Jason and I love to have people over for dinner. We had a hard time getting people to come visit us at our old apartment due to the shady nature of the neighborhood. Since we’ve moved, we’ve been much more intentional about having people over at least weekly. As I’ve hosted meals once a week since the New Year, I’ve learned a few things about myself. Starting the day before people come, every little project I’ve thought about doing suddenly becomes vitally important and I drive Jason crazy with “What do you thing about moving this over there?” Jason just focuses on getting basic cleaning task like sweeping, mopping, and stowing Zuzu’s toys and stays much more relaxed, but I get side-tracked from hospitality into perfectionism. It takes conscious effort to refocus my work on making guests comfortable and away from worrying what people will think of me.
The other thing I’ve learned is that if the meal isn’t completely ready by the time the company arrives, I’m a wreck. Even when a good friend that I have seen in months comes to visit, I have only half a brain until the meal is on the table and people are happily eating. Slow cooker recipes are the compensation technique that works best for dealing with this is idiosyncrasy. Our current favorite is an Indian flavored chicken recipe. Here it is in all it’s modified glory for the sake of copy write law which I actually looked up.
Indian Cashew Chicken
- Enough olive oil for the bottom of the pan
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (or 5 or 6 depending on how much you like garlic)
- 1 Tbsp minced ginger root (I store mine in the freezer between uses, thanks Dad for the hint.)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 can diced tomatoes with their juice (I use the bigger can to make the recipe stretch further.)
- 3 lb chicken thighs (boneless, skinless)
Saute onions for about 3 minutes until soft. While onion is sauteing, chop garlic and ginger root. Then add garlic, ginger root, cumin, turmeric,salt and pepper and cook for about 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and let it come to a boil.
Throw the chicken in the bottom of slow cooker and pour sauce over it. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8. (Different cookers have different cook times go with what you usually do for chicken in your machine.) Chicken is done when juices run clear when you stab at the chicken. Or when you pull out the biggest piece, cut it in half, and examine carefully that there is no pink. There’s a reason my chicken is almost always over cooked.
What really makes this recipe is the sauce. Blend 1/2 cup roasted cashew pieces (I’ve substituted Tahini when I was out of cashews) and 1/2 cup coconut milk. Add this to the cooker 30 minutes from when you want to serve and heat on high until everything is bubbly.
You can pull out the chicken and shred it, but I prefer to just stir really well when I put the sauce in and break the pieces up a bit.
Start your basmati or brown rice however long before dinner you need to do it for it to be ready in time. Sorry I can’t be more precise, every cooker and rice combo is different. I love my rice cooker because I make rice frequently and it cooks brown rice to perfection without any effort on my part.
I serve this meal with naan purchased from the store since I don’t want to have to bake bread right before guests arrive. I use the 30 minutes of cook time to straighten up, calm down and get ready to enjoy having company.
I’d eventually like to have three or four recipes that I rotate through for company. I’m experimenting today with a sweet potato, chicken, honey mustard dressing slow cooker combo. I’ll let you know how it turns out!
What recipes do you cook often for company?