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One-Pot Dishes

Light and flavorful recipes

Braised Chicken Thighs with Vegetable Hash


This is the right season for one-pot dishes — those wonderful, homey concoctions that combine disparate flavors into one harmonious whole. Often they simmer for hours on the stove, fogging the windows, filling the warm kitchen with delicious aromas and arousing our appetites. Just as often they are made with no thought to how many calories and how much fat they contain. That doesn’t have to be the case.

This month’s recipes are heavy on vegetables, light on added fat and created with an eye toward reducing calories. They provide the same satisfaction and sense of fullness as heavier versions without any loss of flavor.

The most down-home of the recipes is the one for turnips and turnip greens, but cooked with smoked turkey necks in place of fatty pork. For some, the best part of the dish is the pot liquor (or “likker”), the liquid that remains at the bottom of the pot and the bowl. It has taken on the flavors of all the ingredients and is the essence of the dish. Some even think it has medicinal properties. The pot liquor can be enjoyed on its own, but traditionally Southerners have combined it with cornbread.

Other recipes are less traditional, employing ingredients such as kale, chickpeas, winter squash, rutabagas and edamame. For all the recipes, traditional or not, the actual time spent on preparation or tending the pot is minimal. Cooking times vary, but most of the time the dish simmers away unattended.



Braised Chicken Thighs with Vegetable Hash

Makes 4 Servings

Many people prefer chicken thighs to any other part of the bird because of their flavor. Remove the skin, cut away any visible fat and they are still flavorful, but more healthful.

1     onion, chopped
2     stalks celery, chopped
4     carrots, peeled and sliced
4     parsnips, peeled and sliced
2     medium sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered and sliced
4     chicken thighs Cajun/Creole seasoning
2     tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1     cup chicken stock or broth coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼     cup chopped green onion tops

Prepare vegetables, combine in a bowl and set aside. Remove skin from chicken thighs and cut away any visible fat. Season chicken generously with Cajun/Creole seasoning. Heat oil in heavy casserole and brown chicken thighs on both sides. Add chicken stock or broth. Add vegetables. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped green onion tops.



Turnips, Turnip Greens and Smoked Turkey Necks
Mild white turnips have become the most readily available variety these days, but they don’t pack the flavor of purple tops. Find some purple top turnips for this robust dish.


Turnips, Turnip Greens and Smoked Turkey Necks

Makes 4 Servings

We do love our greens in Acadiana and throughout the South. Usually they’re cooked with ham hocks, salt pork or some other form of fatty pork. Smoked turkey necks are a great alternative; the result is so good you won’t miss the fat.

2     pounds smoked turkey necks
4     cups water or chicken stock
1     teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1     head garlic
2     bunches turnip greens
2     large purple top turnips coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
    hot pepper vinegar
    cornbread (recipe below)

In a large heavy pot or casserole, combine turkey necks, water or stock and crushed red pepper. Separate garlic cloves and crush each clove with the side of a chef’s knife. Remove skins and add garlic cloves to pot. Bring pot to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until turkey necks are tender, about 2 hours.
Chop and wash turnip greens and add to the pot. Peel, quarter and slice turnips. Add to the pot. Cover and simmer until greens and turnips are tender, about 30-45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in large, shallow bowls with hot pepper vinegar and cornbread.



Skillet Cornbread

Makes 4 or More Servings

Place a 12-inch cast-iron skillet in oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

Place 1½ cups cornmeal, preferably stone ground, ½ cup flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar in mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add 2 eggs (lightly beaten) and 1½ cups milk and stir to combine. Add 4  tablespoons butter to hot skillet. When butter has melted, remove skillet from oven, pour melted butter into batter and stir to combine. Pour batter into hot skillet and return to oven. Bake until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.



Spicy Kale, Chickpea, Potato and Squash Stew
I always washed greens before chopping them until I found that it’s much more efficient to chop them and then wash them. This is not the best procedure for greens that still have dirt or mud clinging to them, but most greens we buy these days have already been rinsed.



Spicy Kale, Chickpea, Potato and Squash Stew

Makes 4 Servings

Talk about nutritious, kale, chickpeas and winter squash are a righteous combination. Chipotle chile pepper provides both spice and smoke to round out the dish.

1     tablespoon olive oil
1     medium onion, chopped
2     cloves garlic, minced
5     cups chicken stock or broth
4     cups chopped kale, packed
1     (15.5 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1     medium potato, peeled and sliced
3     cups butternut squash, cut into ½-inch cubes
    coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper
    chipotle chile pepper

In a large heavy pot, combine oil, onions and garlic and simmer until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock or broth. Strip kale from stems, chop and wash to yield 4 packed cups. Add to pot. Drain and rinse chickpeas and add to pot. Peel and slice potato and add to pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until kale is tender, about 30 minutes. Add squash and simmer until squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and chipotle chile pepper.


Beef and Vegetable Soup
Other vegetables can be added or substituted, depending on preference and availability. White potatoes, cabbage, corn and frozen green peas are some possibilities.



Beef and Vegetable Soup

Makes 4 Servings

This version of vegetable soup contains a few ingredients that don’t often make an appearance in the dish — rutabaga and sweet potato, as well as edamame, which are immature soybeans. Shelled and frozen edamame, high in protein, fiber and micronutrients, are available in many supermarkets.

1     pound beef shank, bone-in
7     cups water
1     bay leaf
1     medium onion, chopped
1     stalk celery, chopped
1     rutabaga, peeled and cut into small cubes
3     carrots, peeled and sliced
1     medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1     cup diced tomatoes
1½     cups shelled edamame
1     teaspoon dried thyme leaves
    coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine beef and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and skim the surface. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until beef is tender, about 1 hour. Remove shanks, trim off fat and gristle, cut meat into small pieces and return to pot. Add all vegetables and simmer until tender. Skim fat from surface. Add thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper.



Stir-Fry Shrimp with Onions, Bell Peppers and Garlic

Makes 4 Servings

In a wok or large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on high heat; add 2 large onions (chopped), 1 large red bell pepper (chopped), 1 large yellow bell pepper (chopped) and 4 cloves garlic (minced). Cook, stirring constantly, until vegetables begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add ½ cup dry white wine and 1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined) and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until shrimp turn pink, about 3-5 minutes, depending on size of shrimp. Season to taste with Cajun/Creole seasoning.



Stir-Fry Shrimp with Onions, Bell Peppers and Garlic
For a more healthful dish, serve over quinoa in place of rice.




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