Elizabeth Yarnell developed her revolutionary infusion-cooking method to avoid often mushy slow-cooker results and to make cooking and cleaning up after dinner a breeze. Now anyone with too many tasks and not enough time can use her technique to get dinner on the table in an hour or less, with no more than twenty minutes of hands-on prep work—and just one pot to clean. All it takes is a Dutch oven and a few basic fresh or even frozen ingredients layered--never stirred. Glorious One-Pot Meals provides the most convenient method yet of serving highly nutritious, satisfying suppers every night of the week.
|Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed
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Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody. —Samuel Papys
Imagine coming home after a long day, reaching into your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, and—in five to twenty minutes—tossing enough food for an entire meal into a single pot and walking away from the kitchen. A half hour to forty-five minutes later you serve up a scrumptious meal of chicken bathed in a peanut-satay sauce served on rice with a variety of crisp-tender vegetables. Or perhaps succulent scallops tinged with ginger on a bed of chunky sweet potatoes, with an array of mushrooms and broccoli to round out the meal. Sound like a dream?
Our daily lives often seem to run on over-drive, and too frequently a home-cooked, healthy dinner is one of the sacrifices made. We’re too busy to cook properly, we complain. Or perhaps we just don’t know how to cook healthfully, or aren’t even sure we can identify healthy foods beyond lettuce. Surely we all want to feed ourselves and our families nutritious meals so we will live long and healthy lives, but until now there haven’t been many solutions for getting a good, nutritious meal on the table quickly.
It seems that while most people would prefer to eat home-cooked meals, in reality they don’t more often than they do. In fact, 82 percent of Americans say they enjoy preparing food at home and more than half claim they would cook at home more often if it didn’t take so much time. Further, while 65 percent of us say we are trying to eat healthier foods, one-third report not having the time to prepare healthy meals. Part of the problem may be the lack of a good way to cook that meets all our needs for speed, convenience, ease, and nutrition.
This was certainly the problem I faced as a newlywed and business owner diagnosed with a debilitating disease. I wanted to improve my diet and the course of my disease, but I lacked the time and stamina for long, complicated meal-preparation marathons. I wished there were an easier way to cook healthier foods. So I began experimenting and soon discovered a new and different way of cooking that met my needs: I call it infusion cooking.
Infusion cooking refers to using a lidded cast-iron Dutch oven to hold layers of whole foods and flash-cooking them inside a superhot oven for a brief time. No added liquid means that these recipes are not stews but rather complete meals where each item retains its cellular integrity and emerges perfectly intact. The intense heat causes the vegetables to release their moisture, which presses up against the food and infuses it with clean flavors from herbs, spices, and other natural ingredients.
Vegetables stay crisp. Meats are moist. Grains fluff nicely. It’s as if you used three or four pots and pans to create a complete and balanced dinner, only you didn’t have to juggle the timing of different dishes or hover over a hot stove or face a daunting clean-up task. Pretty cool. That’s why I call these recipes Glorious One-Pot Meals: They allow me to serve deliciously healthy dinners with very little effort—a glorious feeling!
Make no mistake: These are not recipes for your slow cooker. You will not find casseroles, skillet meals, stir-fries, or even simmered stews in this cookbook.
Instead, Glorious One-Pot Meals offers a revolutionary new way to think about planning, shopping for, preparing, cooking, and eating dinner. This method is so different that it has been awarded both U.S. (no. 6,846,504) and Canadian (no. 2,401,092) patents. So far, I haven’t discovered any pre- viously published recipes that use this particular cooking technique. I guarantee that you will be amazed at how easy it can be to put together mouthwatering meals in less than half an hour.
First, follow a few recipes to discover how truly easy and delicious Glorious One-Pot Meals can be. Be bold about substituting ingredients as advised. Then take the plunge and become an intuitive cook by creating your own meals out of your favorite foods. Appreciated for its convenience and simplicity, the infusion cooking technique demystifies cooking for those who fear the kitchen, while still offering the textural complexity and depth of flavors demanded by more accomplished chefs.
It has been said that there are only nine cooking methods on this planet: sauté, fry bake, broil, grill, slow-cook, braise, boil, and steam. With infusion cooking, there are now ten. Soon, a cast-iron Dutch oven will be as prevalent as a slow cooker in the battery of utensils available to the home cook.
My focus had been in finding a solution to my problem, not in inventing a new way to cook. However, what resulted may be viewed as the missing link between eating conveniently and eating healthfully. Happy cooking and eating!