One Pot Wonders

One pot meals are fantastic. Bundle everything together and when all is set and done, you serve from the pot and only have one dish to clean. My kind of dinner arrangement. For such meals, I like to bring out the faithful Le Creuset Dutch oven. I have said it before and will say it again; this is unquestionably my favorite kitchen tool. I can use it for everything from braising to roasts to soups, stews and chilies. I even toasted walnuts in it once upon a time. I have begun researching a larger model. I think I need a bigger boat.

My favorite one pot suppers are those that incorporate browning your meat in an oil of choice, adding garlic and some fresh veg, a liquid of sorts and popping it in the oven for a designated time until you are ready to serve supper. The beauty of such meals is that you can mix and match accordingly. Vegetables that roast nicely like Brussel sprouts, squash of any kind, sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, new potatoes, carrots, celery, leeks, earthy mushrooms, eggplant, broccoli, beets, zucchini, parsnips, cauliflower and tomatoes are always idyllic contenders. No problem, right?

This week, I pulled some boneless chicken thighs out of the freezer. I must admit, I do not regularly buy chicken thighs. I am more of a breast or ground chicken kind of girl. I bought these organic beauties for a recipe I read in a magazine while sitting in the sauna. A close pal calls this my executive workout. Guilty as charged. Please note that the meal from the magazine has yet to materialize but soon will because these chicken thighs were divine and I plan on incorporating them in future meals with greater frequency. Usually, I prefer white meat over dark unless of course it is drumsticks and that is an entirely different ball game. A dear friend shared a recipe for said whereby you freely dust them in Hungarian paprika, salt and pepper and roast for an hour on high heat. They pair marvelously with potatoes roasted in olive oil with lots of salt. Good for a meal where you want to “cheat” but not exactly. Bonjour for sure.

As my past Sunday was a rather delinquent one, it was not until cooking time that I realized we were out of extra virgin olive oil. We were out of a lot of things including pesto, fresh herbs, almond milk. As for the oil, it is a bit shocking given that we bought a mammoth bottle not too long ago. It was late at night, we were in pajamas and I was in a serious cooking pinch. I said to Matthew, please get your things, I will drive. Matthew agreed to jump out of the car, into the store and procure said. Mission accomplished. Men can get away with wearing sweatpants better than a lady can. Anyway, I was certain this generous bottle would last longer than it did. Perhaps I am taking the Mediterranean diet platform a stretch too far. I digress.

When I make Thai stir fries, I always use coconut oil as it is outstanding for high temperate cooking. In addition to sautéing and baking, coconut oil is also wonderful for a myriad of other non-cooking applications. Rub it on dry elbows, massage it into cuticles and hands, use it as eye makeup remover, put it in your dry hair or even use it as lip balm. Very functional indeed. So, into the Le Creuset went the coconut oil. Once hot, you want to gently place your chicken in the vessel and brown it, which helps develop flavor later as it braises. 

For this medley, I opted for Brussel sprouts; I love them in any way, shape or form. They are life altering when sautéed in the pan with a dab of butter, bacon, golden raisins and Apple cider vinegar. I also like to roast them the old fashioned way with chopped garlic, rosemary and olive oil. Funny that I used to hate them. Word to the wise, never steam your green wonders. Note, the best Brussel sprouts can be found at Costco. I always buy ours at the Charlotte location. My mother, who was recently at the Boca Raton, FL location, can speak to their perfection.

I love this recipe. Thirty five minutes in the oven resulted in a marvelous, caramelized display that we spooned onto our plates. The exterior of the chicken was crisp while the inside was tender and juicy. The meal was so inviting I almost ate the chicken with my hands. I did not. The coconut oil lends dynamic but subtle flavor. I served our one pot wonder with a big salad of artisanal romaine and chopped radishes dressed with what remained from the limes. Dish yours up with whatever wets your whistle. Cheers to a simple though epicure meal.

Crisped Chicken Thighs and Brussel Sprouts

You will need:

6 boneless chicken thighs – buy the organic variety
2 TBS coconut oil
4 cloves of garlic – chopped
2 inch knob of ginger – peeled and chopped
1 tsp paprika
2 limes – the zest and juice
½ cup of chicken stock – homemade or low sodium variety
1 lb of Brussel sprouts
Kosher salt


1. Bring out your Dutch oven, turn heat to high and add coconut oil. It’s ready to rock and roll once its waxy state dissolves and glistens.

2. Gently place the chicken (which you have already salted and peppered) in. Add the lime zest and paprika at this time too. You want the skin to transform into a lovely, crispy, golden brown. Once this is complete, flip to achieve the same on the other side.

3. Add your Brussel sprouts, garlic and ginger and stir them around. You want to ensure that the Brussel sprouts glisten with coconut oil from the pot.

4. Pour in the chicken stock and squeeze the lime juice. Now transfer to your oven. I braised mine, uncovered on 425 for 35 minutes. Voila!


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