If you live in the Northeast and have gone to any kind of a store selling food in the last 48 hours, you will most definitely have noticed the crowds and that frenetic energy in the air because folks, though spring is technically only days away and it was about 70 degrees last week, we are in for a mother of a snowstorm later today and tomorrow--you know, the kind with at least a foot of snow and howling winds that make losing power a distinct possibility. Now far be it from me to complain (Cue: husband rolls his eyes) it's out of our control, so I'll just cheerfully think about the happy skiers and ski resort owners. Think clouds with silver linings, clouds with silver linings. Now generally, the upside of a snow day for me would be cooking (and also baking) up something warm and delicious but alas, I am sans-kitchen. But that doesn't mean you have to suffer too. In fact, it makes me extremely happy to live vicariously through your cooking up a big pot of something wonderful like this One-Pot Chicken with Leeks (I made this before the kitchen renovation, of course). If you're looking for a way to combat the ridiculously late and inconvenient cold weat...I know, I know, I said I wouldn't complain, I can't think of an easier or better way!
Easy?!! With all those leeks?! What is she talking about?!! I totally get it. Leeks used to be one of those veggies that intimidated me so much that I rarely used them but now I have a technique that makes cooking with them a snap! Truly, once you remove the dark green parts and the root ends, all you do is cut the leeks lengthwise, flip them over and slice them into thin half moons. Then you just toss them into the colander, rinse well with cold water and you're good to go! All that onion-y flavor with none of the tears!!
And the rest of this dish is super easy too--once you brown the chicken on both sides, all you do is add the leeks and some chicken stock back to the pot and let the leeks cook down to sweet perfection as the chicken gets meltingly tender. Put up a pot of rice or potatoes to sop up all the flavorful gravy, and dinner is served! It's so simple but so flavorful and comforting. One-pot cooking at its finest!! And very little cleanup too!!
So brave the pre-storm crowds to pick up the chicken and leeks for this snow-repelling meal and don't feel one bit of guilt while we huddle over our hot-plate pot of gruel--just kidding, my mom actually cooked a fabulous dinner the other night and we were the lucky winners of the leftovers, so we'll most likely be getting to finish those delightful morsels tonight!!
One-Pot Chicken with Leeks
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: About 1 1/2 hours (most of this is hands-free time)
- About 4 pounds bone-in chicken (I used chicken breasts)
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 large leeks
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down (you can do this in batches if you need to because you don't want to crowd the chicken) and let cook for about 8 minutes, until the chicken is well browned. DO NOT TURN THE CHICKEN UNTIL THE 8 MINUTES ARE UP! Then turn the chicken over (it should release easily) and cook on the other side for another 8 minutes, until that side too, is well browned. Transfer the chicken to a plate but do not wash the pot.
2. While the chicken is browning, prepare the leeks. Trim the dark green parts and root ends off and discard. Cut each leek in half lengthwise, turn so that the cut side is facing down and then cut into thin half moons. Place into a colander and run under cold water, making sure all the dirt and grit are gone.
3. Add leeks to the empty pot along with the chicken stock and turn the heat to high, bringing it to a boil. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Once the mixture is boiling, lower the heat so that it becomes a gentle simmer. Return the chicken to the pot, along with any juices on the plate and cover the pot with the lid that is slightly ajar so that some of the steam is able to escape. Let cook for about 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so, until the chicken is tender. Taste the broth and season with more salt and pepper if necessary and serve. This is great with rice or mashed potatoes.
Note: Recipe adapted from Small Victories by Julia Turshen. I only used chicken breasts and omitted the chives. Also, I cooked this for an extra half hour so that it would be extra tender.