Stress-Free Stews

Hello and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. My Thanksgiving menu is still far from finalized, which is out of character for me, and frankly I’m feeling a little unmoored. Generally I spend weeks thinking about it in an idle way, a pleasing diversion from whatever else I’m supposed to be doing. But this year — I don’t know. Beyond the turkey I’m making, I haven’t reached any decisions. Should I make pie? What kind of pie? Mango pie? A lemon tart? Should I prioritize stuffing? Mashed potatoes? You see: unmoored.

If you can relate, we have many, many recipes for you: recipes for a small Thanksgiving; Thanksgiving for beginners; Thanksgiving recipes with just five ingredients; our staff’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes. So many recipes!

In the meantime, you have to eat dinner, and you shouldn’t have to stress over it. So I’ve got a few ideas for you below. You can reach me anytime at [email protected] And Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are.

P.S. You can still get ahead on holiday cookies. R.S.V.P. for the (virtual) New York Times Cookie Swap on Dec. 5, featuring Melissa Clark, Dorie Greenspan, Samantha Seneviratne and Sohla El-Waylly.

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Here are five dishes for the week:

1. Baked Rice With White Beans, Leeks and Lemon

Commenters have gone wild for this easy, hands-off vegetarian main course from Ali Slagle: “phenomal,” “incredible,” you get the idea. You could add all manner of vegetables to make it a one-dish meal. I’d use stock instead of water to add more flavor.

View this recipe.


2. Oliver’s Chicken Stew

This is essentially chicken-and-stars soup, freshly made and very lovable. Poaching the chicken in stock is a shortcut that bolsters the flavor of the finished stew, which came from the chef Jody Adams and the writer and photographer Ken Rivard. But still, this is a bit more of a project than we normally do on a weeknight, so save time by starting the chicken on the stove, then prepping the vegetables that go into the pot.

3. Sausage and Peppers Pasta With Broccoli

I now live near a good Italian butcher shop and have developed a habit around their pork sausage. This recipe by Kay Chun is the perfect use for it, and an example of strong weeknight cooking: delicious, efficient, beloved by everyone you’re feeding. Feel free to use chicken sausage instead of pork.

View this recipe.


4. White Beans au Vin

I recently made a spectacular recipe for coq au vin, staggering the prep over a few days and relishing the results. But I don’t always want meat, and I can’t always spend time. This is what makes Lidey Heuck’s weeknight, vegetarian riff so fantastic. The small amount of Cognac used here is true to the classic dish, but you can skip it if you don’t have it on hand.

View this recipe.


5. Chicken Miso Meatballs

Margaux Laskey, one of our editors and a frequent guest writer of this very newsletter, said she made these meatballs this week, and I immediately wanted to make them, too. So here they are, simple and superb meatballs by Kay Chun, a suggestion for you and a definite for me. Serve with rice and greens and that dipping sauce Kay describes in the recipe headnote.

View this recipe.

Happy Thanksgiving! We’ve been thankful for you in the year 2020, especially the subscribers the who support our work. Subscriptions also make excellent gifts! You can follow NYT Cooking on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, and here I am on Instagram. I’m [email protected], and if you’re having technical issues, try my colleagues at [email protected].