If you are going to do a lot of cooking in just one pot, make it a good one. There’s no point in planning a pot-roast for the whole family, only to find you haven’t got a big enough pan, or that the one you have has a wobbly base. It is equally irritating to discover that your only decent casserole has a crack in it, or can only be used in the oven and not on top of the stove. Choose your cookware with care; it is worth investing in good quality equipment that will last.
Above: Frying pans with metal handles can be used under the grill (broiler) and in the oven.
Pots and Pans:
When you are buying cooking equipment it is very tempting to opt for a set of shiny pans, rather than individual items that might suit your purposes – and your personal circumstances –better. For one-pot cooking you need a large pan with heavy base, which will conduct the heat evenly and help to prevent the food from scorching should you inadvertently allow the amount of liquid to get too low. A good quality stainless-steel pan would be an excellent choice, but it is important to choose one with an aluminium or copper base, since stainless steel dose not conduct heat well. For long slow cooking, cast-iron pans coated in vitreous enamel, are ideal, as they can also be used in the oven. When buying a frying pan, choose one with a heavy base, when cooking a frittata or a dessert such as tarte tatin, it is essential to use a frying pan with a handle that can withstand the heat of the grill (broiler) or oven; a point worth considering when you are buying a new frying pan.
Below: woks have either one or two handles.
Above: a large pot with metal handles can be used on
top of the stove and in the oven.
One of the most useful items in the kitchen, the wok need not be reserved solely for stir-frying. It is the ideal pan for quick-cooked creamy dishes such as beef Stroganoff. The wok can also be used for making a risotto. Woks that have a flat base can be used on all types of cooker. They can have either one or two handle. Those with two handles are good for deep-frying and general cooking, while the wok with one handle is designed especially for stir-frying. The single handle makes the wok easy to pick up so that the ingredients can be stirred and tossed in the wok at the same time.
For one-pot cooking choose a casserole that is big enough to serve six, even if you usually cook for four. This will give you plenty of room for stirring the contents without risking splashes and scalds. The ideal pot will be one that can be used on pot of the stove as well as inside it, so that if you do need to do any pre-cooking, or if cooking juices need to be reduced by boiling, you will not need a second container. If you buy several casseroles, very the shapes as the size. For cooking a whole chicken, for instance, an oval is more useful than a round dish. Look at the handles, too. It is important that they do not become so hot that they are liable to burn you, even when you are using an oven glove. Appearance will obviously be a consideration, since you will be serving straight from the casserole, but consider practical aspects too.
Above: When buying casseroles, it is a good idea to choose
different shapes and sizes.
There are plenty of one-pot recipes that benefit from being cooked in large shallow dishes, from oven roasted vegetables to layered potato bakes, buy several different shapes, bearing in mind the size of your oven. Having two rectangular dishes that will fit side by side can be a real boon if you want to cook one meal for serving immediately and another for the freezer.
You will also find it useful to have six or eight ovenproof dishes, for baking single portions, such as individual soufflés and oven-baked desserts.
Above: Choose two ovenproof baking dishes that will fit next to each other in your oven.