One-pot chicken and creamed beans: Ed Smith’s recipes for winter comfort food

·4-min read

January comfort food can be lots of things. I frequently find metaphorical hugs in rich and savoury, or in cheesy and creamy dishes; things that welcome us with a warm, rounded embrace, countering the sharper side of winter. There’s quite a bit going on in today’s first dish – tart, bitter, chilli and crunch – but ultimately it all sinks into an ambrosial puddle of beans, while the second is gloriously beige. Both are low effort and high reward.

Parmesan-creamed beans with sweet-bitter leaves (pictured top)

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 2

100g sourdough or focaccia
4 t
bsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 fat garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 tsp chilli flakes
400g cooked white haricot beans (drained weight)
75ml single cream (or 50ml more water)
2 sprigs sage or rosemary (optional)
1 tsp ground black peppercorns
35g grated parmesan

1 medium radicchio (about 500g), quartered, cored and leaves separated
3 tbsp moscatel, sherry or thin balsamic vinegar
Flaky sea salt

Pulse the bread in a food processor until relatively fine. Put three tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan set over a medium-high heat for 45 seconds or so, then add the breadcrumbs, toss to coat and fry for three to four minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Turn down the heat to low, stir in the garlic and chilli flakes, and about a minute later transfer to a bowl. Wipe the pan clean with kitchen towel.

Drain the beans, reserving any liquid. Top up that liquid with cream (if using) and/or water to total 225ml. Put the beans, the liquid and the sage or rosemary, if using, in a saucepan and bring to an energetic simmer. Add the pepper and parmesan, shake the pan to incorporate the cheese, leave to thicken for a minute, then take off the heat.

Return the frying pan to a medium-high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the radicchio leaves, then use tongs to turn them over for 60 seconds, so each one touches the hot pan and becomes glossy. Create a gap in the middle, add the vinegar and another tablespoon of water, take off the heat and swiftly move the leaves around the pan so they wilt further in the steam. Add a sprinkling of sea salt.

Divide the beans between two shallow bowls or plates with rims. Top with the leaves and any pan juices, scatter masses of crumbs over the top (you’ll add any that you don’t use now halfway through eating) and serve.

One-pot chicken with celeriac, chickpeas and tahini broth

Prep 15 min
Cook 35 min
Serves 4

1 generous tbsp rapeseed oil
4 chicken legs
, or skin-on, bone-in thighs
2 shallots, peeled, halved and finely sliced
½ large celeriac (250-300g), peeled and cut into 1-2cm dice
5 fat garlic cloves, peeled and squashed
Flaky sea salt and black pepper
125ml dry white wine

8 sprigs tarragon
1 small preserved
lemon, seeds removed, finely diced
1 x 400g can cooked chickpeas, drained
1 tsp moscatel or sherry vinegar
2-3 t
bsp runny tahini
Kale and crusty bread
, to serve

Get a large, 30cm-diameter, thick-bottomed saute pan or casserole into which the chicken will fit fairly snugly in one layer. Set this over a medium-high heat, add the oil and warm for a minute. Lay in the chicken pieces skin side down and leave to fry for 13-15 minutes without touching them – this will ensure the skin turns golden and crisp.

Transfer the chicken to a plate, then add the shallots, celeriac, garlic and a heavy pinch of salt to the pan and fry, stirring occasionally, for three to four minutes. Create a space, pour in the wine, let that bubble and steam for 30 seconds, then scrape and deglaze the base of the pan. Add 600ml water, half the tarragon and the preserved lemon, return the chicken to the pot skin side up, prodding the pieces down so they’re part-submerged but with the skin clear of the liquid. Part cover with a lid and leave to cook at a gentle simmer for 20 minutes.

After that time, lift out the chicken pieces and rest on a clean plate. Pick out and discard the spent tarragon. Pick and finely chop the leaves from the remaining herbs, then stir them through the mix with the chickpeas, vinegar and tahini. Check for seasoning, add salt, vinegar and tahini to taste (you should notice the nutty savouriness of the tahini, but it shouldn’t dominate). Ladle into pasta bowls and serve with loads of buttery, well-seasoned kale and crusty bread.

• Ed Smith’s latest book is Crave: Recipes Arranged by Flavour, to Suit Your Mood and Appetite; follow him on Instagram at @rocketandsquash

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