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Geoffrey Zakarian, co-host of "The Kitchen," shares his easy, versatile and delish one-pot dish that can basically be made with whatever protein, vegetables and herbs you have sitting around—hence the name, garbage stew. (Rach had a good laugh over that.) "Spring-clean your fridge and have fun!" he says. 

For more popular recipes from Geoffrey, check out his Braised Short Ribs with Egg Noodles and Mixed Berry and Greek Yogurt "Fool."  


  • One 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • ½ cup salsa or canned tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken stock (depending on how many chicken thighs you use)
  • 2 teaspoons lemongrass paste
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste
  • ½ cup roughly chopped mixed soft herbs, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (or whatever protein you have in your fridge or freezer)
For the Vegetables (Geoffrey gives rough amounts based on what he had lying around, but feel free to swap in whatever you have in your kitchen):
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • ½ white onion, medium diced
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato, medium diced
  • ½ cup cubed butternut squash (optional)
  • ¾ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 to 2 cups packed spinach
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
To Serve:
  • Cooked rice


Serves: 4 to 6


Preheat your oven to 350°F. 

In a large bowl, combine coconut milk, salsa, chicken stock, lemongrass paste, ginger paste and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.  

Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and sear in the pan, skin-side down, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the skin is golden. Remove chicken from the pan and transfer to a plate, keeping the pan over the heat.  

Add all the vegetables and garlic and bay leaf to the drippings in the pan. If it looks dry, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons olive oil. Continue to cook until the vegetables have taken on some color, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

Add the chicken thighs back to the pan, skin-side up, on top of the vegetables. Pour the coconut milk mixture over the chicken and vegetables.  

Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until chicken and vegetables are cooked through. Garnish with more fresh herbs, if desired, and serve over rice.