THE savoury recipes today can all be made using one large saucepan with a lid.
I would usually use a cast iron pot for these types of dishes.
The heavy pot will help prevent burning and allow the heat to build up and then be retained.
Most cast iron saucepans also look quite nice, so they double up as a serving dish, which means less washing-up.
Another great advantage of all of these dinner dishes is that they taste even better the next day when the flavours have had a chance to blend together.
If you are nervous about seasoning a whole pot of any of them, take a bit aside, season that portion gradually and when you are happy apply the same proportion of seasoning to your main dish.
Although it takes a little longer it is a safer way of adding salt when you are unsure.
This is particularly relevant in the dish with ingredients such as olives, chorizo, capers or similar ingredients that contain a lot of salt in their own right and the saline amounts can often differ greatly.
The chicken dish is cooked on the bone as this retains so much more flavour than without.
The dish forms its own stock as it is cooking as the bones release their flavours.
By using the legs rather than the breast you will also increase the flavour in stews such as this.
Brown meat of a chicken has always been my favourite, its flavour I find is far superiour to the breast.
Brown meat pieces, which are sold as either whole legs, drumsticks, which is the lower half of the leg, or thighs do take marginally longer to cook, so do keep an eye on them.
The safest way to check if the chicken is properly cooked is to stick a skewer into the fattest part of the meat.
The juices should run completely clear.
Meat thermometers are handy instruments if you roast meat regularly, it takes away all the guesswork and provides much more accurate results.
Test the thickest part of the meat, away from bones, for the most accurate reading.
The beef stew recipe is the long slow cook which allows the meat to tenderise and soften and builds up a rich intense flavour.
It is a perfect dish for a weekend afternoon and will fill the house with appetising, savoury smells.
The juniper berries add a nice aromatic hint to the dish, you can leave these out if you wish, but I think they elevate the flavour.
Beef one pot with juniper
Heat the oil over a gentle heat in an oven proof dish, which you have a lid for.
Sauté the onion, garlic, carrots and rosemary for 10 minutes, until they have all softened.
You can add a knob of butter as well as the oil if you wish.
Stir in the cinnamon, chilli and juniper berries.
Stir in the flour until it has all combined then add the puree and stock a little at a time so they all blend together.
Add the beef to the pot and place into an oven heated to 160 degrees for two hours.
Taste and season.
Place back into the oven with the lid removed and allow further cooking, about 30 minutes, until the meat is completely tender and the sauce has thickened.
Serve with mash or rice.
Sausage stew with fennel and lentils
Heat your oil in a heavy saucepan and sauté the onion until completely soft.
Add the sausages and garlic and fry until the sausage pieces have browned all over. Stir in the fennel.
Now add the fennel seeds, chilli flakes, wine, stock and lentils.
Bring to a gentle boil and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes until the sausages are cooked through.
Taste and season.
Chicken on the bone with red peppers and tomato
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, that you have a lid for, and brown the chicken all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Heat some more oil and sauté the onion until soft.
Add the garlic, chilli and pepper slices and sauté until the peppers have softened.
Add the tomato puree, honey and tin of tomatoes to the pan. Quarter fill the tomato tin with water and add that too.
Allow to bubble away with the lid off for ten minutes. Taste and season.
Place the chicken pieces back into the sauce and cover with a lid.
Gently simmer for about half an hour until the meat is cooked through.
I would generally serve this with some rice and a spoon of lemon zest creme fraiche on top.
Dark chocolate with sea salt crackles
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees
Melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over a saucepan of boiling water.
Be careful not to let any steam from the water into the chocolate or it will not melt to the correct consistency.
Set it aside to cool down a little.
In the meantime sieve the flour, coco, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.
Mix the butter and brown sugar in a mixer until pale and fluffy.
Mix in eggs then the melted chocolate. Reduce speed and mix in flour in two batches alternating with the milk.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate until it is firm.
Divide it into about 30 balls about one inch in diameter.
Roll in the granulated sugar to coat, then also in icing sugar.
Space the balls two inches apart on baking tray lined with baking parchment.
Bake until the surfaces crack, about 15 minutes or so.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved