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Author Notes: Recipes for dirt cheap dinners. . .I got a million of 'em, developed in the 70s and 80s. They're all variations of the theme of how to stretch a little bit of meat with a whole lot of starch and some home-grown vegetables in order to feed six sons, the shortest of whom is 6' even. (He's also the youngest, and swears that he's the shortest because his brothers always beat him to the table.) The good news is that all the recipes aren't ho-hum casseroles. . .the bad news is that chicken is no longer 19 cents a pound. —betteirene
- 1 whole chicken, cut into 11 pieces (2 wings, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs; the breast quartered and the back left whole--and yes, the back is edible), rinsed and patted dry
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- Coarsely-ground fresh black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 large yellow or white onion, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 large red or gold potatoes, quartered, eyes removed,
- 1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 1" dice (optional)
- 1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1" dice (optional)
- 8-10 whole carrots, peeled or scrubbed and cut into 1" pieces
- 1 small head cabbage, cored, roughly chopped into 2" chunks, with tough white ribs removed
- 1 pound green beans, stem end removed (optional)
- 1 can (46 oz.) tomato juice
- 8 cups hot cooked rice
- Sprinkle the chicken parts on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large (minimum 5 or more quarts) Dutch oven or a wok over medium-high heat. Place the chicken thighs and the back skin-side down in the pan. Cook until the pieces have rendered some fat and are lightly browned. With luck, the pieces can be easily turned over; if they stick, gently pry them loose without tearing the skin, and turn them over. Cook until lightly brown--pieces do not have to be cooked through. Remove from pot. Cook remaining pieces until lightly browned; remove from pot.
- Add garlic to pot. Stir in onion. Add bay leaves. Top with potatoes, turnip (if using), rutabaga (if using) and carrots; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place chicken parts on top, followed by the cabbage chunks and green beans. Pour the tomato sauce into the pot and cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil with a hole poked into it with a paring knife. (This allows the juice to reduce to a sauce while it steams the cabbage and beans.) Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cook for 20-30 minutes, until vegetables and chicken are cooked through. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve ove rice.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dirt Cheap Dinner
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