Renee Comet for USA WEEKEND
Click here for a chance to win One-Pot Wonders by Clifford A. Wright.
Say No to Slow
Many one-pot cookbooks focus on slow cookers, but Wright disagrees; he likes to check on his food periodically. “The fun of cooking is to be with the food,” he says, “to cut it, stir it, smell it.”
The Italian classic chicken cacciatore can be translated as “chicken, hunter’s style.” In this case, Wright uses potatoes and peppers, in addition to the traditional tomatoes and mushrooms.
One (Giant) Pot
The biggest pot of stew on record was made in Venezuela in a 3,963-gallon cauldron (complete with scaffolding) in 2007. It was the ultimate one-pot wonder, with literal tons of beef, chicken and vegetables — enough to feed 60,000 to 70,000 people.
Hallelujah! says the chef who has only one pan to clean after supper. Maybe author Clifford A. Wright knew his one-pot-only approach to recipes would endear him to home cooks (and their dish washers) the world over. And to his credit, he doesn’t cheat a bit — just a lone vessel is used in each recipe, be it a stewpot, a wok, a skillet, or in this case, the old reliable casserole.
Having been interested in food since he was 15, Wright honed his craft over time, even running a cooking school at one point. If he were teaching students to cook this vegetable-laden Chicken Hunter’s Style, he’d say what he always said: “It’s not brain surgery. Just cook.”
Chicken Hunter's Style
• 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs
• 1 medium onion, cut in half and then sliced
• 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup dry white wine (for an alcohol-free recipe, substitute 1/2 cup water)
• 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 1/2 pound small brown mushrooms
• 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
• 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
• 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
• 4 peperoncini chiles (Italian frying peppers), seeded and cut into strips (or substitute 1 additional red and 1 green bell pepper)
• 1 fresh rosemary sprig
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a flameproof baking casserole, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then cook the chicken thighs, skin side down, until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
Turn the chicken thighs, add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Pour in the white wine and cook until it has nearly all evaporated, about 8 minutes.
Add the potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, chiles, and rosemary sprig. Place the chicken thighs on top of the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Uncover and cook on medium until the potatoes are tender, about 1 hour. Taste and correct the seasoning and then serve.
Per serving (3 ounces cooked chicken,1 cup vegetables): 435 calories, 32g carbohydrates, 28g protein, 21g fat (5g saturated), 6g fiber, 80mg cholesterol, 538mg sodium
Yield: 4 servings