These are meals that are made entirely in a single pot, which cuts down considerably on the monstrous chore of having to clean up after cooking dinner.
Another advantage is that they often are quite good, presumably because the flavors blend organically together. Sometimes they are even better than quite good. And occasionally they are absolutely spectacular.
Yield: 6-8 servings.
• 4 pounds boneless beef chuck-eye roast, pulled apart at seams, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch pieces
• 2 teaspoons table salt, divided
• 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, rinsed
• 1/3 cup sweet paprika
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar, divided
• 3 pounds onions, chopped fine
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1-inch thick
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 cup beef broth
• 1 (12-ounce) package egg noodles, optional
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle beef with 1 teaspoon salt. Process red peppers, paprika, tomato paste and 2 teaspoons of the vinegar in food processor until smooth, 1-2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
2. Combine onions, oil and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions soften but have not yet begun to brown, 8-10 minutes.
3. Stir in pepper mixture and cook, uncovered, until onions begin to stick to bottom of pot, about 2 minutes. Stir in beef, carrots and bay leaf and use rubber spatula to scrape down sides of pot. Cover, transfer to oven and cook until beef is almost tender and surface of liquid is ½ inch below top of meat, 2-2½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
4. Stir in broth, if needed, until surface of liquid measures ¼ inch from top of meat. Cover and continue to cook until beef is tender, about 30 minutes.
5. Remove pot from oven and discard bay leaf. Using wide, shallow spoon, skim excess fat from surface of stew. Adjust consistency with more hot broth as needed. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. If desired, prepare noodles according to package directions and serve goulash over noodles.
Easy Chicken, Spinach and Artichoke Pot Pie
Yield: 4 servings.
• 1¼ pounds (20 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
• 1 package Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs cheese
• 1 cup jarred or canned whole artichoke hearts, halved
• 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
• ¾ cup chicken broth
• ½ cup heavy cream
• ¼ cup capers, rinsed
• 1 tablespoon Wondra flour
• 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thin
• 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
• 1/8 teaspoon table salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 1 (9½-by-9-inch) sheet puff pastry, thawed
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 8-by-8-inch baking dish or 9-inch skillet. Combine spinach, Boursin, artichokes, carrots, broth, cream, capers and Wondra in a bowl, then transfer to prepared dish or pan.
2. Toss chicken with lemon zest, salt and pepper and spread in even layer over the spinach mixture. Cut puff pastry to fit over dish or pan and place over top of chicken. Cut 4 (2-inch) slits in center of dough, then brush dough with egg mixture.
3. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 30-35 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
Fried Eggs with Parmesean and Potato Roesti
Yield: 4 servings.
• 2½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and shredded
• 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
• 1¼ teaspoons table salt, divided
• 1/8 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon pepper, divided
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
• 8 large eggs
• 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
• 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)
1. Place potatoes in a large bowl and fill with cold water. Swirl to remove excess starch, then drain, leaving potatoes in colander.
2. Wipe bowl dry. Place 1/3 of potatoes in center of a dish towel or paper towels. Gather towel ends and twist tightly to squeeze out moisture. Transfer potatoes to now-empty bowl and repeat process with remaining potatoes in 2 batches. Sprinkle cornstarch, ¾ teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper over potatoes. Toss ingredients until blended.
3. Melt 2½ tablespoons of butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add potato mixture and spread into even layer. Cover and cook for 6 minutes. Uncover and, using spatula, gently press potatoes down to form round cake. Cook, occasionally pressing on potatoes, until bottom is golden brown, 8-10 minutes.
4. Loosen roesti and slide onto large plate. Add 2½ tablespoons butter to skillet and swirl to coat. Invert roesti onto second plate and slide roesti, browned side up, back into skillet. Cook, occasionally pressing down on roesti, until bottom is well browned, 8-10 minutes. Transfer roesti to cutting board and let cool. Wipe skillet clean.
5. Crack eggs into two small bowls, 4 eggs per bowl, and sprinkle with remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in
now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to skillet and swirl to coat. Pour 1 bowl of eggs in 1 side of pan and second bowl of eggs in other side. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
6. Remove skillet from heat and let sit, covered, 2 minutes for runny yolks, 3 minutes for soft but set yolks and 4 minutes for medium-set yolks. Slide eggs onto roesti, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and season with salt to taste. Cut into wedges and serve.
Daniel Neman writes for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.