Tag Archives: frozen food

Frozen Overs – Curry

16 Oct

This started out as a strange Southern-style curry dish that involved ketchup.  I learned it while working at Susannah’s Gourmet Pantry in Jacksonville, Florida.  This recipe is my own take on that one that I made more times than I can count.  It’s definitely nothing like authentic curry, but it’s good comfort food and it’s something my husband often reaches for in the freezer when sent down to ‘pull something out’.  He loves it especially with roasted cauliflower, chick peas and green peas, which is how I have been making it lately.

Ingredients (makes enough for 5 square GladWare trays 8″ x 8″ plus fillings:

  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 stick butter (I said this was a Southern thing, didn’t I?)
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 5 T. curry powder (I used Penzey’s Maharajah)
  • 2 T. cumin
  • 1 T. crushed ginger
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 quart (4 c.) vegetable stock
  • 1/2 gallon of milk
  • salt to taste

If using chicken, you will use 8-10 breasts for this much sauce.  For cauliflower and chickpeas, use 1 head cauliflower, roasted and 1 can of chickpeas, drained.

Saute onion in butter.  Add dry ingredients and cook for several minutes, stirring constantly.  Add tomato paste and then slowly add vegetable broth and milk to make a smooth but thin sauce.  Cook until thickened, at least 15 minutes at simmering temperature, stirring frequently.

(The red bits in the sauce are saffron.)

While it is cooking, roast the cauliflower at 400F in the oven.  I toss it in some olive oil and Creole seasoning first.  DO NOT roast cauliflower in GladWare.  Use a sheet pan.  This is what it looks like after it has been cooked and portioned into the GladWare.

Portion the cauliflower and chick peas into freezer pans.  You can also freeze this sauce by itself or add some chopped cooked chicken.  It’s nice to freeze it by itself so you can add leftover bits and bobs to it on a busy night.  I use zip lock bags, stack them in a pan until they are frozen and then move the frozen flat bags to a freezer shelf.

Portion the sauce over each pan.

Or just toss it together if you are going to serve it right away.  Mr. U. really likes green peas in this.  I don’t freeze them in the sauce because then they’ll get lost and possibly lose color.  I add them, frozen, when I reheat the sauce and it makes for a very pretty dish.

My cousin’s husband said this sounded good but wondered if you could add different things to it instead, like instead of the cauliflower and chick peas!

Serve with a fun group of condiments if you like.  This is how we served it at Susannah’s, but with a good curry powder and the right add-ins, I don’t find I need the condiments any more.  It is fun to serve it with the condiments, though, and I even got my picky brother-in-law to eat it that way.  Pictured are:  cilantro, scallion, peanuts, dates, raisins, chutney and toasted coconut.

Planning – Freezer Prep

28 May My big freezer prepared for my 8 week disability aka "The End of Days"

I’m fortunate to have a big freezer.  I use it throughout the week to make my planning and cooking easier.  If you don’t have a big freezer, you can still freeze sauces in zipper lock bags (see below for instructions).  This will save space if you don’t have room to freeze meat or other additions with the sauce. 

Here are a few tips on preparing food for the freezer.

  • Don’t freeze meat in the container (styrofoam/plastic wrap) in which you brought it home from the grocery.  Wrap it properly, eliminating any air from around the meat.  This means either a) tight plastic wrap and then into a zip-seal bag for protection or b) freezer paper.  I always use freezer paper and tape.  It’s easy to use and relatively inexpensive. 
  • Sharpies are great for labeling things.
  • Glad OvenWare goes freezer to microwave to oven to refrigerator.  The 8×8 size stacks up great in my freezer.  I label both the side and the top with tape.  I have found that labels can be difficult to remove.  Always remove labels or tape before heating the pan.  If I have a casserole with a dairy-based topping, I usually put a layer of plastic wrap between the food and the lid so that the cheese or sauce doesn’t get stuck to the OvenWare lid in the freezer.
  • Glad FreezerWare is great for things that don’t need to go in the oven.
  • Foil ‘hotel’ or ‘steamtable’ pans also work great for larger quantities, with the disadvantage that they obviously can’t go in the microwave.  If you are going to stack them in your freezer, you will need to buy lids as well.  You can usually get these at a warehouse store (Sam’s Club, Costco, BJ’s) or you can get them at a restaurant supply store.
  • Zipper lock bags are also a great choice for sauces and smaller portions.  If space is at a premium, you can stack them, sealed, in an appropriate size container until they are frozen.  Once solid, you can remove the container for easy viewing.
  • Baked goods can be wrapped in plastic wrap.  I recommend overwrapping:  pull out a big sheet of wrap, place the item in it and wrap up and over the top.  A pastry chef I worked with used to say, “The only think plastic wrap always sticks to is itself.”  I often freeze bar cookies, cheesecakes, and other baked goods right in the pan, wrapped in this manner.  You can also freeze certain unbaked doughs in plastic, such as pie dough, or even whole unbaked pies, still in the pan.  I wrap raw cookie dough in parchment and then in plastic wrap before freezing.
  • I’m not a fan of aluminum foil for freezing, unless it’s as an additional layer over plastic or inside zipper lock bags.  It tears.

Martha Stewart has labels you can download and print at home.  They are kind of cute, but I would rather have BIG block letters that I can read easily.  Plus, a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie works really well and costs very little, whereas adhesive labels tend to stick to my containers and cost more, both in terms of printer ink and for the blank labels themselves.

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