Red Curry Chicken starring Jersey Tomatoes (and PA Heirlooms, too)

I am biased when it comes to tomatoes. I believe Jersey tomatoes are the best. Though I now live in PA, I scout out farmers markets who sell Jersey tomatoes. At Wolff’s, all the tomatoes are lined up and most are grown close to Lima, PA, but I make a beeline for the Jersey tomatoes. I can’t help it. You can take the girl out of South Jersey, but you can’t keep her from her tomatoes.

I have a job in town and someone brought in some big, beautiful homegrown heirloom tomatoes. I selected a few to bring home with me the other day and I really didn’t have any idea what to do with them. I was in the midst of a tomato overload. I had the Tomato Sandwich for Fat Kid Friday. Yesterday, I made a tomato and cucumber salad and last night I had a sliced and salted cucumber tomato with warm Lavash. By this morning, the tomatoes I had left were staring me down.

It’s a rainy afternoon here in Media and it’s reasonably hot in my kitchen so I thought I’d make myself a nice, warm dinner.  This is an update of a recipe I posted in November of last year. I updated it using what I have left in my kitchen (I don’t cook or buy spices during the summer inferno) and the tomatoes I had leftover from my tomato fest. I decided to include the heirloom tomatoes in this recipe because, well, they may never get the chance to be as awesome as my single remaining Jersey tomato. I also pulled hoisted out the cast iron pot that my mom gifted me. I’m testing it out for when I do the cooking for my birthday party next week. I am VERY happy with the way this turned out. Enjoy.

Ingredients

6 tablespoons Canola oil
5 green cardamom pods, smashed*
1 cinnamon stick
1 large white onion, chopped
3 teaspoons ground ginger
3 tablespoons of Trader Joe’s crushed garlic
1 pound skinless chicken pieces (dark meat, white meat will dry out)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
Sea salt
3 large tomatoes, cut into quarters
Short grain brown rice, cooked according to instructions or intuition (I use a little of both with my stove)

1. Heat the canola oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick, and fry for about 30 seconds. Add the onion, and continue to fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until caramelized.

2. While the onions are caramelizing, blend the tomatoes, ground ginger and crushed garlic in your blender.

3. When the onions have caramelized, add the tomato mixture, coriander, and garam masala to the pan, and stir well. Salt to taste before you add the chicken. Next, add the chicken pieces and nestle them in among the tomato curry. Simmer this chompie for at least 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Oh, yeah. Somewhere in here you should prepare your rice. I did it as I set the curry to simmer. I found the timing was ideal doing it that way. Also, at about minute 35 of simmering your curry, I HIGHLY recommend fishing out the green cardamom pods. They are lovely for flavoring the dish, but they are most unpleasant to bit into. Trust me.

5. Serve over rice with naan or flat bread (optional).

For you food nerds, here’s a definition of the word ‘curry.’ You’re welcome.

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