I have a few quick weeknight meals to share- perfect for the busy holiday season. I was drawn to this dish because I had several beautiful leeks from my CSA share. I served it with roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts on the side.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Deb Perelman. I have saved a million fresh sauce recipes to make someday but, regretfully, seldom make one. The salsa verde added so much to this classic comfort food dish!
Because the original recipe incorporated a lot of rice, I ultimately made a second batch of chicken and sauce to serve with the leftovers. Next time, I would double the chicken (to 3 pounds) and the sauce (2 cups of herbs) from the start. The recipe below is updated for this change.
Yield: Serves 4 (1 1/2 pounds chicken) or 8 (2 1/2 to 3 pounds of chicken)
For the Chicken & Rice:
1 1/2 lbs to 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 T unsalted butter, divided
2 to 3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed until water runs clear (I used Basmati rice)
2 cups chicken stock with 3/4 cups water (or 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth)
For the Salsa Verde: (make 1/2 recipe below for 1 1/2 pounds chicken)
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets
4 large garlic cloves
2 T drained capers
crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups tender herb leaves (such as parsley, cilantro, basil and/or mint)
8 T extra-virgin olive oil
Pat the chicken thighs with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Season with salt and pepper. (My chicken thighs were very large, so I cut them in half crosswise.)
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. (I used a large, low and wide enameled cast iron pot with a glass lid.)
Add leeks and half of lemon zest, season with salt and pepper, and mix to coat leeks in butter. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are somewhat tender, about 5 minutes.
Remove lid, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and just starting to take on color, about 3 minutes.
Add rice and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes, then add broth, scraping up any browned bits.
Nestle the chicken thighs (“skin side up”) into rice mixture. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from heat.
Cut remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into small pieces and scatter over mixture. Re-cover and let sit 10 minutes.
While the chicken and rice is resting, make the salsa verde. Pulse anchovies, garlic, capers, a few pinches of red pepper flakes, and remaining lemon zest in a food processor until finely chopped.
Add herbs; process until a paste forms.
With motor running, gradually stream in oil until loosened to a thick sauce.
Add half of lemon juice; season salsa verde with salt to taste.
Drizzle remaining lemon juice over chicken and rice. Serve drizzled with salsa verde.
This is another weeknight one-pot chicken dinner. I loved the colorful and fresh topping- I would add even more next time! This dish also incorporated farro which is one of my absolute favorites. It could appropriately be served any time of year.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used sherry vinegar in the topping and modified the proportions and method. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 6) or use whole legs
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large or 3 medium leeks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fennel or coriander seeds, cracked with a mortar and pestle or the side of a chef’s knife
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, cracked with a mortar and pestle or the side of a chef’s knife
4 thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups pearled or semi-pearled farro (I used Trader Joe’s 10-minute farro)
1+ cup quartered or halved cherry or grape tomatoes or diced tomato
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
fresh lime or lemon juice, or vinegar, to taste, such as cider vinegar or sherry vinegar (I used 1-2 T sherry vinegar)
Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Season all over with salt and pepper, and set aside while preparing the leeks.
Trim roots from leeks, then cut away any wilted, yellowing or browned parts from the greens. Slice leeks in half lengthwise. Wash well under cold running water to remove any soil, then shake dry. (I soak them in a bowl of water.)
Thinly slice the leeks (including the greens) into half-moons. You should have about 6 cups. Measure out about 2 tablespoons of sliced leek whites and set them aside for garnish.
In a large skillet with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. (I used a wide and low enameled cast iron skillet.)
When the oil thins and coats the bottom of the pan, add half the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes on the first side ad 3 to 5 minutes on the second side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Stir in the leeks and a pinch of salt. Sauté until tender and golden brown, 9 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in crushed spices, thyme sprigs and tomato paste, and cook until tomato paste darkens and caramelizes, 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour in chicken stock and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
Stir in farro and 1 teaspoon salt. When the liquid comes to a simmer, nestle in the browned chicken, skin-side up; pour in any juices from the plate. Cover pan and let cook until the farro is tender and the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss together the reserved leek whites, chopped tomatoes and parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper and an acid like lemon or lime juice or vinegar. (I used sherry vinegar.) The mixture should taste tangy and bright.
Discard the thyme sprigs, and serve chicken and farro topped with the tomato mixture.
Baked rice is quick and easy to prepare and is really delicious. This baked rice dish was inspired by prasorizo, the classic Greek rice-and-leek dish. It makes a great vegetarian main dish or a phenomenal side. We ate it as a main dish with rotisserie chicken on the side. 😉 The freshly grated Parmesan really added richness to the meal.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. Almost any vegetable can be incorporated into the dish. I added my beautiful CSA Romanesco cauliflower (with its greens) as well as baby spinach. The original recipe suggests alternatively adding tomatoes, zucchini, and/or broccoli with the leeks, or arugula and/or sliced sugar snap peas after the dish is removed from the oven.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
4 to 5leeks (about 2 pounds), trimmed, white and pale green parts, cut lengthwise & sliced 1/4-inch thick
chopped tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli florets, and/or cauliflower florets, optional (I used Romanesco cauliflower florets)
1/4cup raw almonds (I used raw slivered almonds), or more, to taste
1/2teaspoon red-pepper flakes
5tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2cups uncooked white basmati rice
1(15-ounce) can white beans (such as cannellini or great Northern), drained and rinsed
2 1/2cups boiling water or stock
coarsely chopped spinach and/or arugula, or sliced sugar snap peas (I used 2 cups chopped baby spinach)
1/2cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/4cup thinly sliced or chopped basil, chives, mint or fennel fronds, plus more for serving
Heat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
Soak sliced leeks in a bowl of water, remove with a slotted spoon or spider, then shake or pat dry.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel 1-inch-thick strips of lemon zest, then cut the lemon in half. Cut one half into four wedges and reserve the other half.
In a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, combine the leeks, lemon zest strips, almonds, red-pepper flakes and olive oil. (I used an enameled cast iron baking dish.)
If adding chopped tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, and/or cauliflower, add to the pan with the leeks. (I added Romanesco cauliflower florets.)
Season generously with salt and pepper, and arrange in an even layer. Roast until the leeks start to caramelize, about 20 minutes.
Remove and finely chop the lemon zest strips, then stir the zest back into the leek mixture. Arrange in an even layer.
Sprinkle the rice evenly over the leeks, then top with the beans and 1 teaspoon salt.
Add the boiling water or stock, then seal the pan tightly with foil.
Bake until the rice is tender, 20 to 22 minutes.
Remove from the oven, and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
If adding spinach and/or arugula, or sliced sugar snap peas, add them in at this time. (I added the Romanesco cauliflower greens, ribs removed and finely sliced, as well as 2 cups of baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped.)
Squeeze the lemon half over the rice, then stir in Parmesan and herbs.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with lemon wedges, and more Parmesan and herbs, as desired.
I love a cheesy baked pasta loaded with greens. 🙂 This one was bursting with broccoli rabe (of which I am a huge fan) but it could have easily incorporated broccoli, baby broccolini, or other greens such as collards, spinach, and/or kale instead. We ate it with garlic bread and green salad. Great.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Alison Roman. I was a little bit concerned about the spice level after adding an entire teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, but the finished result was perfect. I baked the casserole in a Dutch oven and the cheesy bread crumb topping formed an incredible crispy crust over the entire top. I may consider adding garlic next time, but it was amazing without it!
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
1 lb rigatoni, ziti, or fusilli
8 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced into 1/4-inch half-moons
minced garlic, optional
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
2 bunches broccoli rabe or 3 bunches baby broccolini, trimmed, coarsely chopped (I cut the stems into 2-inch pieces and the leaves into 3-inch pieces)(see alternate green vegetable alternatives above)
1 cup heavy cream
12 oz sharp white cheddar, coarsely grated (about 3 cups), divided (I used 10 oz extra-sharp white cheddar and 2 oz white Beecher’s Flagship Handmade Cheese)
1 bunch chives, chopped, divided (about 1 cup)
1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs or panko (I used a blend of the two)
Preheat oven to 425°, preferably on convection.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add a generous amount of salt. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking together, until just barely al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
While the pasta is cooking, heat 5 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Add leeks and season with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened (but not so much that they don’t have any texture left) and starting to brown, 5–10 minutes.
Add red pepper flakes and garlic, if using, to leeks and stir to incorporate.
Add broccoli rabe by the handful, stirring to combine and allowing each addition to wilt before adding more.
Season with salt and black pepper.
Once all of the broccoli rabe has been added, cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green and wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside.
Add pasta to reserved broccoli rabe mixture along with cream, three-quarters of the cheese, 2/3 of the chopped chives, and reserved pasta cooking liquid; mix well. Season with salt and black pepper and add more red pepper flakes if you prefer more heat (keep in mind that the saltiness and spiciness will increase as the pasta bakes).(I didn’t add any additional heat.)
Transfer pasta to a 3-qt. baking dish (or, if your Dutch oven is ovenproof, just leave it in there). (I scraped down the sides of my Dutch oven and kept the mixture in it to bake- less dishes!)
Toss breadcrumbs and remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a medium bowl until coated; season with salt and black pepper.
Scatter breadcrumbs over pasta, then sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese.
Bake until pasta is bubbling across the entire surface and breadcrumbs are deep golden brown, 22 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Scatter remaining chives over pasta just before serving.
Before I was introduced to this recipe, I thought that borscht was always a deep red, beet-based soup. I now know that borscht means “sour.” The sour tang in this soup comes from soaking sourdough bread in the broth, puréeing it, and incorporating it into the finished soup, along with crème fraiche which is stirred in just prior to serving.
I made my first homemade borscht (the beet-based version) for Christmas Eve, and my husband purchased pierogies at a Polish store for the same meal. Luckily, I saw this recipe and he was also able to buy house-made garlic kielbasa for this soup. The quality of the kielbasa is very important because it is used to create the broth for the base of this soup.
This recipe is from The New York Times, contributed by Gabrielle Hamilton. I followed the recipe closely, but may decrease the amount of butter next time- I’m not sure it was necessary! (but it was quite delicious 😉 ) It was a creamy, indulgent, and delicious upgrade of potato-leek soup. Fabulous cold-weather comfort food.
Yield: 5 quarts, Serves 10 to 12
2 1/4 to 2 1/2pounds full horseshoe link of high-quality smoked kielbasa
5fresh bay leaves
3pounds leeks (6 long, lively leeks)
3pounds russet potatoes (about 4)
1cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1large yellow onion, small-diced (about 2 cups)
6garlic cloves, minced
1(4-ounce) hunk of dense, very sour sourdough bread, crusts removed
Cut kielbasa into 4 to 5 equal lengths, and cover in a pot with 3 quarts cold water and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then let gently boil for 25 minutes more until swollen and cooked through and beads of oil have formed.
Pull sausages from the now smoky and seasoned water, and set aside. Save that water!
While the kielbasa simmers, split leeks in half lengthwise, then soak and rinse in cold water to thoroughly remove all sand. Slice leeks into 3/8-inch half-moons from whites to dark greens, as far up as is viable.
Peel potatoes, trim all four sides to stabilize on the cutting board and trim both ends to “box” the potato. Save the scraps. Cut the boxes into large cubes, about 3/4-inch square.
In a sturdy soup pot (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven), melt 1 stick butter over low heat until foaming.
Stir in onion, garlic and a healthy pinch of salt, and let them sweat for a full 5 minutes until translucent.
Stir in remaining butter, the sliced leeks and another generous pinch of salt, then let sweat slowly over low heat for 8 minutes until moist, bright green and glossy.
Add potato scraps, the cube of bread and half the kielbasa boiling liquid. Let gently simmer 10 minutes while the potato scrap softens and the bread hunk becomes flabby and swollen. If you need to increase the heat to get a little simmer going, do so.
Meanwhile, slice kielbasa in half lengthwise. Place two pieces back into the soup pot as is, and then slice the remaining 6 pieces into very thin, 1/8-inch half-moons, and set aside.
Retrieve the soggy lump of sourdough bread with a slotted spoon, and don’t worry if you also get a few bits of leek or onion or whatever is floating in the soup when you pull it out. Also remove about 1 cup of liquid, and set aside.
Add potato cubes and the rest of the kielbasa liquid to the pot. Add another pinch of salt and half the black pepper. Let it come back to temperature, and then to simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 25 minutes more.
Using either a stick blender or a traditional blender, purée the sodden hunk of bread until foamy, using half of the liquid you pulled in Step 10, if needed. (I used a Vitamix.) Stir this back into the soup pot once the potatoes are cooked through.
Slice the reserved kielbasa and return all of the kielbasa to the pot.
Whisk the crème fraîche with remaining 1/2 cup of the hot reserved liquid; stir mixture into the soup.
Stir in the chopped dill and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon pepper. Serve very hot.
More weeknight comfort food! This dish uses rotisserie chicken meat and store-bought gnocchi as shortcuts to create a close match to traditional chicken and dumplings. It was quick to prepare and very tasty.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Alexa Weibel. I incorporated my CSA parsley, leeks, carrots, and collard greens. In addition, this soup could easily gobble up many other vegetables such as frozen peas, fennel, squash, parsnips, or mushrooms. We ate it with a green salad. Great.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
3tablespoons unsalted butter
4 to 5 cups 1/2-inch ribbons of collard greens or kale, ribs removed (optional)
2medium carrots or 8 ounces butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1medium leek, trimmed, white and pale green portion halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 1 cup) (can substitute 1 large shallot, if desired)
1(16 to 18-ounce) package fresh or shelf-stable store-bought gnocchi (I used Trader Joe’s 17.6-ounce gnocchi)
1/2 store-bought rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded, meat torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 to 3 cups shredded meat)
fresh tarragon, parsley or dill, for garnish
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Add the carrots, leek, celery, garlic, rosemary, thyme and poultry seasoning, if using. Incorporate any additional vegetables at this time as well; I added sliced collard greens. Season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with the flour, then cook, stirring, 2 minutes. (This cooks the flour to soften its raw flavor.)
Gradually stir in the stock and cream, and bring to a boil over medium-high to high heat.
Once the mixture boils, stir in the gnocchi, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until gnocchi and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the chicken in the last couple of minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide among bowls and top with fresh tarragon or parsley and more black pepper, if desired.
This is a healthy and hearty vegetarian stew. We ate it over brown Basmati rice with steamed spinach on the side. I loved that it was loaded with warm spices.
The recipe was adapted from Brooklyn’s Kos Kaffe via The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used farro instead of barley, used canned beans, and increased the amount of garlic. I also reduced the amount water to achieve a thicker consistency. Nice.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10
For the Baharat Spice Blend:
1 T sweet paprika
1/2 T ground coriander
1/2 T ground cumin
1/2 T ground turmeric
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground allspice
For the Stew:
5 T extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
2 leeks, white and green parts, diced
1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated
1 cup finely diced fennel, fronds reserved (1 medium or 1/2 large fennel bulb)
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons baharat spice blend
1 small (or 1/2 large) cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup pearled barley or farro (I used Trader Joe’s 10 minute farro)
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
large pinch saffron, crumbled
4 cups cooked beans or chickpeas (I used 2 15-oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (1/2 large or 1 small squash)
3/4 cup peeled and diced turnip (1 medium)
1/2 cup red lentils
plain yogurt, for serving (I used Greek yogurt)
aleppo pepper or hot paprika, for serving
brown Basmati rice, for serving, optional
Make the baharat spice blend. Set aside.
Cut leeks in half, slice into half moons, and soak in a bowl of water. Drain and finely chop in a food processor.
In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and cook leeks until they begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
While the leeks cook, finely chop the cilantro stems, fennel and garlic in a food processor.
Stir the cilantro stems into the pot, along with diced fennel and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in baharat, cinnamon and tomato paste, and cook until paste begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes.
Stir in broth, 1 cup water (water can be omitted for a thicker consistency), the barley/farro, and the salt. Bring to a gentle boil, stir in saffron, if using, and reduce heat to medium. (The original recipe uses 3 cups of water- increase for a more soup-like consistency, as desired.)
Simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. (I simmered the stew for 20 minutes because I used par-cooked farro.)
Stir in beans, squash, turnip and lentils; cook until barley/farro and vegetables are tender, about another 30 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Remove cinnamon stick.
Ladle stew into bowls. (I served it over rice.)
Spoon a dollop of yogurt on top and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with cilantro leaves, fennel fronds and Aleppo pepper or paprika, as desired.