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4 slices bacon, cut into lardons
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
1 onion, medium dice
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz white wine (I used Pinot Grigio, from a box. Don’t judge)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 15-oz cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
15 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves

1. In a large pot, over medium heat, saute the bacon lardons until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from pot and drain on paper towels.
2. Combine flour with salt and pepper and dredge the chicken thighs in the flour mixture.
3. Working in batches, add chicken thighs to bacon fat and cook 2-3 minutes each side. Remove from pot and drain on paper towels.
4. Add onion and garlic to the remaining bacon fat and saute until soft and translucent, about 6-7 minutes.
5. Pour in white wine and reduce by 2/3.
6. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves.
7. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer and stir in the reserved bacon lardons.
8. Nestle the chicken thighs into the pot and cook for 45 minutes, or until cooked through and tender.
9. Serve alone or over brown rice.

Notes: flour became very very dark (just shy of burnt, really, but thankfully the end result did not taste carcinogenic!), next time omit the flour step and simply season the chicken and sear on both sides. Flour is nice for thickening, but I think, given the length of cooking time, the stew will still thicken nicely. Also, no flour will make this dish gluten-free.

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1 tablespoon canola oil
1 leek (or 1 small onion, or 2-3 shallots), thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 heart of romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
1 cup brown rice, prepared according to package directions
1 bag kimchi
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (omit to make it vegan)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (or Tamari, to make it gluten-free)

1. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Saute leeks and celery until soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Add romaine lettuce and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until just wilted.
3. Add brown rice, kimchi, frozen peas and cook until heated through, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in fish sauce and soy sauce and serve alongside fish, or alone as an entree. (I served it with tuna, which I encrusted with homemade gomasio–a seasoning of ground sesame seeds and salt–and seared.) Alternately you can top with a fried or poached egg for a savory, umami-rich breakfast or brunch (this is what I did with the leftovers).

Notes: YUM. Maybe add edamame, or garnish with sesame seeds.

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Yup. That’s right. This recipe was inspired by David Kinch’s Eggplant Dirty Rice, as featured in Food & Wine, and adapted to shine as a main dish that does not need meat to stand out. This gumbo is mildly spicy that can be adapted to your taste.

2 Tbsp vegetable oil, plus 1 tsp
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tsp
1 medium onion, medium dice
1 green bell pepper, medium dice
4 stalks celery, medium dice
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), medium dice
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup brown rice
Chives or scallions, finely sliced, for garnish
Hot sauce, optional, for passing

1. Heat 2 Tbsp of each of the oils over medium-high heat in a heavy bottomed pot.
2. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion, bell pepper and celery. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the garlic to the pan. Stir and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
4. Add the eggplant and season with salta and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tsp each of the oils.
5. Stir in the paprika, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper and tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes.
6. Deglaze the pot with soy sauce.
7. Add brown rice to the pot, stirring until all grains are coated.
8. Add 4 cups of water and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked, about 40-45 minutes.
9. Serve in bowls and garnish with fresh chives.

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Mujaddara, though humble, inexpensive, and not terribly attractive, should be the star of your vegetarian dinner. Nobody puts mujaddara in a corner.

1 1/4 cup brown rice
1 cup lentils
1.5 tbsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
Juice of 1 lemon
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
greek yogurt, for serving
parsley sprig, for garnish

1. Prepare brown rice and lentils according to the package directions.
2. When both are done, combine and gently toss with cumin, chili powder, scallions, mint, parsley, salt and pepper.
3. While the rice and lentils are cooking, heat olive oil and butter in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to become translucent, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes more, adding water as needed to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Then increase the pan to high heat to char the onions and crisp them a bit.
4. Serve the brown rice and lentil mixture warm, topped with the caramelized onions and a dollop of Greek yogurt and parsley sprig.

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