Butter Chicken (Indian Chicken in Tomato Cream Sauce)

Tonight I’ve decided to forego an evening of trim painting for two of my other favorite -ings:  cooking and eating.  Tonight’s dinner is not quite as decadent as it sounds, but it’s that good.  Lots of pluses for this dish.  It’s Indian and I love Indian food.  It’s hot and spicy – perfect for a cold evening like this one.  It comes together in less than 30 minutes and requires a minimum of chopping.  And if you serve it with naan instead of rice it’s a one pot meal.  All good.  Very good.

I actually followed the recipe here nearly exactly.  I had to substitute fresh ginger for ground because it’s what I had in the house.  And I left out the peas because I don’t like peas.  Other than that I read and measured carefully.  I used my home canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, which I like to think makes a difference.  As recommended I used a rotisserie chicken.  I bought and picked the chicken last night which saved me a bunch of time tonight.  A couple of tips about working with a rotisserie chicken.  Skin it and pick it while it’s still warm.  It’s SO much easier that way.  But, if you’re planning to use the chicken the next day leave it in large pieces where you can (breast and thighs).  It’ll help keep the moisture in.  Refrigerate it overnight and the chop or dice it while it’s cold.  It will hold it’s shape much better and be easier to chop.

This is yummy stuff.  Rich enough to be smooth and silky, but not so rich that you feel like you can only eat one bite.  Trust me, you should eat lots of bites of this.  The flavors are really complex in a wonderful way.  The garam masala makes it wonderfully aromatic.  The cayenne gives it a nice heat.  The tomatoes give it a little acidity.  The cream gives it a welcome softness.  It’s a truly lovely combination.  I served mine with whole grain naan which added just enough earthiness to round it out completely.  The biggest plus it that this makes a big pot of chicken and I’m thinking that the leftovers will be even better.  I’m looking forward to lunch tomorrow!

Good? So, so good.
Easy? Yes. Terrifically easy.
Good for company? Absolutely.
Special shopping? Garam masala spice blend is available in most big groceries, but try a spice store like Penzey’s to get a high quality one.

Butter Chicken (Indian Chicken in Tomato Cream Sauce)

Ingredients

Spice Blend:
1 tablespoon garam masala seasoning
3 teaspoons fresh ginger, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons jarred minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 skinless rotisserie chicken, boned out and pulled into 1 1/2 by 1/2-inch chunks
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Naan, warmed according to package directions, for serving

Directions

To make the spice blend: Stir the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the pieces just begin to turn gold, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste and spice blend, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. The spices will be fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and stir will. Add the chicken pieces, spoon the sauce over the top and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is warmed through and the sauce is flavorful, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove the chicken to a serving dish and cover to keep warm.

Serve with rice and/or naan.

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