Easy Indian Butter Chicken

I realize that this statement may make me sound arrogant or bitchy but it's simply the truth. I am a good cook!  There I've said it, and here's why.  A couple of months ago my husband and I decided to go to a *fancy* restaurant, the type that you can only dine in if you have a reservation.  I was so excited, most because we had to make a reservation, it made me feel important.

The place was nice, we both ordered something different expecting to have our socks knocked off by how amazing it tasted.  I'm sure you can assume that we were less than impressed.  One our drive home we discussed our meals, they were okay but nothing we would drive 45 minutes back to this particular restaurant for. During our discussion we determined the problem wasn't with the restaurant, it was with the fact that we eat pretty well at home on a day-to-day basis.  I enjoy cooking different things, it's a challenge to recreate delicious food for my family.  Plus is costs so much less to make it yourself.

Yesterday was one of those days that I was really craving a top notch meal, something spicy and savory to fill my current pregnancy cravings.  The nearest Indian restaurant is nearly an hour away and that just wasn't happening at the end of a work day so I chose to make Indian Butter Chicken to fill the void and it was delicious!!!

    2 onion peeled and chopped
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 fresh jalapeño, seeded, and chopped
    1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
    2 teaspoons tumeric
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    1 teaspoon cardamom
    1/2 teaspoon coriander
    1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
    2 1/2 cups chicken broth
    1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
    1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
    1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter
    2 cups basmati rice, uncooked
    Fresh cilantro or scallions, optional

Cook rice according to package instructions.

In a large saute pan, combine onion, chili, and oil. Stir often over medium-high heat until onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, tumeric, chili powder, cardamom, and coriander. Saute for an additional 2 minutes.

Add tomato paste and chicken broth.  Add half and half or cream , and bring to a gentle boil over high heat (mixture is inclined to spatter). Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until reduced to 3 cups, about 5-7 minutes. Pour sauce into a bowl. Rinse and dry pan.

Pat the chicken dry. Mix chicken with salt and pepper. Set pan over high heat; add 1 tablespoon butter and the chicken. Stir until chicken is no longer pink on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sauce and simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until chicken is no longer pink in the center (cut to test), 3 to 4 minutes. Cut remaining 3 tablespoons butter into chunks and stir into sauce until melted.

Spoon chicken and sauce onto rice. Garnish with cilantro or scallions.

This recipe is even better as leftovers, the spices really mature overnight in the refrigerator. ENJOY!

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