This recipe was inspired by my family’s recipe for Curried Chicken with what we called Whole Wheat Tortillas. Recently I was visiting in the Cherokee Territory in North Carolina I was told that this tortilla is actually Indian (Native American) Fry Bread. When you combine it with the Curried Chicken dish it’s a traditional Native American Meal. I should have known. So over the years, with no recipe in hand and only the memory of being in the kitchen with my Mother and Aunts while they cooked this meal, along with my memories of the taste and smells of this meal I’ve tried to recreate our family’s favorite dishes. Now I can pass it down to my Son, share with my cousins and all of you. Enjoy.
Ingredients: 10-12 bowls
- 2 pounds chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
- 2 pounds chicken breast, bone-in, skin-on
- All purpose meat seasoning, or salt and black pepper
- 2 Tb Olive Oil
- 2 Tb butter, unsalted
- 2 Tb flour
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly minced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tsp curry powder, divided use
- 1 @ 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, drained, and roughly chopped
- 2 @ 15 oz cans yellow hominy, drained
- 1 @ 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 Tb cornstarch
- 1 tsp File Spice
Pat the chicken pieces dry, season them with the all purpose meat seasoning or salt and black pepper. Heat a large stock pot over high heat, melt the butter into the olive oil, place the chicken pieces in the hot butter oil mixture and sear to just lightly brown. You may need to work in batches so as not to crowd the pot. The chicken won’t be cooked fully that will happen later in the cooking process.
Turn the heat down to medium, add the flour and cook until the roux has browned to a chocolate color. Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic, stir until they are covered with the roux. Return the seared chicken pieces and their juices to the pot, pour the chicken broth over them. Stir in the thyme, 1 teaspoon of curry powder and the bay leaves. Cover, raise the heat to medium-high, bring the pot to a boil, then drop the heat down to medium-low and simmer, covered for 1 hour. You may feel the need to skim off the fat as it rises. The chicken I use doesn’t seem to have much and I love the fat content because it adds so much good flavoring.
Remove the chicken from the pot to cool. Add the hominy, tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, salt, black pepper and another 2 teaspoons of curry powder. Stir well, bring heat back up to medium, cover and let simmer while you shred the chicken meat. Discard the bones and skins from the chicken and shred the meat with your hands. Return the shredded chicken meat to the pot. Using a glass liquid measuring cup combine the last teaspoon of curry powder, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of the hot liquid from the pot and stir with a fork until well blended. Whisk this mixture into the pot. (I remember my mother dipping the measuring cup a couple of times in the pot to ensure all of the cornstarch mixture was gone. Funny the things you remember about your mother’s cooking techniques.)
Reduce heat to low, cover and allow to slowly cook for another hour or so. This will give you plenty of time to make the Indian Fry Bread to accompany this meal. Sprinkle and stir in the File spice just before serving.
Suggestions: I absolutely cannot eat this “Curried Chicken Stew” without the Indian Fry Bread. It’s just not like home without the 2 together. So if you choose not to make them, try frying up or warming up store-bought whole wheat tortillas to accompany the stew.The whole wheat flavor is so wonderful with the Curried Chicken flavor. When I re-heat the leftovers I generally add another sprinkle of File Spice before serving.