Our little son was ill this weekend and me and the Mrs needed something substantial, nourishing and life affirming in order that we might cope with serious sleep deprivation, fraying nerves and malnutrition. Time to break out the slow cooker. Got one? I bet you have never done a pot roast, let a lone an Indian inspired version.
The 'pot roast' method sounds vaguely American for some reason, but it is just a casserole with little or no sauce. All the juices and flavours from the bird and marinade are kept in the pot and the long and slow cooking results in a very tender, juicy, flavour packed meat. Will feed four with bread and chutneys:
A whole free range chicken - 1.6kg to 1.8kg, skinned (ask your butcher to do this)
Fresh ginger - 2 inches, peeled and roughly chopped
1 head of garlic - peeled
Ground cumin - 1/2 tbsp
Ground coriander seed - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Juice from 1 lemon
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Turmeric - a pinch
Chilli powder - a pinch
100g each of squash, parsnip, onion, carrot, turnip - diced all the same size
1 tin of coconut milk
2 tbsp mild curry powder or paste from a jar
A bunch of fresh coriander - stems finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
In a food processor blitz the ginger, garlic, cumin, ground coriander, lemon juice, salt and oil to a rough paste. Slash the thighs and breasts of the chicken to the bone and really rub all the paste over the bird. Place in the slow cooker, lid on and cook on low for 4 hours.
30 mins before the chicken is cooked, make the curry. Gently fry the onion until soft in a little more veg oil. Add the curry powder or paste and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the vegetables, coconut milk, seasoning and then bring to the simmer. Add the chicken juice that will have accumulated in the bottom of the slow cooker bowl and continue to simmer until the vegetables are soft and the sauce has a nice consistency.
Serve the curry in a large bowl with the chicken on top. The chicken will be a bit anaemic as it has mostly steamed, so sprinkle with turmeric, chilli and fresh coriander to add colour and drama. Serve with chutneys, yoghurt and naan breads.