I’m happy to announce that my new cookbook, Weeknight Fresh and Fast, is now available. It can be found exclusively at Williams-Sonoma stores this month and February, and then in March it will also be in bookstores. It can be preordered on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, for March shipment.
The recipes are inspired by my weekly trips to farmers’ markets, and reflect the way I cook at home: lots of fresh veggies, small amounts of olive oil, vivid flavor. Many of the recipes are for complete meals, or I offer suggestions for quick ways to round out the plate. I had great fun creating the food for the book, and we ate well during the months I worked on it.
As a preview, here is a recipe for a robust chicken braise. It makes a perfect dinner during the cold snap we are experiencing. I created the dish last winter, with produce I found at the Topanga farmers’ market. Of course, the squash and turnips are also available at every grocery store. I spooned the lusty chicken and vegetables over rice, and then enjoyed the leftovers on another night with crusty bread, to soak up the richly flavored juices.
Chicken with Squash, Turnips, and Shiitakes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1¼ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
- 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½ inch pieces
- 2 bunches small turnips, unpeeled, cut into ½ -inch pieces, greens reserved
- 1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon low sodium chicken broth, preferably organic
- ½ pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- In a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and brown, about 1½ minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium; add the onion and sage, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and turnips, and stir to coat with oil. Add 1½ cups of the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Chop the greens from 1 bunch of the turnips (reserve the remainder for another use).
- Add the mushrooms and chopped turnip greens to the chicken. Cover and simmer until the greens wilt, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, place the cornstarch; gradually add the remaining 1 tablespoon chicken broth, mixing until smooth. Add to the chicken mixture, mix it in, cover, and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve right away.
Food photo by Kate Sears