8 one-pot recipes
Keep it fuss (and mess) free with these tasty one-pot recipes
I learnt long ago that if you want to eat well you need to think ahead and that doesn’t just mean that the only thing you make is a reservation somewhere. If a stew cooks itself, simmering away on the stove top, or a casserole gets a good braise in the oven, then this is a good use of my time because I can be doing something else.
I read recipes right through before I cook them so I understand what has to happen and how I can do it efficiently. Dishes that look after themselves, can be cooked in stages or are to be reheated, are easily fitted into a busy schedule. The cliched hype about being “time poor” doesn’t work.
I doubt anyone has ever had time for anything in the whole of recorded history, what people do is prioritise what is important to them. If good food is important to you then you will probably fit good cooking in there as well.
Or you could be of the not-interested persuasion like American writer Nora Ephron’s mother who Ephron described as being “a good recreational cook, but what she basically believed about cooking was that if you worked hard and prospered, someone else would do it for you”. Good luck with that.
Convenience without sacrificing quality is important and what could be better than a good meal cooked using one pan (perhaps with the addition of a green vegetable side or a salad). I try to keep my everyday kitchen activities as simple and gadget-free as possible so a one pan meal is perfect, so little to clean up.
Make a non-stir risotto, (only works using a well structured rice like Ferron brand carnaroli or Vialone nano varieties). If you make it with plenty of vegetables and some protein then dinner is done.
Heat extra virgin olive oil in a risotto pan over moderate heat and add plenty of finely chopped onion, garlic, sliced celery, carrots, button mushrooms, leeks, diced pancetta or bacon, lemon zest, a large sprig of fresh thyme and a bay leaf. Fry 10 minutes until the onion is soft, add the rice and mix well. Add a big splash of white wine and let it evaporate as you stir the rice and vegetables. Add twice as much hot stock as rice, bring to the boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until the rice is al dente and the mixture thick. Beat in some butter and parmesan, taste, season and it’s done. Leave out the pancetta or bacon and up the cheese for the vegetarian version.
Slow fry finely chopped onion, lots of finely chopped garlic and ginger, some cumin seeds, a cinnamon stick and a large pinch of chilli flakes (or more to taste) in vegetable oil until the onion is soft. Add diced free range boneless chicken thighs and 4cm chunks of peeled potatoes and pumpkin. Mix well and fry until hot then add some ground turmeric and a can of chopped tomatoes in juice. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in baby spinach leaves or blanched, sliced silverbeet leaves. Taste, season with salt and a little lemon juice and serve with warm flatbread and plain yoghurt.
Marinate 2cm diced pork shoulder in a little Japanese soy sauce, oyster sauce, sliced chilli, lots of finely chopped garlic and ginger and a little vegetable oil. Stir-fry this until browned (don’t burn it) then add soaked drained sliced Chinese dried mushrooms and the soaking water and lots of halved green beans and sweet stem broccoli. Mix well and stir-fry until the beans and broccoli are cooked but still crisp. Stir in plenty of thick rice noodles which have been boiled for about 4 minutes in a saucepan of water and well drained. Stir in a big handful of mung bean sprouts and some coriander sprigs and serve with extra soy sauce and some sweet chilli sauce.
Butterfly a whole chicken by cutting down each side of the backbone with kitchen shears and snipping through the breast cartilage then opening the chicken out flat. Place skin side up in a roasting dish and put chopped onion, garlic and lots of peeled 4cm diced agria potatoes around it. Sprinkle plenty of finely diced preserved lemon, black olives and chopped anchovies over everything. Add a splash of dry white wine and chicken stock to almost cover the chicken and potatoes. Place in a 200C oven for an hour, basting occasionally, remove from the oven and serve with a big bowl of boiled frozen peas which have been tossed with lemon juice and zest and chopped mint.
Into a deep ovenproof casserole, put whole lamb shanks, lots of chopped onion, carrot, celery, lemon zest, squashed garlic cloves, and beef stock, white wine and a can of cherry tomatoes in juice to cover. Place in a 190C oven and forget about it for 3 hours or until the meat is almost falling off the bones of the lamb shanks. Taste the broth, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with well seasoned, thinly sliced savoy cabbage sautéed quickly over high heat with some extra virgin olive oil and fennel seeds. Reheats well.
Slow fry in extra virgin olive oil in a deep frying pan, chopped onion, fennel, carrots, celery, lemon zest, a pinch of saffron threads and some chilli flakes. Add 3cm diced agria potatoes and enough vegetable or chicken stock to just cover everything. Simmer 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender then add firm white fish fillets, live mussels and/or raw peeled prawns. Simmer until the seafood is just cooked. Stir in some thawed frozen peas and simmer for a couple of minutes. Serve with crusty bread.
Slice lots of raw pork sausages and pan fry in a little extra virgin olive oil with chopped garlic, sage leaves and green olives until the sausages are cooked and browned. Add plenty of bought, boiled, drained potato gnocchi and fry until the gnocchi is hot and browned. Add some tomato passata, mix well, cook until thick, taste and season. Serve with plenty of parmesan and steamed green beans.
In a wok over moderate heat, stir-fry diced ham, onion, celery, garlic, ginger and chilli, until the onion is soft. Add plenty of leftover steamed long grain rice, Japanese soy sauce and a little water. Stir-fry until the rice is hot then add mung bean sprouts, thawed frozen peas, sliced green beans, thinly sliced iceberg lettuce and several beaten eggs. Mix well, stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, taste and season with salt. Servewith chilli sauce and soy sauce on the side.