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Baked Chicken Curry

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Baked Chicken Curry 

From River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

This may or may not be quite as quick as opening a jar of curry sauce, but it tastes far better. If you want to put a little curry ‘banquet’ together, you could serve this dish with flatbreads, lamb and vegetables.

Serves 6

2 heaping teaspoons cumin seeds

2 heaping teaspoons coriander seeds

1 heaping teaspoon fennel seeds

2 teaspoons tumeric

2 teaspoons ground fenugreek

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

3 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1 large green chile, coarsely chopped

1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, coarsely chopped

3 to 4 tablespoons sunflower or peanut oil

1 chicken, cut into 6 pieces, or 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces (about 3 pounds total)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 (14 ounce) can tomatoes

1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk

If you’ve got the time, toast the cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds in a dry frying pan for a minute or two, until fragrant. Grind the whole spices (toasted or otherwise) to a coarse powder in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, then mix with the tumeric and fenugreek.

Put the onion, garlic, chile and ginger in a food processor or blender. Blend to a coarse paste, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times.

Preheat the oven to 350º.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken pieces, season well, and brown them all over, making sure you get the skin a good color. Transfer them to a large roasting dish, skin side up. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

Reduce the heat under the frying pan, add the spice mix, and fry for a minute or two, then add the onion paste. Fry, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until the paste is soft, fragrant and reduced in volume. Add a little more oil if it seems to be sticking.

Add the tomatoes and coconut milk to the food processor (no need to wash it out first) and blend to combine. Pour into the frying pan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and a grinding of pepper, then pour the sauce over the chicken pieces. Make sure they are all coated in the sauce, then push most of the sauce off the top of the chicken — if there’s too much sauce sitting on them, the skin won’t brown in the oven.

Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned on top, turning and basting it a couple of times. Serve with lots basmati rice to soak up the sauce.

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