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$20 Dinner with Hugh Acheson 

The celebrated chef shares an accessible meal on a budget

Page 2 of 2

Seared lettuces with queso fresco, radish, carrot, pepitas, and yogurt dressing

(Serves 4)


• 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (can use Mexican crema)
• 1/4 teaspoon cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
• Freshly cracked black pepper
• 2 limes, juiced
• 2 heads of little gem lettuces, quartered from the core
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 4 carrots, sliced into thin strips
• 4 radishes, sliced 1/8-inch thick
• 1/4 cup pepitas, toasted
• 1/3 cup queso fresco

Directions: To make the dressing, whisk yogurt, cumin, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Set aside.

Slice the lettuces in half lengthwise and sear in a large, heavy-bottom skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. Sear for 2 minutes, and then turn. Sear for 1 minute longer and remove from the pan.

Toss the carrots and radishes with remaining lime juice.

Place a dollop of the dressing on the plate and spread it out into a circle. Build the salad by placing the lettuce on the plate first. Then place the carrots and radishes around and on top. Finish with a sprinkle of the pepitas and the queso fresco cheese.

Rice and beans

• 1 cup brown rice
• 4 cups water
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 2 small spring onions, thinly sliced
• 1 15-ounce can whole pinto beans, drained
• 2 tablespoons salsa (recipe included)
• 2 tablespoons water
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• Pinch hot chile powder
• 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro stems

Directions: In a small pot combine the rice and the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once a boil has been reached, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until done. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the beans, salsa, water, and reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cooked rice to the pot, and more water, if needed. Mix to combine. Finish with a sprinkle of cilantro stems.

Roasted chicken with carrots, spring onions, radish, avocado, and salsa verde

(Serves 4)


• 2 whole chicken legs
• 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 cup salsa verde (recipe included)
• 4 spring onions, sliced in half, lengthwise
• 4 small carrots, cut on the bias
• 2 radishes, cut into eighths, pole to pole
• 4 cups rice and beans (recipe included)
• 1 cup salsa (recipe included)
• 1 California avocado
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 8 tortillas

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Separate the chicken into 2 legs and 2 thighs. Coat each piece with the vegetable oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Place the chicken in a large cast iron pan and place another heavy cast-iron pan or a brick lined with aluminum foil over the top to weigh the chicken down. Cook in oven for 35 minutes. Set aside to cool. Coat each piece with the salsa verde. Pull the chicken from the bones, and slice.

In a large, heavy-bottom skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sear for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they have a nice char. Add the carrots and radish and season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook for 5 minutes more, tossing occasionally.

To plate, spread out about 1 cup of the rice and beans on each plate. Place the vegetables alongside. Place a 1/4 cup dollop of salsa also alongside the rice and beans. Top the rice and beans with the sliced chicken. Finish with slices of avocado and sprig of cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with warm tortillas.

Salsa verde

Makes 1/2 cup


• 1/2 cup cilantro stems • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• Pinch chile powder
• 1/4 teaspoon cumin
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Directions: Put all the ingredients into a blender (I like Vitamix) and process until smooth.



• 5 Roma tomatoes
• 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
• 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 2 whole garlic gloves
• 1 jalapeño, sliced in half, lengthwise
• 1 spring onion
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Directions: Preheat oven to 450°F.

Toss the tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño, and onion with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and place in a large cast-iron skillet. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. The vegetables should begin to blacken. Remove the pan from the oven, and let cool slightly.

Combine all the ingredients in a blender with the remaining olive oil and salt. Pulse, but leave the vegetables slightly chunky.

Mango with chile


• 2 mangos
• 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 4 tablespoons maple syrup
• 4 pinches chile pepper
• 2 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped

Directions: Using a pairing knife or a peeler, remove the skin from the mango. To slice, remove each pole just enough to reveal the pit. It is shaped like an almond, so slice the 2 large, flat sides off first, and then remove any additional fruit from the sides. Slice the fruit into thin slices.

Place a dollop of yogurt in each bowl and drizzle 1 tablespoon of maple syrup over each. Arrange 1/2 a mango per bowl, sprinkle with a pinch of chile pepper and 1/2 tablespoon of mint.

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