Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Curried Chicken Penne with Fresh Mango Chutney


For credibility’s sake, I guess this should have been the first recipe I posted. But, I’ve been holding out on you and keeping my little-known college secret quiet. Now that it's been nearly a decade, I am realizing this might be my only claim to fame so it’s time to bare all. You see, I’ve been published. That’s right, folks! Hold onto your hats and glasses, I’ll be signing autographs later. In truth, when I say I’ve been published, I mean one of my recipes has been published. Yep, if you dig back in the Cooking Light Magazine archives to June 2004, you’ll find a picture of me and a ghastly article (they portrayed me as a complete valley girl!) next to my Curried Chicken Penne with Fresh Mango Chutney. Really, it was sort of a fluke but I must confess the whole ordeal resulted in big day dreams of someday landing a job in the test kitchens of Cooking Light Magazine....I even began researching the state of Alabama (their headquarters), secretly planning my new life in the south.

Obviously, that career didn’t really pan out. I contacted the magazine a couple of times inquiring how I might obtain such a job and they told me to submit a few of my publications. Oh, so like you actually have to be writing to get a job writing for a magazine? Got it. Needless to say, my day dreams came to an abrupt and immediate end.
I told you this whole thing was a bit of a fluke. I’m a rule-follower so I don’t really make up recipes exclusively using my very own brain cells. Friends have often encouraged me to audition for shows like Master Chef where the participant is faced with various cooking challenges requiring them, for instance, to create a delicious dessert incorporating simple ingredients like octopus, marshmallows and thyme. Friends, I can follow a recipe like nobody’s business but to just take what I have in the fridge and "make something?" The idea petrifies me.
The summer before my junior year of college was the exception, I guess. I must have had a uncharacteristic burst of self confidence. Way back then, the US dollar used to go places in Canada, and so on a couple occasions, my parents made the 30+ minute trip north to the beautiful waterfront town of White Rock, British Colombia for a special dinner out. On one such evening, we went to a restaurant, it was called "Sam's" I think, and my mom and my sister and I all ordered the same thing. It was a curried chicken penne dish and it was love a first bite for all of us. 

After listening to our rave reviews, my dad suggested I try to recreate it and, because it was just that good, I gave it a go. As luck would have it, I nailed it; the results were spot on. My dad urged me to submit my creation to a magazine and I obliged, just to humor him. Honestly, I thought he was just being my dad and dad's are always supposed to tell their kids what they do is amazing and I figured this was just one of those instances. Imagine my surprise when a month or two later, I got a letter from Cooking Light saying they received my submission and would like to publish it along with an article and picture of me for their Featured Reader segment. Hang on, folks, it gets better! They also told me that, as a token of their thanks for my contribution, they'd be sending me a little something in the mail. It arrived a few weeks later: $50 and a size XXL Cooking Light t-shirt. Ha!

Even though their "payment" for the rights to the recipe left something to be desired, I was elated and enjoyed my publication high for a few years until the excitement faded. It resurfaced again, maybe 3 years back, when my brother-in-law asked for a quick and healthy cookbook for Christmas. As an ever-faithful subscriber to the magazine, I went ahead and grabbed him a copy of one of Cooking Light's Best-Ofs cookbooks. He was paging through the new gift as we sat around the Christmas tree when he suddenly held up a full blown colored picture of a pasta dish and exclaimed "Hey Kelsie! Isn't this your recipe?" Sure enough, there in the pages of a hardcover cookbook was the Curried Chicken Penne with Fresh Mango Chutney recipe of yours truly. And I had no idea! If ever you stumble upon it in the Cooking Light world, you won't find my name attached but I promise it's mine.

The magazine made a couple edits to what I submitted so stick to my version - it's better. :) It's a great protein-starch-and-veg-and-in-one sort of dish though it isn't really a "one pot meal" per se since you need a saucepan to make the mango chutney. But, if you'd prefer to keep clean-up to a minimum, I'll forgive you for using prepared chutney.

Curried Chicken Penne with Fresh Mango Chutney
(original recipe mine, rights given to Cooking Light Magazine in June 2004 - see above)

Mango Chutney:  
2 cups diced peeled ripe mango (about 2 mangos)  
1 cup finely chopped onion  
1/2 cup water  
2 tablespoons brown sugar  
1 tablespoon curry powder  
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice  
1/2 teaspoon black pepper  
1/2 teaspoon chopped peeled fresh ginger  
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon olive oil  
2  garlic cloves, minced  
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces  
1 can light coconut milk  
2 tablespoons sugar  
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste  
2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce  
3 cups broccoli florets  
3 cups cauliflower florets  
16 ounces hot cooked whole wheat penne rigate 
2 tablespoons chopped green onions 

To prepare chutney, combine first 9 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates and mixture is thick, stirring occasionally.

To prepare chicken, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chicken; sauté 5 minutes. Combine coconut milk and next 4 ingredients (coconut milk through fish sauce), stirring with a whisk. Add coconut mixture to pan; bring to a simmer. Add broccoli and cauliflower; cover and cook 7 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in chutney and pasta; toss well to combine. Sprinkle with green onions, to garnish.

Serves 6

No comments:

Post a Comment

posted by kelsie