Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Pineapple Chicken Curry Baked In Pineapples

I had planned to use the two pineapples for spiced preserves, but they ripened too quickly before I could get to the whole canning operation. This was fortunate, as the variety of pineapple would have been far too sweet to use in preserves. Someone in their wisdom decided that consumers want very sweet pineapple without any sort of tanginess to them. This variety is Costa Rican and is called a "Gold." While I wouldn't want preserves made from it, the fruit was a nice compliment to curry.

You've always wanted to serve chicken/pineapple curry that was baked in a pineapple-admit it. I have too, and it is with great sadness that I don't own any Tiki items to serve tropical drinks in. Not even a single paper parasol. Undaunted, I went ahead and made the curry and then baked it in the hollowed-out fruit. My husband briefly considered saving it to bring to the office for lunch tomorrow (imagine the weird looks) but couldn't resist eating it tonight.

Hollowing out this variety of pineapple is tricky as they have so much juice. Keep a bowl nearby and keep dumping as you work your way through to the bottom. Go slowly and use a good knife. At the bottom it helps to use a spoon (if there was ever a good occasion to use a "spork/runcible spoon, this is probably it.

I had extra filling, which I baked over extra rice in a covered casserole. That's tomorrow's dinner. You could use four small pineapples rather than two large ones, depending on the size of your family. You could also stretch the filling with more rice. The recipe is based on the one in the New York Times Heritage Cookbook.

You Will Need:

2 large (or 4 small) pineapples
¼ cup butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tart apple, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 ½ lbs chicken (I used thighs-about 8) skinned, boned and cut into 1 inch cubes
¾ teaspoon salt
1-tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons curry powder
¾ cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon crystalised ginger, chopped
2 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple juice
2/3 cup diced pineapple (also reserved)
½ cup chopped celery
1 1/3 cups cooked brown rice

Cut the tops off pineapples-reserve if you wish for garnish. With a sharp knife, core and hollow out pineapples leaving about an inch of fruit around the edge. Save the pineapple pieces and juice. Wrap each pineapple in aluminum foil extending above the top. Leave the tops open until filled. Place in a baking dish. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place rack in second to lowest position.

Melt the butter in a large skillet and sauté the onion, garlic and celery in it until soft but not browned. Add the chicken and cook over medium heat until it turns white. Sprinkle with salt, curry and flour. Stir and cook three minutes longer. Stir in the coconut milk, ginger, pineapple juice and pineapple. Cook until chicken is tender, about ten minutes. Stir in the celery slices.

Place rice in the bottom of each pineapple and then spoon in the curry mixture carefully. Close the foil around the tops and bake twenty-five minutes.

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