Saffron Scented Curry Sauce
It's been awhile. My blogging has fallen a bit by the wayside these days thanks to combination of wedding madness (like canning 9 dozen cans of things and driving up to our venue), one of the busiest times at work, and my need for more than a few hours of sleep each night. Lately, my days have looked something like this: 6AM: get up, trip over my dog, run (maybe - depending on how cold it is) 6:30-7:30AM: shower, get ready, feed the pup, make breakfast, lunch, and most importantly, coffee. Drive to work. Drive around for twenty minutes trying to find a parking spot (the bane of my existence) 7:30AM-4:00PM: work. answer wedding emails. work. more wedding emails. work. address wedding checklist and budget issues. work. field wedding related phone calls and texts. work. eat while doing more wedding stuff. work. repeat until I leave. 4:00PM-6:00PM: workout if I didn't already do so in the morning or do second workout of the day. do more wedding stuff. possibly work from home. fuel myself for later activities with pumpkin ice cream and wine. 6:00PM-10:00PM: more wedding stuff. clean up the apartment. change laundry (because yes, I am always doing some). spend quality time with the soon-to-be husband (if he isn't at work). make dinner. feed the dog again. do more wedding stuff. 10:30PM-11:30PM: fall asleep sometime around here (probably closer to 11:30/midnight). Wedding planning has infiltrated every ounce of my life and it has been simultaneously one part awesome and one part overwhelming. Last night, I decided to take a break from all of the madness and make something that required a bit more than my usual twenty minutes. I went into the kitchen knowing only one thing would soothe my cold (quite literally, Richmond got really cold really fast) and tired soul: curry. Curry has always been one of my go-to comfort foods and last night, nothing sounded better than a silky, spicy, flavorful curry sauce. Usually, when I make curry, it is more of a throw-everything-in-a-pot-and-cook sort of ordeal but last night I decided to make a separate curry sauce so that I could pour it on absolutely everything for the next few days. Making an interesting and delicious sauce always seems to be the most difficult part of cooking for me while Brad can whip up inventive, amazing sauces at the the drop of a hat. This sauce definitely got his approval. The sauce's complexity and depth really hinges on the quality of garam masala (or curry powder) that you have. There are some pretty pricey ones out there, and you can make your own, but for everyday stuff I like McCormick's curry powder. It has a traditional flavor but isn't spicy so that I can control the level of heat. Another key to the lovely taste of this sauce? Saffron.
I love saffron for it's floral taste and aroma. Saffron is expensive but a little goes a long way and it really is worth it. We were lucky enough to have a coworker and friend of mine give me a generous container of saffron that her mother brought from Iran (thanks Z!) so it's been making an appearance in many meals around here. The saffron (in conjunction with ground coriander) really gives this sauce a brightness that makes it downright addicting. Spicy, warm, and saffron scented? This sauce isn't going to last long around here. Saffron Scented Curry Sauce
Yields: a good amount! probably about 2 cups?
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter, divided
1/2 of a large, sweet onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. garam masala or curry powder
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1/2 tsp. ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp. cayenne (more or less to your tastes!)
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 large can of diced tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup water
pinch of saffron
1. Heat olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter together in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and saute until transculent, about 7-10 minutes. Add garlic to this and saute another 2 minutes.
2. Add dry spices to onion and garlic mixture. Cook for about a minute or two.
3. Add white wine to pot and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Make sure to scrap the bottom of the pan with your utensil to get up any stuck on bits.
4. Add water, diced tomatoes, and dried bay leaf. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer and let simmer uncovered for about 10-15 minutes until the mixture is just barely thick enough to coat a spoon. Take off heat and let cool for a few minutes.
5. Remove bay leaf and transfer slightly cooled sauce to a blender. Puree until smooth (you can use an immersion blender as well but I like to use the blender in this instance).
6. After pureeing, pour through a fine mesh strainer back into the pot. Put pot over low heat.
7. Add pinch of saffron and another 1/2 Tbsp of butter to the sauce. Stir and cook over low heat until butter is melted and saffron is incorporated, about 3-5 minutes.