Red curry lentils, quick-braised chicken and more recipes – The Denver Post

By Emily Weinstein, The New York Times

One thing I miss from the pre-COVID era is eating at friends’ homes, which I do sparingly at this point, and only with the precautions that you’d imagine. I love seeing what my friends decide to make, a fascination that is surely related to the fact that I’m a professional recipe recommender. Trying their dishes, another joy, is an altogether different thing from eating off the menu at a restaurant — though I miss that, too.

Last weekend, a friend made baked eggs in cream for lunch, which I wouldn’t have thought to do, along with a green salad that had a lightly sweet shallot vinaigrette. It was both simple and wonderful, and it made me want to shake up my repertoire. Other friends recently made us quiche, which I never, ever make, but which I completely devoured. As my editor Krysten Chambrot once said, “Quiche low-key rules.”

It’s not exactly the same thing, but tell me the recipes you’re cooking at [email protected] Here’s what I’m making, in addition to the weeknight dishes below: birthday cake for my younger kid (but with pink frosting and a metric ton of sprinkles), whole-grain pancakes, Bolognese sauce, black bean-chorizo stew, citrus salad, mapo tofu.

1. Red Curry Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

In this vegetarian main inspired by Indian dal, lentils are cooked with an aromatic blend of Thai spices — fresh ginger, turmeric, red curry paste and chile — then simmered in coconut milk until fall-apart tender. Browning the sweet potatoes before cooking them with the lentils brings out their sweetness, balancing the heat from the chile and curry paste, while baby spinach tossed in just before serving adds fresh flavor. Serve over steamed white or brown rice, or with toasted flatbread on the side.

By Lidey Heuck

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (about 2 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 red chile, such as Fresno or serrano, halved, seeds and ribs removed, then minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 (4- to 5-ounce) bag baby spinach
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
  • Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, for serving (optional)

Preparation

1. In a Dutch oven or pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the browned sweet potatoes to a plate and set aside.

2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot and set the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the curry paste, garlic, ginger, chile and turmeric, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Add the lentils, stock, salt and browned sweet potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil over high. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Add the coconut milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the lentils are creamy and falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Add the spinach and stir until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lime juice and season with salt to taste.

6. Divide among shallow bowls and top with cilantro and coconut flakes, if using.

2. Quick-Braised Chicken With Greens

There’s a family of dishes that are both tangy and cozy: hot and sour soup, braised collard greens, puttanesca, brisket and now, this pot of braised chicken and greens. Its bite comes from hot pickled peppers and their brine, while the comfort comes from browned onions, tomato paste, cumin and chicken broth — and the knowledge that you can make this dish quickly with boneless thighs and any dark, leafy greens in your fridge. Eat the stew on top of something starchy to soak up the broth; it’s especially good with crunchy olive oil-fried toast (see tip below).

By Ali Slagle

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 1/2 cup sliced hot pickled Peppadew, cherry or pepperoncini peppers, and 2 tablespoons brine reserved, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 pounds (1 to 2 bunches) dark leafy greens, such as kale, Swiss chard or escarole, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • Fried toast (see tip), pasta, boiled or mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, or grains, for serving

Preparation

1. In a large pot over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion, season with salt and cook, stirring just a few times, until translucent and browned, 6 to 9 minutes. Add the peppers, tomato paste, brown sugar and cumin, and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste is a shade darker and starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add the broth, chicken, greens and pickled-pepper brine. Season with salt and stir to combine. Cover the pot, keep on medium-high and bring to a simmer. Uncover, reduce heat to low, and cook uncovered until the chicken is cooked through and the greens are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Using two forks, shred the chicken right in the pot into pieces, then stir to combine. Taste and adjust with salt, sugar (if it’s too tangy or spicy) and brine (if it’s too sweet or flat). Eat with starch of choice.

Tip

To make olive oil-fried toast, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium in a large skillet, add four 1/2-inch-thick slices of crusty or sourdough bread and fry until crispy on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Sheet-Pan Shrimp Gratin

The best part of a gratin is the crispy crust, and, here in this shallow sheet-pan version, there’s more of it. Flaky panko breadcrumbs — with a sprinkling of mozzarella and Gruyère — form a crisp, almost chiplike topping that tastes not unlike the edges of garlicky, cheesy Texas toast. In fact, the topping comes off in large, snackable pieces. As this bakes (for just 10 minutes!), the spice blend perfumes the kitchen, thanks to herbes de Provence. The shiitakes add earthy heft and incredible umami, but for a more delicately flavored gratin, you can leave them out. Serve this with a big green salad or eat it straight out of the pan.

By Eric Kim

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound peeled, deveined shrimp, tails removed, shrimp cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, thinly sliced crosswise into coins
  • 3 1/2 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, tough stems removed, caps thinly sliced
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Gruyère
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Preparation

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, toss together the shrimp, zucchini, mushrooms, shallot, garlic, paprika, red-pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1 tablespoon oil until well combined. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch sheet pan or shallow baking dish in a single layer.

3. In the now-empty bowl, toss the panko with a pinch of salt, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence to combine. Evenly pour the cream over the shrimp mixture in the pan, covering all the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle the panko mixture over the shrimp, then top first with the mozzarella, followed by the Gruyère.

4. Bake until the cream is bubbling and the panko and cheese are light golden brown all over, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving with the fresh lemon wedges, which should be squeezed over the gratin just before serving.

4. Vegetarian Skillet Chili With Eggs and Cheddar

This soul-warming weeknight chili is made in a skillet because the shorter sides of the pan allow the liquid to evaporate more freely, encouraging it to thicken faster than it would in a traditional pot. Eggs are nestled right into the chili, so the whites cook and the yolks stay molten, in a preparation similar to a shakshuka, another popular eggs-for-dinner dish. Shower the chili with cheddar, simmer for a few minutes, and there you have it: a hearty vegetarian meal. Serve with any toppings you like and something starchy like tortillas to mop everything up.

By Ali Slagle

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed or diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans of beans, such as pinto, black or any bean you like in chili, with their liquid
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar
  • Cilantro sprigs, for serving (optional)
  • Warm tortillas, tortilla chips or tostadas, for serving

Preparation

1. In a large (preferably cast-iron) skillet, melt the butter over medium-high. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and chili powder, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to stick to the bottom of the pan and turns the color of rust, about 2 minutes.

2. Stir in the tomatoes and both cans of beans with their liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, smashing the beans lightly and stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, then season to taste with salt.

3. Reduce the heat to low. If your chili is thick enough, make four divots evenly spaced in the chili and crack an egg into each divot. (If the chili is not thick enough to hold the divots, don’t worry, just crack the eggs on top.) Using a fork or spoon, gently cover the whites with chili. (This helps the whites cook faster and more evenly). Season the eggs with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the chili with cheddar. Cover and cook until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny, 5 to 7 minutes. Garnish, if desired, with cilantro sprigs. Serve with tortillas, tortilla chips or tostadas alongside.

5. Glazed Cod With Bok Choy, Ginger and Oyster Sauce

This quick one-skillet meal gets a boost of flavor from oyster sauce, a salty-sweet condiment made from concentrated oyster juice and soy sauce that’s often used in Chinese cooking. Here, it melds with garlic, ginger and butter to create a velvety glaze for cod fillets. If cod is unavailable, hake, striped bass or even salmon are fine substitutes. Steamed rice, soba or egg noodles are all perfect canvases for soaking up the flavorful juices.

By Kay Chun

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 pound baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless cod fillets, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Cooked rice, soba or egg noodles, for serving

Preparation

1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add bok choy, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium. Season fish lightly with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Simmer gently over medium-low for 5 minutes. Turn fish and simmer, spooning sauce over fish, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Swirl in butter and lime juice and simmer over medium heat until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes.

3. Serve fish and bok choy over rice or noodles. Drizzle with remaining sauce.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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