After six straight years of beginning the new year by providing readers with a two-week “cleanse” eating plan, Bon Appetit decided to go big this year with a cookbook version of their popular annual Food Lover’s Cleanse.
In book form, it’s “Bon Appetit: The Food Lover’s Cleanse” by Sara Dickerman (William Morrow Cookbooks, $35).
With the help of dietitian Marissa Lippert, Dickerman has guided Bon Appetit readers through this online eating plan that’s designed to recalibrate eating habits, especially after the holidays, making them aware and mindful of what they’re eating. The plan also aims to get readers back into the kitchen, cooking and making food that can be healthful and taste good.
The annual cleanse guide and recipes were Dickerman’s way to eschew trendy extreme cleanses and instead put an “emphasis on home cooking and whole foods,” she writes. The emphasis is also on not denying oneself or turning to turkey bacon, or artificially sweetened protein shakes, or egg-white omelets that Dickerman refers to as “diet-y” foods.
In the book, Dickerman also ’fesses up that she has “misgivings about the word cleanse” because it suggests that the “opposite of cleansing is getting dirty.”
The book is divided into recipes for each of the four seasons. And in each season there’s a two-week cleanse plan along with a list of that season’s key ingredients. They’ve also included a specific shopping list for each season. The list looks daunting, but some of the pantry items are used in other seasons, too.
Recipes in each season are for breakfast and dinner, with the dinner option (most are four servings) providing enough for an additional lunch the next day. Each season has several dessert options, most of which are fruit-based.
To help readers prepare for the cleanse, the book includes guides to cleaning out the refrigerator and cupboards, learning to shop in bulk sections and recommendations for things that can be done ahead, like making vinaigrettes, toasting nuts and seeds, and washing greens.
There’s a section on pantry notes with information on specific ingredients, useful how-tos for things like making stock or roasting vegetables, and preparing spread and snacks.
SAUCY BRAISED CHICKEN THIGHS WITH FENNEL AND LEMON
Note: From “Bon Appetit: The Food Lover’s Cleanse: 140 Delicious, Nourishing Recipes that will tempt you back into Healthful Eating,” by Sara Dickerman.
• 5 boneless chicken thighs (1 1/2 lb.)
• Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more if needed, divided
• 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, core intact, cut into 1/2-in.-thick wedges
• 2 tsp. fennel seeds
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled, sliced thinly
• 1 c. homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned
• 1 lemon, sliced thinly crosswise
• 1/4 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
In a large deep-sided ovenproof skillet or wide saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add half the fennel wedges and cook until brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn over, add a pinch of salt, cook 2 more minutes, and remove from the pan, adding more olive oil if needed. Repeat to cook the remaining fennel. Wipe out the pan.
Add the fennel seeds and toast until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and add to the pan in a single layer. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Turn the chicken over, sprinkle the garlic slices onto the surface of the pan between the chicken pieces, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the stock and toasted fennel seeds and tuck the fennel pieces and lemon slices around the chicken.
When the stock comes to a boil, about 3 minutes, transfer the pan to the oven. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, the pan juices are thickened, and the fennel is glazed, 22 to 25 minutes. Serve topped with parsley.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 270 Fat 12 g Sodium 212 mg
Carbohydrates 9 g Saturated fat 3 g Calcium 84 mg
Protein 31 g Cholesterol 130 mg Dietary fiber 4 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 4 lean meat.