Nina’s Tips and Techniques: One Pan on the Stove Top

I feel like one-pot meals are always heavy stews – how do I make a lighter, healthier one-pot meal?

One pot, to me, doesn’t mean I throw all my ingredients into one pot and cook it to death. It just means I time each element of my dish so that I can use the same pan or pot to create a delectable meal. For example, while curry is a one-pot dish, so is chicken and asparagus – I simply cook the chicken in the pan, move it to the side and use the same pan to cook the asparagus. If you’re working with flavors that go together then it’s easy to create one-pan meals using just about anything!

I know one-pot meals are trendy because they only make one pan to wash…are there other reasons to make one-pot meals?

Yes! Flavor!! The most tragic thing I see when people cook is when they leave the best, most flavorful, parts of their dish behind in the pan as they move through a recipe. Take my example of chicken and asparagus from above…if I used two pans for that (one for the chicken and one for the asparagus) then what would happen to all the brown chicken bits and chicken fat in the bottom of the chicken pan? The point is that when I cook chicken and then use the same pan to make vegetables, all those flavorful chicken fat and brown bits in the pan are incorporated and that adds tremendous flavor to the dish! It’s why traditional one-pot meals like stews, curries, and soups are so palate-pleasing – because they utilize all the flavors that develop through the cooking process and keep them all contained right there in one pot!

Recipe: Seared Ribeye with Asparagus, White Beans, and Tomatoes