Every once in a while the synapses in my brain actually fire and connect. I’m a mother of two small children and I’m certain pregnancy ate away some fairly decent brain cells that I’ve never been able to get back. Half the time I can’t even hear myself think between the chatty 4-year-old and the crying baby. So when I drove over to my grandparents property the other day and in a rare moment my children were completely silent, my brain snatched the opportunity to re-boot. What it spit out was one word- Kumquat. Oh no, I thought, not the kumquat tree that I’ve driven by a zillion times in the past 20 years. Not the tree I’ve been avoiding and never once have stopped to pick any of its fruit.
But these days I’m thinking differently, like I said synapses are starting to fire over here.
I’ve been so worked up about cooking what is in the weekly CSA basket that I’ve been ignoring the free fruit falling from the tree on our family property. I decided over the weekend to change that. If I can make weeds taste good (See Corn Strata and Dandelion Greens) then I can do something with this odd citrus where the flesh is tart and the skin is what tastes good.
So this week I embark on “The Kumquat Project”. I only picked a single grocery bag full and the tree looks like it is still about to fall over with excessive fruit. If you live near me and would like a bag to join me on my project, let me know and I will be happy to get you your own bag free of charge.
I almost had a nervous breakdown when at 5pm I was trying to put this recipe together and realized those tiny little kumquats have 2 seeds in each! Now I have got to seed these little things? Suddenly my synapse firing moment didn’t seem so brilliant. Would Hubs noticed if I didn’t remove the seeds? I mean I fed him a weed strata the other day so maybe seeds wouldn’t be so weird?
But then I realized I just needed to “halve” the kumquat and “squeeze” out the seeds. So what if I lose some juice? The juice is the bitter part anyway, the skin is really what matters. So, I timed myself- 3 minutes to halve and seed 20 kumquats. Not so bad. The Kumquat Project will continue….
To offset the bitterness I decided to use prunes. I know this may sound gross, as I surmised from the look on my neighbor’s face when I told her my plan. You can absolutely substitute dates but in all honesty when the prunes cooked down you couldn’t even tell what it was and it did add a nice sweetness to the dish. Like any curry, this would be quite adaptable to a vegetarian dish with potatoes, carrots and maybe some cauliflower in lieu of chicken. I served over Quinoa rather than traditional couscous only because Hubs is back on that whole P90x thing again. Also, I didn’t have couscous, but I like to let Hubs believe I’m “catering” to his diet.
So this is part 1 of The Kumquat Project. Look for a salsa and bread to come later in the week….
Kumquat Curry Chicken
1 organic chicken, skin on cut into 8 pieces
1 bag frozen pearl onions
20 Kumquats, halved and seeded (see note above)
4 oz prunes, quartered
6 Tbl. Majestic Garlic, Curry Flavor (see Majestic Garlic post for ordering info)
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Tbl. Olive Oil
Couscous, Quinoa or Rice, cooked to serve
This is a one-dish meal. I love my 9qt Le Crueset dutch oven (See Must-Haves) for this kind of meal but you can use anything you have that will hold a chicken and has a lid.
Heat olive oil in dutch oven over medium heat and brown the chicken, skin side down. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle 1/2 tsp cinnamon over the chicken. Add 1 bag pearl onions, seeded and halved kumquats and 4 Tbl. Majestic Garlic Curry flavor. Mix together and reduce heat to medium-low, with the lid on for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Then add the quartered prunes and remaining 2 Tbl. Majestic Garlic Curry. Combine and cook over low heat until chicken is fully cooked, about 15 more minutes.
Serve over couscous, rice or quinoa.
Makes 4 portions.