Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Put de Curry in de Co-co-nut

Sorry. I know you guys have probably been snowed in and made prisoners in your own homes by the below freezing temperatures hitting most of the nation. Just sitting there bundled under mountains of blankets waiting for me to update my blog with another soul warming soup. But like always, I miss these opportunities that other bloggers write posts for months in advance.

It's not my fault this time! Yes, I could have written this a week ago, but I was distracted. See, season 3 of Game of Thrones premiers on March 31st and my amazing wife surprised me with the third book in the series, A Storm of Swords, as an early Valentines gift. So yes, while you've been freezing, waiting for blog updates, I've had my nose buried in a book. I know, I'm terrible, I'm sorry. I'll never do it again and I promise I'll give you more attention.

...After I finish the book. So let's hurry this up so I could get back on it.

I first had this soup in the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World in a restaurant called Boma. It's a great buffet style place if you're ever in the area. When we tried this soup, both the wife and I were blown away. The flavors, while not usually paired to anything we've had, went perfectly together. A couple of weeks later I found a recipe and recreated the magic. And now, for you, I've done it again:

Coconut Curried Chicken Soup:     (adapted from here)

                                  1 each ~ Chicken, whole, cut in 8
                            1 1/2 each ~ Onion, medium, roughly diced
                                  1 each ~ Red Bell Pepper, roughly diced
                        1 tablespoon ~ Garlic, chopped
                                     Roux ~ 4 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons flour
                                  1 each ~ Coconut Milk, 13 oz can
                      3 tablespoons ~ Curry Powder, toasted
                           1 teaspoon ~ Dried Rosemary
                                  1 quart ~ Chicken Stock
                               5 ounces ~ Honey
                                  1/2 cup ~ Cilantro, chopped
                                  to taste ~ Cayenne Pepper, Salt, Pepper


  • I understand you may not have the technical prowess to cut a whole chicken into its 8 equal pieces (2 each of breasts, wings, thighs and legs). So if you'd like, you can buy it already cut, Or just use 4 or 5 nicely sized chicken breasts. 
  • If you scratched your head when you read the word Roux then relax. A roux (pronounced "ru") is one of the many ways you can thicken up a sauce or a soup. It's one of the more traditional thickening agents and when done right, will not add any wild flavors to what you're making (unless you want it to). It will just do it's job and magically thicken what you want to thicken. 
  • Yes, toast the curry powder. No, it's not a waste of time. When you toast a spice, you're bringing out natural oils and enhancing not only the flavor but the fragrance of the spice. And when you enhance the fragrance, you're making the spice stand out more in the dish to not just your nose, but your taste buds as well. So to toast, just get a nice dry pan and put the curry powder in it and turn up the heat. Swirl it around and let it heat up to the point where the smell is filling the air. 
  • I omitted jalapeno peppers, potatoes and tomatoes from the original recipe. While they'll give the end product more layers, I'm not a big enough fan of either in soups to have them in here.  
  • We're going to do this all in one pot so get your favorite one out.

Now, let's put the curry in de co-co-nut and drink 'em bot' up:

  • First, turn on the oven to 350. Then as always, make sure everything is ready to go. Cut all your veggies, get everything out of your pantry, just be prepared. In the industry we call this Mise-en-place (miz on plas). It's a French phrase meaning "everything in place". You'd hate to have your roux ready for the liquid and then no idea where your coconut milk is. Be ready!

  • Part of your mise-en-place is preparing the chicken. So whether you cut it up yourself or are going the easy route, take salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of curry powder and season the chicken. I cooked skin on but took it off later, so be sure to get underneath the skin as much as you can with all the seasonings. 

  • In your pot, heat up some oil and sear the chicken on all sides. Cook it about halfway if you can, then set the chicken on a sheet tray and put it in the oven for about 10 minutes (depending on how long you cooked it in the pan).

The recipe I got this from had you cooking the chicken 3/4 of the way and then letting it finish cooking in the soup. There are plenty of things I find wrong with this method, but most of all, I just don't have the time to sit there and wait for chicken to finish cooking inside of my soup. So I just finished cooking them in the oven. 

  • Now that you have all the goodness in the pot from the chicken, add a little more oil and throw in the onion, pepper and garlic. Saute it until the onions are translucent.

  • Usually, when you make a roux, you make it on the side and add it in while whisking. Well here we're twisting it a bit. So add the butter and the flour to the veggies and make your roux in the pot. 

  • Once your roux is together, go ahead and add the chicken stock, coconut milk, rosemary and curry powder. Whisk it or turn it with a spoon until you feel all of the roux has been incorporated. Once it comes to a boil, it will thicken up. If it does thicken before you're ready to continue then set it aside. But while it's thickening, your chicken should have been out of the oven and should look something like this...

  • Take the chicken and cut it up into bite sized chunks. This is the point where I took the skin off and may or may not have ate it. If you want to leave it in, be my guest. If you are using all breasts then chop it all up. If you're using a whole chicken, I cut up the breasts and the thighs and it gave me enough meat to work with. I saved the legs and wings as appetizers for the soup. 

  • Once the soup is thickened and the chicken is cut, go ahead and add the chicken to the soup. Add the honey and then give it a taste. It will need salt and pepper so add it. If you're looking for a little more kick, add the cayenne pepper a pinch at a time.

  • When it's all seasoned, add the cilantro and you are ready to bathe in it! 

It's a great soup to get cozy with especially if you have a nice, hot, crispy loaf of bread with it. Like I said, the flavors that work together here are phenomenal and are hard to put into words. So give it a go and see for yourself.


  1. yours is the second blog that I have been to. I didn't realize you had step by step instructions. This I can do... I will come here more often and maybe even create. Feel better Papa, today was a bad day but tomorrow will be better!!!

    1. Thanks for the kind words. Yesterday sucked hard but yes, today is another day.

      I try really hard to make things as simple as possible in these recipes. I try to talk you through it as if I was there, and not just give you directions without explaining why. So I hope you find something you like!

  2. OMG.......... my husband is going to be very HAPPY. It has turned out WONDERFUL. Thank you so much. Easy instructions, even for me!!

    1. Glad to hear it!! Happy to hear that it was great and easy to follow. What did your husband say after he tried it?