Quick-Braised Curried Chicken Pitas

Since November tripped into December way too quickly for my liking, I’m hurrying to markets to salvage the last bits of warm light, vegetables, and flavors that have hung around this long.  I know Mark Bittman stole our thunder on this one, with his fancy curried turkey leftovers bit on NYTimes.com, but this dish is somewhat different, a little more seasonal, and, of course, ovenless.

Also cramping our style today, Grub Street posted about the Chang/Batali session at the Strand last night that Rachel and I checked out (although we left as the audience questions started, missing the Rachel Ray appearance). The two chefs, along with Peter Meehan, appeared with Heinekens on stage and still managed to be not only funny but, at times, insightful as well.  Anyway, on to the recipe.

This is a really easy way to make really tasty chicken for very little money.  Our ingredients were 2 chicken legs, 1 bunch of baby rutabaga we picked up at the market at Borough Hall, some mushrooms we had in the fridge, and a shallot.  Plus a little wine and sriracha.  You could add anything you want to this (cilantro, tomato, pickled vegetables) but we wanted something simple and fast, that we didn’t need to buy anything extra for.


2 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick)

5 baby rutabaga, peeled and diced

3 baby portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 shallot, sliced or diced

1/3 c white wine

1/3 c chicken stock or water

splash white wine vinegar

curry powder (yours or store-bought)


salt and pepper

sliced cucumbers




Season the chicken (salt, pepper, curry powder) and sear it on both sides until browned.  Deglaze the pot with white wine, reduce a minute, and add stock or water to 1/2 the height of the chicken.  Add one of the baby rutabaga, 1 garlic clove, 1 mushroom, and 1/2 the shallot, plus a squirt of sriracha.  Cover the pot and let the chicken braise for about 10 or 15 minutes.

Peel over Paper

Chicken Braising

In another pan, beat some oil and saute the rest of the shallot, rutabaga, and mushroom with a little red pepper flake.  When nicely browned, deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine vinegar.  Add a couple tablespoons of the liquid you’re braising the chicken in, and cook until the vegetables are just tender.


When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot.  Let the liquid reduce, and pull the meat from the bones.  When shredded, add the chicken back into the reduced liquid and let simmer.

Slice some cucumber.  Plate the chicken and vegetables in separate piles.  Put extra liquid in a bowl for dipping.  Serve with the cucumbers, hummus and warmed pitas (plus some sriracha on the side) and assemble the pita sandwiches as you eat.

Pita Time


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