CORRECTION: This story was updated at 11:56 a.m. on Thursday, March 5, 2020, to correct the headline of a recipe to "Olive Oil Roasted Chicken With Caramelized Carrots." It had erroneously stated "Caramelized Onions" in an earlier version.
Editor's note: This is the second in a five-part series of main-dish meals that can be cooked in a single pot, pan or skillet.
Whether you like cooking, love it or are indifferent to the task, most of us can agree that washing a lot of pots and pans after dinner is a drag.
Wouldn't it instead be easier if there were really only one? One skillet or one Dutch oven, one sheet pan, one pot? Wouldn't that be great?
Imagine the ease of it, to come home from work and turn on the oven, line a sheet pan with foil or parchment, tip onto it some vegetables, some protein, some aromatics and sauce: Dinner, nothing else required!
That's why the editors of NYT Cooking have put together this modest (and beautiful), wide-ranging (and tightly focused) collection of recipes devoted to the celebration of one-vessel cooking, on the stovetop and in the oven.
They come from the stars of our universe: Melissa Clark, Alison Roman, Julia Moskin, Ali Slagle, David Tanis, Tejal Rao, Yewande Komolafe, Colu Henry, Joan Nathan, Kay Chun — even me!
The majority will deliver a whole meal in a single pot, pan or skillet, full stop. For others, you'll need to add only a vegetable or starchy side dish if you desire one, a salad, a basket of bread.
There are vegetarian situations, and vegan ones too, lots of fish, plenty of chicken, plenty of stew.
The only constant among them is our desire to make cooking easier (and wildly delicious) and to deliver you from the sadness of a sink filled with dishes.
* March 3: Chicken
* March 11: Beef and pork
* March 18: Seafood
* March 25: Vegetables
Chicken With Shallots and Grapes
This Colu Henry recipe is simple enough for a weeknight, but impressive enough to serve at a dinner party. Marinate some chicken thighs in garlic, olive oil and za'atar, if you have any, while your oven gets hot. Then, roast them on a sheet pan alongside thick wedges of shallots and sweet grapes, whose flavors are gently coaxed together and deepened by the chicken fat as they cook. Serve straight from the pan, or move everything over to a platter.
Time: About 35 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, patted dry
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon za'atar (optional)
Kosher salt and black pepper
6 medium to large shallots, peeled and quartered root to stem
8 ounces seedless red or green grapes, or a combination, broken into small clusters on the vine
4 to 5 thyme sprigs, plus 2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
Flaky sea salt, for serving
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together the chicken with 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic and za'atar, if using. Season well with salt and pepper. Place the shallots and the grapes on the sheet pan, and gently toss with the remaining olive oil and season well with salt.
Nestle the chicken skin side up in between the shallots and grapes, and lay the thyme sprigs on top of the mixture. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the shallots and grapes at the edges of the pan begin to soften and caramelize.
Turn the oven to broil, and move the oven rack to sit right below it. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs, and broil the chicken for 1 to 2 minutes until the skin of the chicken is crispy and golden. Scatter with chopped thyme, and season with flaky salt.
* Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that's citrus-woodsy, tart and tannic, with sumac, sesame seeds, salt and herbs.
* This dish is excellent with a side salad: say, chicory dressed with lemon, olive oil, anchovies and salty pecorino.
Baked Chicken With Potatoes, Cherry Tomatoes and Herbs
For this simple bake, Julia Moskin borrowed a technique from Emanuela, a restaurant on the Italian island of Ischia, where rosemary, fennel and other herbs grow wild in the hills. Because the island was formed by volcanic activity (Pompeii is just under 20 miles away), the sand on some of its beaches is as hot as 350 degrees. When cooking fuel was scarce and expensive, the islanders learned to use the sand as a heat source for cooking. We're not doing that here, but wrapping the ingredients tightly and subjecting them to steady heat produces a succulent, aromatic dish.
Time: 1 1/4 hours
Yield: 4 servings
1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken, cut up, or 3 to 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon rosemary leaves (from about 2 sprigs)
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 small dried red chilies, crumbled, or 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 to 3 pounds large Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes
1 large yellow onion, quartered and thickly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 to 6 basil sprigs, plus 2 tablespoons finely shredded leaves, for garnish
Pull any lumps of fat off the chicken, and discard. In a bowl, combine chicken, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon rosemary, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the chilies. Mix and set aside, at least 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a 9- by 13-inch baking dish or a large ovenproof skillet with a lid, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon rosemary, potatoes, tomatoes, onion and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Toss, and spread out evenly in the pan. Arrange chicken pieces on top, skin side up. Add the wine, pouring along the edges of the pan, and place basil sprigs on top. Cover tightly, and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove chicken from the oven, and turn the oven temperature to 475 degrees. (Use the convection feature if you have it.) Or heat the broiler, and arrange oven rack about 8 inches from the heat. Return uncovered pan to oven, and cook until chicken skin is browned, cooking liquid is reduced and vegetables are very soft, 10 to 15 minutes more.
Discard basil sprigs. Garnish with shredded basil, and serve immediately.
* Swap out the basil for oregano at the end, and the dish picks up a Grecian accent, rather than Italian.
* A dry white wine would go nicely with this dish — a restrained American chardonnay, for instance, or a Saint-Aubin from Burgundy.
Dijon Chicken With Shallots and White Wine
Here is an easy, excellent one-pot recipe for a midweek feast, full of rich flavor, with a sauce that you won't want to waste. Sam Sifton discovered it a number of years ago on the Twitter account of Andrew Zimmern, the television personality and chef. His wife, Rishia Zimmern, adapted it from Martha Stewart, and he posted it on the platform: "Brown 8 thighs, 3 C shallots. Add wine, tarragon, Dijon, sim 30 min covered. Remove lid, reduce. Add 2C cut cherry toms." Sam's been messing around with that ever since, and you'll thrill to its flavor. Serve with bread, to sop up the sauce.
Time: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
8 bone-in chicken thighs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 to 15 whole medium shallots, peeled
2 cups white wine
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tarragon sprigs
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Pat the chicken thighs very dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the flour, salt and pepper over the chicken.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or skillet set over medium-high heat. When the butter foams, cook the chicken, in batches if necessary, until well browned and crisp on all sides. Set aside.
Add the whole shallots to the pot, and sauté them in the butter and chicken fat until they begin to soften and caramelize, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze the pot, stir with a large spoon, then add the mustard and tarragon, then the chicken thighs. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid, and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the cherry tomatoes to the pot, stir lightly to combine and serve immediately.
* Slide your pan under a hot broiler at the end of the cooking, to crisp the skin of the thighs.
* A dozen shallots? But these shallots are huge! You're looking for 3 cups total, peeled. (You can cut the huge ones in half.)
Chicken With Sweet Potatoes and Fennel
Yewande Komolafe's zingy vinaigrette of sharp pecorino, warming cracked pepper and bright lemon is terrific on any salad, but you'll love it drizzled over this easy sheet-pan dinner of chicken, sweet potatoes and fennel. Of course, there's no need to use just sweet potatoes and fennel. You can substitute any seasonal vegetables instead.
Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (10 to 12 ounces each)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 small fennel bulb, cut into 1-inch wedges, fronds chopped and reserved
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 lemon, zested, plus 2 tablespoons juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, plus more to taste
1 cup crumbled or grated pecorino cheese
1/4 cup parsley, leaves and tender stems
4 cups leafy greens, such as baby spinach or torn kale (optional)
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss chicken with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and arrange on a large rimmed baking sheet, skin-side up.
In the same bowl, toss potatoes and fennel with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and arrange in an even layer around the chicken.
Roast until chicken and potatoes are a deep golden brown and fennel is starting to caramelize at the edges, about 35 to 45 minutes.
As chicken cooks, combine vinegar, lemon zest and juice, mustard, garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a thin stream and stir in pecorino. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest. Toss the fennel fronds and parsley with the roasted vegetables.
To serve, cut the chicken off the bone and slice. Divide chicken and vegetables among plates. Serve with a handful of leafy greens if you like, and spoon the pecorino vinaigrette over everything.
* Try serving the chicken on top of a handful of uncooked leafy greens.
* When zesting lemons, make sure not to include the white pith of the fruit, which is uncommonly bitter.
Olive Oil Roasted Chicken With Caramelized Carrots
Alison Roman developed this outrageously good recipe, essentially a weeknight chicken confit, with the bird cooked low and slow in plenty of olive oil alongside sweet carrots and tangy lemon slices. As delicious as it is, please make sure to save the oil that's left over from the cooking, so that you can roast vegetables with it later, fry eggs, jump-start a pasta sauce or, of course, cook more chicken.
Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
2 pounds whole chicken legs, or bone-in, skin-on drumsticks or thighs
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 bunch small, thin carrots, preferably with their green tops
2 heads garlic, left unpeeled and halved crosswise to expose the cloves
1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
1/2 bunch oregano, plus more leaves, for garnish
1 cup olive oil
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
If the carrots have their green tops, trim them so that the stems are about 1/2- to 1-inch long. Save the greens for garnish or for using in salsa verde or pesto. (They can be treated like parsley.)
Arrange chicken in a large shallow baking dish or shallow braising pot — 2 1/2 to 3 quarts — so that the legs are snug and lying flat. Scatter garlic head halves, carrots, lemon slices and oregano sprigs among the chicken pieces, nestling everything in there. (It's OK if the carrots stick out a bit.) Pour the olive oil over the chicken and vegetables. (Yes, you're using all that oil! Don't worry, it can be repurposed; see tips.) Season again with salt and pepper.
Place in the oven, uncovered, and roast until the chicken is so tender it nearly falls off the bone and the carrots and lemons are nicely caramelized, 55 to 65 minutes.
Remove from oven, and let cool slightly. Divide chicken, vegetables and lemons among plates (or serve straight from the dish it was cooked in). Scatter with carrot tops, if you have them, and more oregano before eating. Reserve the leftover schmaltzy olive oil in the baking dish for another purpose.
* To save that oil, strain it into an airtight container. You can keep it in the refrigerator for about a month.
* For amazing salad croutons, melt a few tablespoons of the leftover oil into a skillet and use it to toast cubes of day-old bread.
Cheese Buldak (Fire Chicken)
Cheese buldak is a Korean dish that is incredibly easy to prepare: A marinade of red-pepper paste and red-pepper flakes becomes a fiery sauce for braised chicken, which is then served beneath a cloak of broiler-melted mozzarella. Sam Sifton learned how to make the dish from Emily Kim, the Korean web star known as Maangchi, whose recipe for cheese buldak has been viewed on YouTube more than 7 million times. There are thousands and thousands of comments below it, mostly positive. One reads, "Can you be my mom?"
Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1/4 cup gochugaru (Korean red-pepper flakes)
2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red-pepper paste)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola or peanut
4 ounces sliced Korean rice cakes (optional)
6 to 8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella, thinly sliced
2 scallions, sliced, for garnish
Combine the gochugaru, gochujang, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and black pepper in a medium bowl, and mix well. Add the chicken, and stir until it is well coated.
If you're using the rice cakes, swirl the oil into a large, oven-safe skillet set over medium-high heat, and wait for it to shimmer. Add the rice cakes, and cook, turning them often, until they are a little crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, and set aside. If you're not using rice cakes, simply swirl the oil into the pan and move along to the next step.
Add the chicken mixture to the pan along with 1/4 cup water. Cover, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes, adding the rice cakes halfway through, if using. Meanwhile, heat the broiler in your oven.
Remove the chicken from the heat. Cover the pan with the sliced mozzarella, then slide the pan under the broiler. Cook until the cheese has melted and browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with scallions. Serve immediately.
* Use low-moisture commercial mozzarella. A fresher variety will be too watery.
* Omit the rice cakes if you can't find them, and serve this dish with steamed rice, or lettuce leaves and kimchi.
Sam Sifton is the founding editor of NYT Cooking for The New York Times.