one pot

Borscht (Hot)

Posted on January 31, 2012. Filed under: beet, favorite, one pot, recipe, soup, vegetable, vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

More beets.

Beet obsession + cold weather + potluck = Borscht. It’s a logical conclusion. But what is this thing they (Eastern Europeans) call borscht? I remember a time in my youth when I met my Grandpa Benji and Uncle Kenny at Yonah Schimmel’s (Lower East Side, Manhattan) for knishes, and was taken aback when I saw them both slurping on a cold, thick, magenta brew topped with sour cream. Gross?

It took some time to come around the idea that this could be something edible. It just looked so strange and horrible. I was wrong. It’s not just edible, it’s delicious. They were sipping on cold borscht. But it’s winter, so I was going to go in the other direction—hot borscht.

Basically, borscht is a hodgepodge soup dish that contains beets and whatever else you have leftover. It’s believed that borscht originated in the Ukraine, but the exact history is undocumented. The wonderful thing about undocumented recipes is that it leaves you a lot of room to play. Just about every cold-weather, beet-eating culture has its own version of borscht, and even those recipes vary from person to person. So embrace the spirt, and make your borscht with whatever you have in your kitchen (plus beets).

Peel and halve 1.5 Pounds Beets
Boil in 8 cups water for 20 minutes.
Remove beets, SAVE the water.

While beets are cooking, add to the beet water:
3 Carrots, cubed
2 Stalks Celery, cubed
2 Apples, cubed
3-4 Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed
1 Parsnip, cubed
1 Onion, sliced
1 Small Head Cabbage, shredded

Add additional water* to cover.
Add salt, pepper and 1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar

Once beets are cool enough to touch, slice them into matchsticks and add them back to the pot.

Simmer for one hour.

Finish with 1/4 Cup Chopped Dill.

Top with Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt.

*As written, this recipe is vegan. You can add chicken stock instead of water if you’d like to. You can also make a beefy version of borscht. So much variety. 

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Vegan Soup. What?

Posted on November 11, 2010. Filed under: one pot, recipe, soup, vegetable | Tags: , , , , , |

It’s possible that the world has gone mad. I made a vegan soup, and I liked it. Two years ago, I never would have thought I’d be boiling a big pot of kale and bulgar. Or making a beet & quinoa soup, either. Of course, two years ago I never thought I’d be living in Pittsburgh going to grad school to get a master’s degree in Food Nerdery, so there you go.

This is quite easy to make. Dice a few things, boil in liquid for a little while. You can do it. And you should. It’s delicious, and you’ll make a vegan happy if you do.

3 Carrots
3 Cloves Garlic
2 Celery Stalks
1 Onion
1 Parsnip

Add 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil to a medium-hot pan, and then stir in the diced vegetables.

Wash, and then cut into strips:
1 Pound Kale

Add the kale to the pan, as well as:
2 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 Cup Water
2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Dried Sage
2 Tsp. Dried Thyme
1 Tsp. Celery Seed
1 Tsp. Curry Powder
1/2 Tsp. Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper (optional)

Simmer for 30 minutes, and then add:
1/2 Cup Bulgar

Simmer for 45 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil. Impress a vegan.

You can make pork chops another day.

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Pepper Steak

Posted on March 22, 2010. Filed under: beef, freeze, in advance, one pot, recipe | Tags: , , , , , |

Baked ziti was the first thing I learned how to cook. This was the second. The dish has evolved a bit since the dorm room days (where it was cooked in a microwave…), but the simple basics remain the same–great flavor from just a few ingredients, and not a lot of dishes to do after.

Slice into thin strips:
Two Pounds Bottom Round
Brown the beef.

Drain excess fat.
Two Jars Tomato Sauce
One Onion, sliced
Two Green Bell Peppers, sliced
4-5 Cloves Garlic, smashed
One Tablespoon Italian Seasoning

Simmer 45 minutes.
Serve over noodles.
*If you freeze the beef for 45 minutes before slicing, you’ll have an easier time making thin slices.
*This is one of those dishes that’s even better the day after, makes a great alternative to a meatball sandwich.  Additionally, you can make a whole lot and freeze it.  Oh yeah!
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Brunswick Stew

Posted on February 11, 2010. Filed under: one pot, recipe, simmer | Tags: , , |

I have no idea how this wonderful creation avoided my radar for so long. I love southern food, and this stew is a perfect example of why I love it so much.

Brunswick Stew has been cooked in Virginia for at least 150 years, though it’s quite likely versions of the recipe go back at least another 100 years. Brunswick County in Georgia also lays claim to the recipe, but historical evidence seems to support Virginia.

Originally cooked with squirrel, the thick stew is now made primarily with chicken- rabbit and pork often being added as well. Like most traditional dishes, everybody and their uncle has their own version, so feel free to experiment. You can use my recipe, or you can work via poem:

First catch your chicken, clean and cut them.
And in an iron pot you put them
And water nearly to the top
And in it salt and pepper drop
Boil slowly.  Your tomatoes peel;
Put in a shin or so of veal;
And for the flavor, bear in mind,
A chunk of middling with the rind.
Next some onions you throw in,
The young and tender skin,
And butter beans do not forget;
And what is more important yet;
The corn, but do not be too fast,
For you must cut and add it last;
For better than the flour you’ll find it’ll do
To give some thickness to the stew.
Some lemon peel cut very thin
May now be added and stirred in,
And err it’s taken from the fire,
Give it a dash of Worcestershire,
And soon you’ll hear it’s praises ring,
This is a dish fit for a King.
–Virginia S. Woodroof, 1930
Here’s what I did: Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes:1 1/2 Cups Diced Onion 1 Cup Diced Carrots1/2 Cup Diced Celery Add:One Whole Chicken, cooked and shredded1 Pound Smoked Pork Shoulder, shredded1 1/2 Cups Crushed Tomato1 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock1/4 Cup Whiskey 1 Cup Diced Potato2 Teaspoons Dried Thyme2 Teaspoons Black Pepper1 Teaspoon Hot Sauce1 Teaspoon Chili Powder1 Teaspoon Mustard Powder2 Bay Leaves Simmer 45 minutes.Add:1 Cup Frozen Sweet Corn1 Cup Frozen Lima Beans1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce Simmer 15 minutes.Serve. *You have options with the chicken and pork. You could boil the chicken first, making a chicken soup that you use later for the dish. Or you can oven roast it. Or smoke it. Or you can buy a pre-cooked one. Same with the pork- I was able to find a wonderfully smoked pork shoulder. This saves a lot of time!

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Beef & Barley Soup

Posted on October 22, 2009. Filed under: one pot, recipe, simmer, soup |

Poor barley has somehow gotten the short shrift in the grain world. This is sad, because barley is totally terrific- chewy, nutty, and wholesome. It’s also really easy to prepare- you can simply boil one cup of barley in three cups of water for 25 minutes and you’re good to go. Better yet, you can make my amazing beef & barley soup, and see first hand how tasty this little grain is.

Begin by browning:
2 Lbs. Chuck or Top Round, cut into 2 inch squares

Remove from pan.
4 Carrots, quartered
3 Ribs Celery, halved
1 Large Onion, diced into large chunks
1 Parsnip, halved
4 Whole Cloves Garlic

Cook veggies for 5 minutes, and then return beef to pot.
2 Cups Beef Stock
1 Cup Purred Tomatoes
1 Cup Stout Beer
2 Tablespoons Dried Italian Seasoning

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low.
Cook 1.5 hours.

Remove as much of the celery, parsnip, and garlic as you can.
Wash and then add:
3/4 Cup Barley

Cook for one more hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

*To shorten final cooking time, you can start the barley in a separate pot. Cook it for the first 30 minutes in this pot, drain, and cook the final 30 minutes in the soup pot.

*You don’t have to remove the celery, parsnip, and garlic. I like to do so because I feel it helps the final texture of the soup.

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Turkey Stew

Posted on October 14, 2009. Filed under: one pot, poultry, recipe |

It gets “cold” and rainy in Los Angeles just a few times per year. Today is one of those days. So I decided to try something new, and make a turkey stew. Had some fun playing with flavors, especially the apple notes. It turned out pretty terrific.

Cut into good-sized chunks, and then brown:
2 Pounds Turkey, white, dark, or mixed

Remove turkey from pot.
Immediately add:
3 Carrots, quartered
3 Ribs Celery, quartered
1 Onion, quartered
2 Green Apples, quartered (remove core!)
3 Cloves Garlic, smashed
Pinch Salt

Roast veggies for 4-5 minutes, and then remove from pot.

2 Tablespoons Butter or Chicken Fat
2 Tablespoons Flour

Cook fat & flour for 3 minutes. Whisk constantly.

Whisk in:
1.5 Cups Chicken Stock
1/2 Cup White Wine
1/2 Cup Apple Juice
1/2 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Dried Thyme
1 Tablespoon Dried Sage

Allow the liquid to come to boil.
Return turkey and vegetables to the pot.

Cover, and transfer to a 300 degree oven.
Cook 1.5 hours.

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Easy Meat Sauce

Posted on May 5, 2009. Filed under: easy, one pot, pasta, recipe |

This is an easy to make, stripped down meat sauce. Not a lot of hard work involved in this one!

28oz. Can Ground Tomato
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Tsp. Onion Powder
1 Tsp. Sugar
1 Tsp. Dried Oregano or Italian Seasoning

1Lb. Ground Beef
15% Fat, Grass-fed preferred
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Onion Powder

Season ground beef. Brown for about 3 minutes in a large pan. Drain fat, add remaining ingredients. Simmer at least 30 minutes, preferably for one hour.
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Posted on April 9, 2009. Filed under: one pot, recipe |

Passover is not my favorite holiday. I’m positively incapable of going 8 days without any kind of leavened bread. In a strange gesture of dedication, I try to live through the entire holiday without eating any sweet sweet forbidden pork. Generally, I fail. (But, in my defence, it’s usually by mistake. Like the one year I went to a friend’s house for Easter and realized the extent of my failure only after I had eaten a ham sandwich. I ham sandwich that was made AFTER the Easter dinner.)

What I do like about Passover, though, is the feast tradition. So, last night I made a little bit of awesome. The highlight of the meal was this brisket.

1 Brisket
1 Cup Beef Stock
1 Cup Water
2 Onions, sliced
2 Tsp. Sherry Vinegar
1/8 Cup Crushed Tomatoes
Fresh Thyme & Sage

Season brisket with salt & pepper, then brown both sides. Remove from pan, deglaze with water & stock. Add remaining ingredients, return brisket to pan. Bring everything to a boil, cover, and then transfer to a 300 degree oven. Cook for three hours.

Allow brisket to cool for about 20 minutes, then slice against the grain of the meat. Strain cooking liquid, and serve as sauce.

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Posted on February 17, 2009. Filed under: beef, one pot, recipe |

With all the talk of fresh and seasonal these days, you might forget that it’s winter.  Fresh and winter don’t exactly go hand in hand.  Is it possible to be preserved and seasonal?

Chili is the perfect vessel for our experiment.  It’s a cowboy dish.  Close your eyes.  Picture a group of cowboys searching the fields for perfect leaves of sage and delicate edible flowers.  If you’ve ever seen a cowboy movie, I bet you a have pretty silly picture in your mind’s eye right now.  The great cowboy cooks of yesterday traveled with bags of dried herbs & spices, so that’s what we’re going to do too.

If you feel like being purely preserved, you could use beef jerky as your protein, though I wouldn’t recommend it.  (If you do, use less salt!)  I would encourage using grass fed beef.  Not only does it taste better, but you’ll also be keeping the cowboy spirit.  Cowboys might not have spent hours searching for the most beautiful sprig of rosemary, but they didn’t feed their cows corn, either!

They say a great chili cook never reveals his secrets.  Well, not exactly, at least.  So all you get is a list.  Since I’m a nice guy, I’ll give you a little help; ingredients are listed by the amount I used, & I didn’t use more than two tablespoons of anything.

2 Lbs. Grass Fed Ground Beef

1 32oz. Can Ground Tomato


Chili Powder

Crushed Ancho Chili

Cocoa Chili Blend

Garlic Powder


Onion Powder

Black Pepper

Italian Seasoning

Ground Sage

Bay Leaves

Worcestershire Sauce


The Kitchen Sink

Brown beef & remove excess fat.  Add half your spice mix, and cook one minute.  Add tomato and remaining spice mix. Cook at least 45 minutes, up to 3 hours.  Stir occasionally. 

*It’s best to slowly build the flavor of the chili. Start with less spice than you think you need, then add as necessary. 

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Chicken Soup (Of the Jews)

Posted on February 10, 2009. Filed under: one pot, poultry, soul, soup |

I hadn’t been planning on posting two recipes in a row, but I have a feeling the cold spell won’t last.  Yup, it’s actually cold enough in Los Angeles to make soup.  (Note: It is NOT cold enough to wear a parka.  If you are an Angeleno who breaks out the mittens and scarves when the temperature drops below 65, please email me.  We’re going to take a little field trip.  To Canada.)
I thought this recipe was pretty timeless, but, this time around, I actually found a way to improve it.  Amazing.
1 Big Old Chicken
5 Carrots
5 Stalks Celery, including leaves
1 Onion
2 Parsnips
1 Turnip
Big old chicken?  Indeed.  The older the bird, the more flavor in the bones.  So look for a chicken labeled ‘roaster’.
Rinse the chicken.  Place it in a large stock pot, and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, and let the scum rise to the top.  Remove chicken, and rinse both the bird and the pot.  Return the chicken, add remaining ingredients.  Cover with more cold water.
Simmer for about 4 hours.  Simmer, my friends, not boil.  Strain broth.  Save the chicken and carrots, they’re good eating.  Compost the rest.
If you want a really clear broth, you can return the strained soup to the pan, and add two lightly beaten egg whites. Allow to boil for a few minutes, and the extra junk will be picked up by the congealing protein in the egg.  Strain this through a cheese cloth.  The result will be a nice clear broth.  For me, the work/flavor/beauty ratio favors work waaaay to much to make this worthwhile.  But, if this sort of thing matters to you, do it!
Now for something special: Right before serving, I chopped a small handful of celery leaves and added them to the soup.  Balls.  I enjoyed this much more than adding chopped dill, which is the traditional garnish.
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