Rustic French Nabemono cooking

I recently waxed poetic over my Japanese nabe. A reader asked if that particular pot was essential to make the detox dinner. “Can I use my Le Creuset instead?” she queried.  Mais bien sûr! (And lucky her to own such a one). Any wide heavy pot with a lid will do. As a matter of fact, I used a 5-qt. copper pot for today’s “French nabemono.”

Yes, I’m still enamored with the 30-minute, one-pot dinner formula–sauté, simmer, poach–for getting a winter dinner on the table fast. Love the way fish, shrimp, or chicken cook to foolproof perfection every time!

I softened a chopped leek in a swirl of avocado oil, added a couple handfuls of teeny la ratte potatoes and red carrots from Weiser Farms, a sliced fennel bulb from Rutiz Farms, a handful of hedgehog mushrooms, and several sprigs of thyme. I gave the pot a few minutes at medium heat before adding a cup or two of chicken stock. A 10-minute covered simmer over low-ish heat, and the aroma was already heady and the potatoes nearly tender.

If you’re adding up the minutes spent so far, we’re at 20. (If you want to do some steps ahead, stop here. Carry on 5 or 10 minutes before you want to eat.)


I stirred in a generous handful of roughly chopped minutina, nestled in chunks of salt-and-peppered monkfish (wild U.S. Atlantic monkfish is your most sustainable option, or you can use another firm fish) into the stew, and covered the pot for 5 minutes–time enough to tell you what minutina is. It’s a cold-weather green also known as buck’s horn plantain or capuchin’s beard. Sometimes nutty, bitter-edged, or even salty, it’s one of those “rediscovered” plants that are fun to try. I found it at Windrose Farm; see the photo above. But, most any sort of quick-cooking add-in would be nice here, including savoy cabbage.

Monkfish nestling in Rustic French Nabemono

As soon as the fish was done (rule of thumb–10 minutes per inch of thickness), I added the finishing touch–a generous squeeze of lemon right into the pot (think of the vitamin C!)–and a “detox” dinner for four was ready.

For more on this dish, you can listen to Laura Avery and me discuss on KCRW’s Good Food Market Report.