One pot winter warmers

One of the best things about winter is a pot of something delicious gently bubbling on the stove top or in the oven, warming the kitchen and filling the house with wonderful aromas. These one-pot dinners are also an easy way to make dinner with minimal fuss and washing up.

Make use of lovely vegetables such as sweet potato, pumpkin and parsnips for a vegetarian braise. Or take a chicken and give it a makeover with Asian flavours. Cooking the meat on the bone keeps it moist and tender.

For something a little spicy, try the black bean chilli. It is perfect for less-expensive cuts of meat, which are full of flavour, as the longer cooking time ensures the meat is meltingly tender.

Chinese braised chicken

Ask your butcher or poultry supplier to joint the chicken or use chicken casserole pieces.

2 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp five-spice powder
1 size 16 free-range chicken, jointed
60ml vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
Knob of ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 bunch green onions, finely sliced plus extra for garnish
1 long red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp Chinese rice wine
1 cinnamon stick
3 tbsp dark soy
500ml chicken stock
2 tbsp hoisin sauce

Mix flour and five spice, then coat chicken pieces. Heat oil in a heavy-based pot and brown chicken in batches. Remove and set aside. Add onion, garlic, ginger, green onions, chilli and cook for a few minutes. Add chicken and remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover with lid and simmer for 40 minutes until chicken is tender. Garnish with extra green onions and serve with rice.

Serves 4

Sweet potato, pumpkin and parsnip with chickpeas and spinach

CAPTION

This vegetarian braise is great for meat-free Mondays. Pearl couscous is larger than regular couscous and adds more texture.

2 tbsp oil
2 onions, cut in half then thinly sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
500g sweet potato, cut in 1 1/2 cm thick chunks
500g pumpkin, cut in 1 1/2 cm thick chunks
2 parsnips, cut 1 1/2 cm thick
800ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp honey
50g unsalted butter
1 cup pearl couscous
2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
100g baby spinach leaves
100g greek yoghurt
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Coriander leaves to garnish
Mint leaves to garnish

Heat oil in a large wide-based pan, add onions, cumin and coriander seeds and cook over medium heat for five minutes until softened and golden. Add sweet potato, pumpkin, parsnips, stock, honey and butter. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add pearl couscous and cook for a further 15 minutes, until vegetables are cooked and liquid has reduced. Add chickpeas and spinach and cook for a few minutes until spinach has wilted. Remove from heat and make yoghurt sauce. Mix yoghurt with lemon juice and zest and put in a jug to serve with vegetables. Garnish stew with coriander and mint and serve with yoghurt sauce.

Serves 4

Black bean chilli

CAPTION

Tinned black beans simplify this version of chilli con carne. If you can't find these, soak dried beans overnight and add them to the pot with the beef, as they will need a longer cooking time.

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra if needed
2 brown onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 green chillis, deseeded and finely chopped
500g chuck steak, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp plain flour
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 x 400g tins black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red capsicum, diced
1 ripe avocado
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion, diced
Handful fresh coriander leaves, plus extra to garnish
1 lime, juiced
Sea salt and black pepper
4 tbsp sour cream to serve

Preheat oven to 150C. Heat oil in a large heavy-based oven-proof pot and cook onion, garlic and chilli until softened. Remove from pot and set aside. Toss steak in flour then cook in batches in the pot until browned, adding extra oil if required. Return cooked vegetables to the pot and stir in tinned tomatoes. Cover and cook in oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove from oven and check if meat is tender. Add beans and capsicum and return to oven for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make salsa. Chop avocado into small dice, quarter cherry tomatoes and mix with red onion and coriander leaves. Squeeze over lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Remove chilli from oven and serve with salsa and sour cream.

Serves 4-6

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The story One pot winter warmers first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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