Soul Food

Curry Chicken Sandwiches

I made lunch for Stephen, the carpenter working on our house–a curry chicken sandwich. He talked about it so much to his wife that she asked for the recipe. It’s from my Aunt Elizabeth who was born in the south, though, i doubt anyone besides here ever made curried chicken in the 80’s down there. It’s simple. Set the oven to 425 deg F and mix some curry powder into yogurt in a bowl and slop some chicken breasts through the mixture. Put the coated chicken on a baking sheet and spoon what’s left of the yogurt onto the top of them. Then bake at 425 deg F for 20 minutes. You can flip the breasts at about 10 minutes if you want to keep the yogurt on the bottom from carbonizing, but they turn out fine even without a flip.

If you stock up on chicken breasts when they’re on sale and cook them before they’ve been frozen they’ll still be tender and juicy the next day when you slice them for a toasted sandwich (with cheese and lettuce and/or mustard), like I did for the work crew.

Corn Pone

The recipe for the “corn pone” (cornbread) I served the crew today was a bit more complicated. Set the oven to 425 again. Mix together in a bowl: 1 cup flour, 1.5 cup fine cornmeal, 1/4 cup sugar (preferably brown sugar or raw), 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional), and 1.5 tbsp (5 tsp) baking powder. Beat 2 eggs and a cup of milk and 1/3 cup canola or olive oil together with a fork in a measuring cup and then stir that into the flour mixture. 10 strokes is usually enough to get everything wet, but not doughy. Lumps are good. Finely chop some onions, garlic, and broccoli stems and stir them into the batter to add a little eco-friendly nutrition and texture to the mix. Bake it in a 10 x 10 x 2 inch (or 12 inch diameter) baking pan at 425 deg F for 20 minutes or so. Like brownies, the key is to not over-cook. But if it doesn’t seem done at 20 minutes turn off the oven and put it back in for 5 more minutes.

“That’s the best cornbread I’ve ever had,” according to Larissa. Perhaps that was the drop of vanilla or quarter cup of unsweetened almond + coconut milk that she was tasting. I snuck that into the mix this time. Basically, cornmeal is very forgiving, add whatever you like. Bake it, boil it, pound it into a flat bread… it all tastes great.

Thank you to the native North and South Americans that went to the trouble of domesticating and breeding that tiny little inedible flower bud that grew into corn ears whose kernels are ground and put in everything these days.

Written on May 4, 2015