Braised Chicken and Mushroom Ragù with "White Curry" Spices

By • October 19, 2010 • 4 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a variation on my favorite mushroom ragù, which I updated in 2010 to add a smidgen of curry powder. (I read that Michel Richard uses a tiny bit of curry powder to season mushrooms in his cooking, to bring out their complexity. It's magical!!) If you are short on time, you can use, instead of the chicken thighs, bite-sized pieces of boneless chicken, and add them toward the end of the cooking time, with the stock. Serve with polenta, whatever whole grains you like, or with pasta such as penne, fusilli, or farfalle. We also like this on toast! This recipe can be doubled or tripled easily, and it freezes well, too. Enjoy!! ;o)AntoniaJames

Food52 Review: I was initially drawn to this recipe by the "white curry" spices, as I am allergic to red pepper. The result did not disappoint. It is exactly what you want to eat after work or after a day of skiing in the Alps. I used the cubed boneless chicken breast that AntoniaJames suggests, as I live in France and could not remember the French for chicken thighs. It took me about 90 minutes to make this dish, which is a little longer than I usually spend making dinner, but the results were worth it.minipanda

Serves 2

The Chicken and Mushroom Ragù

  • 12 ounces mushrooms, chopped (4 cups); I use portobellos, crimini, and, if available, one or two porcini.
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 or 4 chicken thighs, depending on size of the pieces, and your appetites
  • 3 tablespoons flour for dredging, preferably Wondra
  • 3/4 cup red wine, divided (I use a Burgundy or Côtes du Rhône for this.)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of bacon fat, or butter or oil, or a combination
  • Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon "white curry" spice mix (see below)
  • 2 ounces Black Forest ham or 1 ounce prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes in juice (canned is fine)
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 3/4-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram leaves, or a hefty pinch of dried
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves, or a hefty pinch of dried
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet until fairly hot; add the olive oil and swirl it around quickly. Add the mushrooms, stir a few times, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Stir for another minute or so, then leave them alone for another three or four minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. While the mushrooms are cooking, dredge the chicken thighs in the flour, seasoned with a pinch of salt.
  3. Finish cooking the mushrooms by turning the heat back up to medium and cooking for another minute, stirring constantly. Put the mushrooms in a bowl and, with the pan still hot, deglaze it with 2 tablespoons of red wine. Pour the wine and pan juices into the bowl with the mushrooms.
  4. Rinse and lightly wipe dry the pan. Return it to the stove and get it hot over medium heat.
  5. Add the olive oil or bacon fat and swirl it around the pan. Put the chicken thighs in, skin side-down, and leave them alone. Let them cook for about five minutes, turning the heat down a bit, then turn them over and cook the other side for about three minutes. Remove them to the bowl with the mushrooms.
  6. In the same skillet, add the onions and stir well to coat them. Continue stirring while the onions cook for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
  7. Add the white curry powder and the chopped ham or prosciutto. Stir well, while cooking for another minute.
  8. Add the chicken (skin side-up), the carrot slices, the mushrooms, and all of the juices that have collected in the bowl. Stir well, continuing to cook over medium heat. Then add the tomatoes, the herbs, a pinch of salt, and the rest of the wine. Stir to combine and then lower the heat. Simmer for about five minutes, stirring frequently.
  9. Add the chicken stock, then scrape down the sides of the skillet, blending everything together. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 20 to 25 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Taste for seasoning and correct. Cover and allow it to sit for at least another five or ten minutes.
  10. Just before serving, add the chopped parsley and freshly ground pepper.
  11. Enjoy!! ;o)

For the "white curry" spice mix

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 very small cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 5 whole cloves
  1. Toast the cumin, coriander, and cardamom lightly in a small skillet just until fragrant, shaking the pan frequently. The minute they seem to be turning a darker color, remove all of the seeds right away, lest they burn.
  2. Break the cinnamon stick into about five or six pieces. Very lightly toast it in the skillet over medium heat, for no more than a minute or so.
  3. Grind the toasted seeds, the cinnamon stick, the mustard seeds, and the cloves to a fine powder. (Check the grinder once or twice to dislodge any cinnamon pieces that may have stuck to the blade.)
  4. Store in a jar and use within a few weeks. (I use this in red lentil soups, and just about any dish that involves mushrooms. In the latter case, I use just the tiniest pinch, so that the flavors are not independently discernible.)
  5. Enjoy!! ;o)
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Tags: braised, braised, can be made ahead, Ragu, savory, travels well, travels well

Comments (4) Questions (0)

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8 months ago love2cook

While I "cheated" and used already prepared hot madras curry powder rather than making the intriguing sounding white curry powder (in my defense I'm recovering from a fractured foot and can't literally be on my feet very long), this was a lovely warming dish for this unending winter!

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8 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you so much, love2cook! I'm so glad you liked this. I'm sure it was terrific with the hot madras curry powder you used. So glad you made the effort to prepare this -- hope that foot heals quickly! ;o)

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8 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Looking at the spice mixture ingredients again, I recommend using just a portion of a cinnamon stick. With less than 2 tablespoons of other spices, more cinnamon that that could overwhelm the blend. Thank you. ;o)

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almost 2 years ago bugbitten

Hello, AJ. I meant to make this and comment later today, but I've got a bleu cheese salad going now, and I didn't think it would make a good pairing. I'll do a fricassee instead. BUT I shall return. I have learned something from every one of your recipes. Bless