Darina Allen: One Pot Feeds All...

Darina Allen: One Pot Feeds All...

One Pot Feeds All… my 19th cookbook has just arrived in shops around the country. There I am, smiling off the front cover. 

Silver grey hair and a new pair of specs as opposed to my brown locks and red glasses of the Simply Delicious era. 

I couldn’t have imagined then that I would be still writing cookbooks and loving it 30 years later. I still have so many delicious tips and recipes to share.

I can’t imagine why it took me so long to write One Pot Feeds All, it’s been bubbling away in my subconscious for years.

It must be over a decade now since we first added a One Pot Wonders course to our schedule at Ballymaloe Cookery School.

From the word go it was a big hit and its enduring popularity is a sure sign that this kind of cooking is here to stay as the pace of life continues to ratchet up.

So this book is for all of you who really want to cook delicious wholesome food for yourselves and those you love but find it virtually impossible to keep all the balls in the air, battling home through rush hour traffic, dashing into the shops to grab some ingredients and then doing your best to cook from scratch, in full knowledge that beautiful freshly cooked produce has the best flavour and is super nutritious.

For growing numbers of people, it’s simply not possible, yet we know that if we don’t manage to get healthy nourishing wholesome food on the table to keep the family healthy, happy and bouncing with energy, we’ll spend the money on supplements and meds. But what to do?

Well, hopefully this book will provide some solutions. 

I’ve collected my favourite one-pot dishes, some time-honoured favourites honed over the years, others developed more recently while we were testing recipes specifically for this book.

Everything had to be cooked in one pot so, against my better judgment, on my food editor’s suggestion, I experimented with some one-pot pasta dishes and was amazed at how successful they were. 

By increasing the liquid in some other dishes, I discovered that I could add rice, pearl barley, orzo and beans to the various pots with delicious results – so you really can get your whole meal from one dish. 

Of course, you can still cook them separately, if you like, but believe me this one-pot method works brilliantly.

One Pot Feeds All has lots and lots of brilliant recipes for college students, who often have very limited cooking facilities. 

For this kind of cooking you just need one fine sturdy pot with a tight fitting lid and off you go. What’s not to love about one pot cooking, for a start there’s less washing up… 

It’s a brilliant option if you don’t have much time and there’s no longer any need to feel guilt ridden.

Not all students will have access to an oven but for those who do, there are so many brilliant ideas for dishes to cook in a roasting tin or gratin dish. 

An electric slow cooker or crockpot is also worth considering as part of your kitchen kit, perfect for slow cooking and gentle braises and of course for making stock.

I have many delicious recipes to share with you. 

I hope you are going to love this book, I loved writing it, every word, originally in long hand – here are a few recipes to give you a flavour of the eclectic recipes inside.

Black-eyed bean, pumpkin and chickpea stew

One of the very best vegetarian one-pot dishes. What’s not to like about black-eyed beans, chickpeas and pumpkin with lots of spices? 

Delicious on its own, but equally good with a roast chicken or a few lamb chops. 

Eat with flatbreads or pilaff rice, if you prefer.

Serves 6

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 x 2.5cm cinnamon stick

150g onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

225g fresh mushrooms, sliced approx 3mm thick

450g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut in 2cm cubes

400g fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped or 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground turmeric

A pinch of sugar

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

450g cooked black-eyed beans, strained (reserving the cooking liquid)

225g cooked chickpeas, strained (reserving the cooking liquid)

1 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp chopped coriander

For the mint yogurt

300ml natural yogurt

1 tbsp chopped mint leaves

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over a medium-high heat. When it is hot, put in the cumin seeds and the cinnamon stick. 

Let them sizzle for 5–6 seconds, then add the onions and garlic. Stir-fry for 3–4 minutes until the onion is just beginning to colour at the edges. 

Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms wilt, then add the pumpkin or squash, tomatoes, ground coriander, cumin and turmeric, a pinch of sugar and the cayenne. 

Cook for one minute, stirring, then cover with a lid and cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and tip in the drained beans and chickpeas. Add the salt and pepper, together with 2 tablespoons of coriander. 

Pour in 150ml of bean cooking liquid and 150ml of the chickpea liquid (or 300ml vegetable stock if you’ve used tinned pulses). 

Return to the boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans and chickpeas are tender.

To make the mint yogurt, combine the yogurt with the chopped mint in a bowl.

Remove the cinnamon stick from the pan before serving and sprinkle with the remaining coriander. 

Spoon into serving bowls and top with a dollop of the mint yogurt. 

Accompany with a good green salad and rice, if you wish.

Chocolate fudge pudding with toasted hazelnuts and Frangelico cream

Chocolate puddings run neck and neck with apple tarts as people’s favourite dessert. My version is wickedly rich with a melting texture. 

It should be moist and gooey in the centre, so don’t overcook it or it will be disappointing and dull. 

This one is surprisingly good served cold.

Serves 6–8

150g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

150g good-quality chocolate (I use 52% cocoa solids)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

150ml warm water

100g caster sugar

4 organic, free-range eggs

25g self-raising flour

To serve

Icing sugar, to dust

225ml softly whipped cream or crème fraîche mixed with 1 tablespoon Frangelico hazelnut liqueur

A few toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and grease a 1.2-litre pie dish with a little butter.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt with the butter in a Pyrex bowl set over a pan of hot, but not simmering, water. 

As soon as the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Stir in the warm water and sugar and mix until smooth.

Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks into the chocolate mixture. Then fold in the sifted flour, making sure there are no lumps.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and then gently fold them into the chocolate mixture. 

Pour the chocolate mixture into the buttered dish.

Put the dish in a bain-marie and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 10 minutes. 

Then reduce the temperature to 160°C/gas mark 3 for a further 15–20 minutes or until the pudding is firm on top, but still soft and fudgy underneath and saucy at the base.

Set aside to cool slightly before dusting with icing sugar. 

Serve warm or cold sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts with Frangelico cream or crème fraîche alongside.

Roast cauliflower with saffron and bay leaves and crispy chicken

This roast cauliflower is delicious on its own but also pretty irresistible with some spicy chicken drumsticks. 

Look out for pul biber, not too hot but really aromatic. I fell in love with them on my first trip to Turkey.

Serves 4

Darina Allen: One Pot Feeds All...

4–8 organic, free-range chicken thighs or drumsticks, depending on size

extra virgin olive oil

½–1 tsp rosemary, chopped

2 pinches of saffron strands

1 large or 2 small cauliflowers (approx. 1kg), leaves snapped off*, head broken into small florets, stalk roughly chopped

2 medium onions, finely sliced

1 tbsp pul biber or a good pinch of dried chilli flakes

3 bay leaves

50g sultanas, soaked in hot water to plump up

50g almonds, coarsely chopped

Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

2 tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

4 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal

*Good to know: The leaves are also delicious roasted, add them a little later.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.

Slash the chicken drumsticks. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. 

Sprinkle with chopped rosemary, toss and arrange in a single layer in a roasting tin. 

Roast for 30–45 minutes, depending on size, while you prepare the cauliflower.

Put the saffron into a little bowl, cover it with a couple of teaspoons of boiling water and leave it to steep. 

Put the cauliflower, onions, chilli flakes and bay leaves into a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Once the saffron has steeped, add to the cauliflower mixture with the drained sultanas and almonds. 

Transfer to the roasting tin and cover loosely with parchment paper to protect from burning. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the parchment and roast for a further 10–15 minutes until the edges are nicely caramelised, the cauliflower is tender and the chicken is cooked. 

Turn into a shallow serving dish.

Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and spring onion. Serve.

Roman chicken and chips with rosemary and thyme

Another dish that family and friends love me to cook for them. A whole roasting tray of crispy chicken and potatoes, perfumed with rosemary and thyme leaves. 

My lips are smacking just thinking about it.

Serves 8–10

2kg organic, free-range chicken thighs, drumsticks and wings

2–3 tbsp thyme leaves

1–2 tbsp chopped rosemary

1.1kg (about 10 large) potatoes

Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

250g onions, sliced

Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 230C/gas mark 8.

Season the chicken heavily with salt and pepper. Put into a large bowl and scatter with the thyme leaves and chopped rosemary, reserving some for the potatoes. Toss well.

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1cm-thick chips. Dry and season well with salt, freshly ground black pepper and the reserved thyme and chopped rosemary.

Add to the bowl with chicken. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss once again.

Scatter the sliced onions over the base of a roasting tin, approx. 37 x 31 x 2cm, or two smaller tins approx. 30 x 20 x 2.5cm. 

Arrange the chicken and potatoes haphazardly on top, making sure that the potatoes are popping up. 

Drizzle with a little more olive oil.

Roast for 45 minutes–1 hour or until the chicken is cooked through and the chips are crispy at the edges. (Organic chicken pieces are larger, so cooking time can be up to 1¼ hours.)

Serve from the tin, family style, with a good green salad and several vegetables of your choice, if you wish.

Good to know: One can add a little hot homemade chicken stock at the end if the dish needs a little more juice.

Hot Tips

Learn the secrets of One Pot Cooking…

We’re adding a second, One Pot Wonders Course to our Autumn schedule (the first date booked out).

It’s a one-day course, two demonstrations, you’ll learn 14 or more dishes and of course enjoy a delicious lunch and a taste of everything we cook. 

Saturday, November 9, from 9.30am to 5pm. Book your place now on cookingisfun.ie

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