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Jan 10, 2011 05:46 AM

Your favourite "magic" few-ingredient recipes

I love finding recipes that use very few ingredients but transform them into something special. My favourite is Marcella Hazan's pork braised in milk, you'd never guess it only contains fat, milk and pork. Another is a chocolate mousse that is just dark chocolate melted with boiling water, chilled and then whipped up into a mousse.
Have you got any to recommend?

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  1. Have you tried Hazan's tomato sauce that is just tomatoes, butter and an onion? Simple and glorious.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TorontoJo

      That's another great example. I love the fact that you don't even need to chop the onion.

    2. Turnip hash made with: Chicken sausages (I use Trader Joe's Jalapeno, which are fully cooked), turnips, apple cider, oil, salt and pepper.

      Just brown the sausage in a little oil, remove, the add peeled diced turnips to the pan, deglaze with a generous amount of apple cider, add salt and papper. Cover to braise the turnips to tenderness, then uncover to reduce the cider to a glaze. Stir sausage pieces back in for the last 1/3 of cooking to reheat/meld into the dish.

      1 Reply
      1. re: 4Snisl

        wow - this might actually help me *like* turnips! I have a million from my winter CSA share that I've been saving, for, well, this recipe I guess!


      2. Pea soup: Add dried peas to simmerinng stock until soft. Add any spice you like. Sometimes I start with a sauteed onion, but you can get away without it. Easy peasy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: topbanana

          Reminds me of Alton' Brown's curried split pea soup. So. Good.

        2. Crock pot roast.

          Chuck roast, dry onion soup packet, 1 cup water. Certainly not magic, but delish just the same.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BigE

            When I was a kid, a friend of my mom's made a variation of this - substitute 1 cup of red wine for the cup of water. (It wasn't cooked in a pressure cooker, but assembles in an aluminum foil packet and baked, cooled and sliced for reheating at party time.)

            It was the first dish I tasted that was made with wine!!

          2. One from the big green Gourmet cookbook - 3 lbs chuck, in 1 pc or cut up into biggish pieces, 28-oz can of whole tomatoes, buzzed in the FP (or otherwise mushed up), 1 head garlic, separated into cloves but unpeeled. Salt and pepper. Brown beef first if you want. Bake in covered dutch oven at 325 deg F for 3 hours or until tender. Can add herbs and other flavorings if you wish. It's far more than the sum of its parts.

            8 Replies
              1. re: lilgi

                It's remarkably good. Even my husband who is not overfond of tomatoes in any form liked it enormously. (I added a squirt or two of fish sauce, a tb or so of dark soy, ditto of Chinese black vinegar, and some oregano.)

                1. re: buttertart

                  well of course you did, BT, and made it way better, i'm sure!

              2. re: buttertart

                Thanks. I'll have to try this, it's exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    Yup, had it last night, was delicious. Just added some oregano and olive oil. Thanks for the recipe. If you've got any others in the same vein, please share!

                    1. re: loukoumades

                      Glad you liked it.
                      Do you like spicy food? Just posted a nice easy pork curry on another thread:
                      And a Hungarian-ish pork thing I make (not as spicy):

                  2. re: loukoumades

                    Thanks for sharing the recipe, buttertart. It looks like a fabulous starting point with room for a lot of individual variations. Here's the recipe on epicurious. I like reading the reviews to see what people have done with the recipe.