tin comes in contact with previously mentioned 2-year-old. #spicemessmaddness
Good times, folks. 🙂
Seriously speaking, we had a sort of chicken breakthrough last night! Kirina, my 4-year-old, declared herself sort of meat-free a few months back. Not sure why, not sure how, but she claims she doesn’t like chicken or meat and turns her nose up at any of it. I think this has to do with the fact that she’s eating some pretty bland stuff at pre-school and it’s not really her favorite. But dinner last night? She ate like a mad hungry wolf! So did Ela and my hubby too (not that there was much left after the little ones went at it).
I was psyched (who isn’t screaming happy when their family inhales something you just cooked for them? best feeling in the world!) to see them all eat with such zest. Best part? It was EASY. Which is key these days, between two small children, and a book to promote (did I mentione Around the World in 80 Purees: Easy Recipes for Global Baby Food is coming out in AUGUST?!! Shameless plug alert, folks!!) I have to think of easy-to-prep meals that are still full of flavor and comforting.
Here’s what I did: (super loosely written!)
Meat and Veg: 1 package boneless chicken thighs, 1 diced onion, 5 chopped Roma tomatoes, 2-4 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
Spices: 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon each of cumin and coriander powder. Salt to taste. Chili powder to taste.
Liquids: Chicken broth, half and half, water
- Sauce: Sautee onions in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat until translucent and there’s a little browning on the edges. Add a good pinch of salt while sauteeing. Add garlic and ginger and sautee for 3-4 minutes until aromatic. Add tomatoes and cook until they break down, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add spices and cook an additional few minutes until aromatic. Puree with a stick blender. Add some broth if you need a bit of liquid.
- Chicken: You can marinate the thighs in a little yogurt with salt and turmeric if you have the time (even 30 minutes is good). If not, no problem! Cut the thighs into small chunks, sear in a frying pan, and then add it to the sauce. Or just dump in the pieces if you are super rushed. It’s ok! Add about 1 cup of broth or water.
- Simmer, covered, on medium-low heat until chicken is cooked through. It took about 15-20 last night, but I seared the chicken first, so it cooked faster in the sauce.
- Add a few splashes of half and half to give it some creaminess. Warm through.
That’s it! The beauty of this dish is that it cooks itself, and particularly well if you have a Dutch oven that can cook the dish slowly. Better still, if you let the dish sit overnight the flavors will meld together.
FLAVOR. That’s the whole reason that I think this dish was a hit. Seasoned, saucy and tender. And easy enough for two little ones to attack with a fork and bread (to mop up the sauce).
I think the dish also worked because we ate it together. On the couch. Cuddled up, one child on either side of me. In front of MSNBC (hey, I need my political news!). My sweet hubby brought warmed bowls over when the little ones asked for more. It wasn’t a traditional meal at the table, no. But it created enough of a happy and warm tradition for us and filled some hungry tummies with a well-seasoned meal.
Whether it is this recipe or something similar, try it! Feed your family flavor.
From my little ones’ highchairs to your little one’s, bon appetit!