Congee is nothing more than a simple rice porridge, but man can it be comforting! It's an Asian breakfast staple, a dim sum classic, and a blank canvas to add your own flavors. Traditionally white rice is used, but sometimes I like to use brown rice for a heartier, healthier porridge with a subtle nutty flavor. Heartier vegetables such as kale, escarole, shiitakes, leeks, and even Brussels sprouts are perfect in it. One of my favorite combos is this recipe: marinated strips of beef, dried shiitake mushrooms, and garlic chips.
This green chili recipe incorporates leftover turkey with a salsa verde base containing tomatillos, serrano peppers, onions and garlic that are blasted under the broiler. It's given backbone from ancho powder, smokiness courtesy of cumin, and aromatics by way of oregano. It's then thickened with cornmeal, bolstered by white beans, and finished with all of the fixings.
Slow cooker turkey and andouille gumbo starts with sautéed veggies and a simple roux that's cooked until toasty on the stove. After broth is added it's transferred for a long simmer, one where Worcestershire sauce provides umami and depth and Louisiana-style hot sauce offers heat and tang. Meanwhile, background notes come from bay leaves and thyme, and its signature flavor arrives courtesy of smoked sausage, Cajun seasoning, and cayenne.
This easy black eyed pea stew starts with andouille sausage and pork belly cooked until browned and crisped, then gets flavored with the Holy Trinity of Cajun cuisine: onions, celery, and green bell peppers, along with some leeks and garlic for extra flavor. Tender braised kale transform this into a full-on meal, while a shot of apple cider vinegar brightens up all the flavors.
To be frank, I'm not 100% certain where this dish of tender chicken and white beans bound in a creamy, fresh green-chili sauce topped with shredded cheese comes from. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the recipe actually originated on the back of a wrapper from a can chopped green chiles. But our version is better than that. Much, much better. Tender, creamy, spicy, and bright, this is the stuff even a dyed-in-the-wool chile con carne traditionalist will dip their finger into when they think nobody is watching.
This one-skillet chicken dish starts with thighs that are seared in the pan for super crispy skin and then get finished in the oven with a flavorful cooking liquid seasoned with saffron and lemon. Red potatoes are cooked alongside the chicken so that they soak up the lemon-saffron juice and soften.
The first time I had cassoulet in its home turf it was a revelation. This loose, almost soup-like stew of beans and meat was so far removed from all versions of cassoulet I'd had in the United States, or even in other parts of France. It was a large, bubbling vat of beans and meat, covered in a crust so dark that it was almost black. Rich, meaty, and overwhelmingly simple, the main flavor was just that of the cured meat, a good stock, and beans.
Eggplants have always been a difficult vegetable for me. They come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and stripes and are surrounded by dos and don'ts. But with enough delicious recipes under your belt, it's pretty easy to overlook the post-cooking appearance and realize that all those dos and don'ts are really more suggestions than hard-and-fast rules. This recipe, which combines small Italian eggplants cooked whole in olive oil along with harissa, chickpeas, and tomatoes, is one such preparation.
A staple for breakfast and lunch in many Asian countries, congee is rice and water (or broth) cooked down into a thick porridge. Everyone does it slightly different. It can be cooked using different grains of rice, different kinds and amounts of liquid, and different cooking times. Every choice can affect the final flavor and consistency. After much trial and error, I've arrived at the ideal recipe for a congee that's silky and comforting instead of sludgy or overly heavy.
A bowl of black beans with some rice, bread, or greens is a meal in itself, but it's also a side dish to round out about any meal. The trick, if you could call it that, is to stick to dried beans that can slowly release their starch into the cooking liquid, and use a balance of aromatics to enhance their flavor.
Coming from a book with 'meat' in the title twice, Tom Mylan's chili in the The Meat Hook Meat Book is unsurprisingly brimming with a ton of meat. Okay, not a ton, but an impressive five pounds—two of beef, two of pork, and one of lamb—or 20 quarter-pounders, to put things in perspective.
Sort of like congee, but from Portugal and made with stale bread instead of rice, this deeply satisfying soup (it's really more like a porridge), is rich with garlic, olive oil, cilantro, chorizo, and a softly poached egg.
Spicy, vinegary, and flavor-packed, this quick chili recipe relies on raw Mexican-style chorizo (you can make it yourself or buy it from a store), with a few simple flavor additions, a couple of cans of beans, and a quick simmer.
Clams are a great way to get into seafood stews and curries if you aren't quite ready to take the plunge into fish, and this stew, made with chilies, ginger, turmeric, tomatoes, and coconut, is a particularly good way to enjoy them.
Ropa vieja, the classic Cuban dish of shredded stewed beef flavored with a vinegary tomato and pepper sauce, is a natural choice for the slow cooker, stewed all day and served with rice and beans.
When I'm in the mood for a big bowl of flavor-packed vegetables, this is the recipe for me. Curried quinoa with caramelized broccoli and cauliflower makes for a high-protein meal that comes together in less than 30 minutes and makes me feel great. It's a perfect weeknight dinner.
This fragrant, hearty, Thai-style chicken curry tastes like it took hours to prepare, but it cooks in a pressure cooker in just 20 minutes. Pieces of sweet kabocha squash and eggplant break down into the coconut-milk-based sauce, thickening it and adding layers of flavor.
I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to your next go-to weeknight meal, because that's what this dish has become for me. Shredded poached chicken and couscous—here flavored with curry and topped with crunchy pepitas and fresh cilantro—are all cooked in one skillet in under 30 minutes.
Doro wat is the reason I fell in love with Ethiopian food. The rich, spicy gravy, perfect for scooping up with tangy injera bread had me at the first bite. And the fall-off-the-bone chicken drumsticks and springy boiled egg never hurt either.
In this land of beef-eaters, pork stews don't get enough love. This one is an adaptation of a Greek pork and wine stew that I read in Vefa's Kitchen. Chunks of pork shoulder are slow-simmered in wine until meltingly tender and packed with flavor.