Thursday, March 28, 2013

Curried Mango Chicken Soup

I had a new kitchen experiment the other day. I love all things curry, and I had seen a recipe for Curried Mango Chicken Soup that I just had to try. I was somewhat skeptical about the mango, though. I have eaten raw mango before (although I have never actually purchased mangoes at a grocery store before), and Mike has made it rather clear to me that he does not eat cooked fruit, so this could possibly be a big bad in his book... but I decided that I had to try it anyway. This could possibly be due to that stubborn streak I have heard people refer to, but I will leave the self-reflection for another time.

I had to solve one little dilemma before I could start cooking the soup. I had no idea how to go about purchasing mangoes. How do you know when they are ripe? What makes a good mango? I know most people would go to google for this, but I actually have a far more reliable source that I like to hit up for questions about fruit. I called my sister. She answered the phone "Hey, what's up?" I said "Hey cheese," (I like to call her cheese - it is one of my favorite things, you know). Anyway, I said "Hey cheese, how do I know if a mango is ripe?" She replies "It feels like a pear, not like an apple. And it has a definite mango smell." See... way better than google.

So I go to the store, I get my mangoes, and I head home to cook. It should be noted that the stores don't carry too many actually ripe mangoes. Most people buy them a little early and take them home to ripen. Most people plan better than I do. So I asked the grocer if they had some that were already ripe, and he magically produced them for me. I guess it never hurts to ask, right? And Brigitta was spot on... felt a little soft, like a ripe pear. I could definitely pick out the mango scent, too.

I peeled and chopped the mangoes, which can be a bit of an adventure if you haven't done this before. I would recommend calling my sister for all you newbies out there. Once they are peeled and chopped, put the flesh into the blender with about 1 cup of chicken broth.

First things first, peel and chop the mangoes.
 Then I peeled and diced an onion. While I was dicing it, I heated a splash of olive oil in the bottom of my 6 qt dutch oven. Totally overkill for this recipe, but I do love my dutch oven!

Curry powder and cinnamon - an amazing combination!
 When the oil was hot, I added the curry powder and cinnamon and stirred it around for about 30 seconds, until it was very fragrant! Then I added the onion and  cooked this, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, until the onion was translucent and I was just about drooling from the smell.

The blended concoction of mango, cooked onion, and chicken broth.
I added the onions and spice mixture to the blender and pureed it all together until smooth. Then I set this aside until I was done with my chicken. I cubed the chicken breast and put it in the dutch oven with another splash of olive oil and browned it.

My cubed chicken, cooking away!
 After the chicken was browned, I added the rest of the broth and brought it to a simmer. Then I stirred in the mango puree and brought it back to a simmer. Then for the finishing touches: I squeezed the juice from half a lime into the pot, and added a dollop of creme fraiche. Mixed it all together, and it was ready to eat!
So yummy!

 I ate it "straight-up", no changes. Mike actually added some cooked broccoli, carrots and cauliflower to his, with a bit of sriracha (rooster) sauce. He loved it.

You can garnish with more creme fraiche and some fresh cilantro, but I couldn't wait to eat it!
I think this recipe is really flexible - you could easily substitute shrimp or tofu for the chicken, you could add veggies... lots you can do. And you can probably substitute greek yogurt for the creme fraiche if you prefer. In any case, I hope you try this one because it is AWESOME.

  Curried Mango Chicken Soup

Ingredients 

3 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
1 tsp Curry Powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 mangoes, peeled, pitted and finely chopped
2 1/2 cups Chicken Broth, divided
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 cup creme fraiche, plus extra for garnish
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions

1. In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the curry powder and cinnamon, then heat for 30 seconds. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onion as well as any oil and seasonings in the pan to a blender. Add the mango and 1 cup of the broth to the blender, then purée until smooth. Set aside.

2. Return the empty saucepan to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and saute until browned and cooked through. Add the remaining broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any stuck bits and seasonings. Bring to a simmer.

3. Pour the mango purée back into the saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the creme fraiche and lime juice, then season with salt and pepper. Garnish each serving with cilantro and an extra dollop of creme fraiche (if desired).

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 359 calories; 129 calories from fat (36 percent of total calories); 14 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 69 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 28 g protein; 3 g fiber; 722 mg sodium.