Extreme weather dominated the holiday season with catastrophic amounts of snow and disrupted travel plans. Just a few days before, we experienced a normal amount of snow- the kind that softly blankets everything, muffles sound and makes one want to walk slowly through the woods, breath in the cold fresh air and enjoy the pristine surroundings.
We drove to nearby Barbour Woods in Norfolk, Connecticut with trails that wind through old carriage roads, one of which leads to an old stone arch bridge built in 1908. The Killarney Bridge built by Norfolk resident Frederick Shepard, takes it’s name from a similar bridge in Killarney, Ireland.
The woods were peaceful and perfectly still with the snow weighing down the branches and with the trail a bit slippery in spots, I trod carefully. Through the trees, we could see the crumbling foundation of the abandoned bridge and it felt as if we were on a treasure hunt. In 1908, this area of Norfolk was a bustling industrial center manufacturing knitting cotton and included several tanneries and an iron works. Broad swaths of the forest were cleared and the lumber produced charcoal to smelt iron ore.
When we return in the summer, it will be possible to walk almost underneath the bridge. For now, the path down to the edge of the bridge was icy and slippery; the day raw and chilly. It was time to return home for hot chocolate and start to put together the ingredients for a warming Red Curry Thai Chicken Stew!
The dish is based on a recipe from NYT Cooking, Brothy Thai Curry with Silken Tofu. I swapped out boneless chicken thighs for the tofu and the dish was the perfect thing for a cold winter’s night. We served it over brown rice, sprinkled with chopped peanuts and it was aromatic, piping hot and delicious!
Red Curry Thai Chicken Stew
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2shallots, peeled and minced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1(1-inch) piece ginger, scrubbed and grated
- 3 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1(14-ounce) can cherry tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes
- 1 quart water
- 1(13.5-ounce) can low-fat coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1½cups mixed fresh herbs, such as cilantro, basil.
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 lime, cut into wedges, for squeezing
Heat a medium Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high.
Add the oil and shallots, and stir until softened, 2 minutes. Add chicken and brown on all sides.
Add the garlic, ginger and curry paste, stir, and cook until fragrant and the paste turns deep red, 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, stir and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the tomato juices thicken slightly, 4 minutes.
Add the water and coconut milk and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook about 1 hour until chicken is very tender.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stir in cilantro and basil.
Serve with lime wedges.
AND: Here is the first “Tree of the Week” for the New Year! For those new to my blog, I love photographing old trees and greatly enjoy imagining various facial expressions. A definition of the word pareidolia recently featured in the Word of the Day aptly described my fixation: “the tendency for perception to impose a meaningful interpretation on a nebulous stimulus, usually visual, so that one sees an object, pattern, or meaning where there is none.” This may be more common then I might have thought. Last spring, I was strolling through Flushing Meadow Park in Queens, New York. I had stopped by an old gnarly cherry tree and was looking closely at it. An elderly Asian woman walking by, observed me and said softly: “Do you see the smile?” Case in point!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! STAY WARM AND SAFE!