The philosophy behind Masterchef season 13 and 14 contestant (and now Friend of Toyota) Tommy Pham’s new cookbook, My Family Kitchen, is simple: to help parents avoid cooking one meal for the kids, and a separate meal for themselves.
His recipes are inspired by his Vietnamese heritage, and this hearty chicken ragout has been designed for cooking with minimal utensils and one pot – perfect for a wintry holiday or camping trip.
The surprise addition? Garlic bread.
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“My little hack for the extra oomph is to switch the baguettes with garlic bread – I know, controversial,” says Pham. “The crispy edges of garlic bread combined with the garlicky soft bread is like heaven.
“This is a classic example of French-influenced Vietnamese food. Stewed chicken with mushrooms, peas and potatoes in a rich, flavourful tomato-based sauce – yum. Combine this with crunchy Vietnamese baguettes and you’ve got yourself a winner.”
Tommy Pham’s chicken ragout
Serves 4 (2 adults, 2 kids)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
6 tsp vegetable oil
3 medium washed potatoes, peeled and halved
4 chicken thigh cutlets, cut into 4cm pieces
1 brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 3cm chunks
250g Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
1L salt-reduced chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes
6 Vietnamese baguettes or 3 serves garlic bread
1 cup frozen peas
1 tsp white sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp fish sauce
4 spring onions (shallots), rinsed, ends trimmed and chopped
3 bird’s-eye chillies, sliced (optional)
Heat 2 tsp of oil in a large pot over a medium-high heat and add the potatoes. Fry until sealed and golden, then remove the potatoes from the pot and set aside.
In the same pot, add 2 more tsp of oil and the chicken pieces. Cook until the meat has lightly browned all over.
Add 2 more tsp of oil and the onion. Cook until the onion is soft.
Add the garlic and cook until soft.
Add the tomato paste, stir to coat and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the potatoes, carrot, mushrooms, stock, canned tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
Heat your oven and warm up the baguettes or garlic bread while you finish making the ragout.
Add the peas to the pot and bring it back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the sugar, salt and fish sauce, stirring to evenly distribute the seasoning, then turn off the heat.
Serve your ragout in bowls and top with spring onions, squeezed lemon and chillies, and serve with bread on the side.
Extracted from My Family Kitchen by Tommy Pham, published by Penguin Random House Australia ($32.99).