I’m not a big fan of reality shows, but I do love the cooking show Chopped. Watching it has made me much more creative in the kitchen. Maybe I like it so much because cooking dinner each night is my own personal Chopped episode.

Because of our weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) vegetable share, I never plan on what will be in the refrigerator…and whatever I cook is based on what needs to be used first. This “what’s in the basket?” approach to cooking (what I lovingly call “kitchen triage”) was surely evident a couple of weeks ago when I cooked dinner at my mother’s house during her recuperation after an injury.

Opening her refrigerator, I saw two packages (legs and thighs) of chicken that needed to be cooked…several bags with past-their-prime produce on their way to becoming compost (I dumped those fast!)…and a few vegetable varieties that were salvageable, including half a head of cabbage, a package of sliced mushrooms, an onion and some limp carrots…and a variety of fresh herbs growing in pots on her deck. I turned it all into a scrumptious feast that even my sister said was tasty (and, in fact, she’s the one who snapped the photo above).

I like cooking chicken on the stove—I love gravy…and clean-up is easier than scrubbing a roasting pan. I served the potted chicken with sautéed cabbage, similar to the tarragon recipe in this cabbage blog but with fresh basil instead of tarragon, along precooked brown rice that I found in the pantry.


2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 whole chicken in parts or the equivalent (I actually cooked 4 legs and 4 thighs)
1 sprig’s worth fresh Rosemary leaves (discard stem)
20 fresh sage leaves
3 sprigs’ worth tarragon leaves (discard stems) 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
One box (6 to 8 ounces) sliced mushrooms (or whole, and slice them yourself, or dried mushrooms that you reconstitute)
One large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1½ cups chicken broth
Juice of ¼ lemon

Dry herbs to shake on:

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric

3 carrots, cut into one-inch lengths


  1. Warm sauté pan on medium heat. Once warm, coat with olive oil.
  2. Sear outside of chicken on all sides, then remove temporarily to a plate beside the stove.
  3. Add onions, mushrooms and garlic and sauté about three minutes. (You may need a bit more olive oil; use your judgment.)
  4. Add broth and, as it boils, quickly scrape off anything sticking to the pan.
  5. Place chicken over the veggies. Sprinkle chicken with dried herbs (onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, turmeric). Squeeze in lemon juice. Cover pan and lower heat to simmer, about 15 minutes.
  6. Add carrots, rosemary, sage and tarragon. Flip chicken, sprinkle again with dried herbs. Add a bit more broth if necessary. Cover pan and simmer about 15 minutes more.
  7. Check chicken for doneness (it may need a bit longer, depending on how big your pieces.)
  8. When done, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley before serving.

By the way…speaking of Chopped, check out our recent article with Chopped judge Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, who shares his favorite cooking tips.