One-pot and clay-pot cooking
One-pot and clay-pot cooking:
You can still take advantage of the benefits that a slow cooker bring by making meals cooked in just one pot, whether it be a large casserole dish, a clay baking dish or a wok. Nourishing soups, delectable stews, spicy stir fries, robust roasts, creamy risottos and citrus custards all can be cooked in one-pot dishes. They are easy to prepare, a pleasure to serve and the perfect choice for family and friend.
As with the slow cooker, cooking in a single pot is wonderfully liberating. All that is needed is a bit of leisurely preparation, and then the cook can relax, secure in the knowledge that there will be no last-minute sauces to make, and no tricky toppings to produce. Serving a selection of side dishes would defeat the object of one-pot cooking (and is largely unnecessary when vegetable are included anyway), so you have the perfect excuse for offering only the simplest accompaniments, sparing yourself the everything ready at precisely the same time.
Above: – A whole chicken cooked with forty cloves of garlic makes the perfect pot-roast,
and it, like other one-pot dishes, needs little attention once it is in the oven.
One-pot dishes will seldom spoil if not eaten the moment they are ready. Some, like curries and casseroles, actually improve if made the before, so that all the flavours can bed down together and blend. Stir-fries, pasta and rice dishes need last-minute cooking, but if the preparation is done on advance, the effort is minimal.
This style of cooking is perfect for everyone from single students to those cooking for a large family. The meal can be cooked in the oven, on top of the stove or even in a free-standing appliance like a microwave oven or electric frying pan. There’s very little washing up, and if there are any leftovers, you may well be able to transform them into tasty pie fillings, simply by sandwiching them inside ready-rolled puff pastry or filo.
The benefits of one-pot clay-pot cooking:
One-pot cooking can also be extremely healthy, especially if you use a clay pot, which ensures that vitamins and minerals are retained. This ancient form of cooking seals in all the food’s natural juices by enclosing it in a porous clay container that has been soaked in water. As the container heats up, the water turns to steam, keeping the contents beautifully moist and tender. The only other liquid is that which come from the food itself, so the full flavor of the food can be appreciated.
Above: -Paella a classic one-pot seafood and rice dish from spain,
is traditionally cooked in a shallow two-handled pan.
There’s nothing new about cooking in clay. Thousands of years ago, hunters discovered that coating small birds and animals in clay before banking them in an open fire kept the meat juice and prevented it from burning. Chipping off the clay and throwing it away was wasteful and time-consuming however. Clay pots were a huge improvement, and this material was used by many of the ancient civilization. Today, Clay pots based on ancient designs are still widely used all over the word. In North Africa, it is the conical tagine; in China, the sand pot; in Span, the cazuela; and in France the daubiere and tian.
Below: Clay pots come in a whole host of sizes and shapes.
These tiny shallow cazuelas can be used to bake individual
portions of both savoury and sweet tarts, roasted vegetable and custards.
Using this book:
Ideal for the first-time slow-cooker user as well as the more experienced slow-cooker fan, this book also offers practical advice and plenty more recipes that can be cooked just on the hob in any large pan or slowly in the even in a clay pot. It contains wonderfully detailed reference section with everything you need to know about ingredients, equipment and techniques, so that you can feel completely confident.
Once you have mastered the basic turn to the recipe chapter for a selection of all-time classics as well as unusual recipes that are sure to become household fevourites. Step-by-step photographs show the key preparation stages of each recipe to give successful result every time. For each type of dish there is a chapter devoted to slow cooker recipe followed by a chapter for one-pot and clay-pot recipe so that you cn easily find recipe to suit your chosen method of cooking.
Above: The tall, conical tagine from North Africa is one of the many
ancient clay pot designs that are still widely used today.
Most recipe are based on a family of four people, but if you have a small or large slow cooker or pan the quantities can easily be halved to serve two, or doubled for eight. All recipes have been thoroughly tested, but it is important to another. After trying a few recipes, you will know whether your slow cooker is faster or slower and you will be able to adjust the recipe cooking times accordingly.
Below: A glazed clay pot ensures that the flavours don’t soak into
the pot, which means that it can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes.