Food love comes in many shapes and sizes. Coming off Thanksgiving dinner where each dish was beauty unto itself while being part of the whole, it’s time to get back to basics. For Mama D cooking is designed to fill the stomach and the soul with love. That it be easy, straight forward, and economical is also a given. If you’ve been following my musings, you know that I do a lot of recipes that are created in one vessel. The time has come to devote a few more words and share a couple of recipes that cook in one pot.
What kind of love can you create in one vessel? Soup immediately comes to mind and Mama D does a lot of soup. It is perhaps the consummate one pot meal. I’ve shared many Soup Adventures so I will head in a completely different direction.
I’m a fan of the Bar Cookie. While not a meal, at least for most of us, it is created in a single vessel. As the holidays thunder towards us, cookie baking will be a common occurrence. i usually don’t make bar cookies at Christmas, but the rest of the year they are my go to sweet. They mix quickly and there’s only one pan to bake. It’s sweet perfection.
This recipe came from a woman’s magazine sometime in the mid 70’s. I made it several times back then and relegated it to my metal recipe box. Low and behold on a recent flip through the box I found it again. I had all the ingredients on hand and felt the need for homemade brownies, so I dusted it off and popped it in the oven. Though it was made using two mixing bowls, it qualifies as one pan, because that’s how it bakes. (Mama D Rule)
Over the years One Dish Meals have been a staple in Mama D’s Kitchen. Stews, Casseroles, Skillets, and who can forget Slumgullion? There are a handful of dishes in my arsenal that result in ultimate kudos from my family. Surprisingly the number one dish in my sons’ eyes is Barbecue (or not) Pork Fried Rice. Being almost fatally Italian, that hurts a little, but I have to admit I like it too. It has a number of comfort food qualities. It has a significant starch factor with the rice. The savory flavor of the sauce creates that Umami sensation that is so intriguing. Finally the slightly chewy rice, crusted bits of pork, and the crunch of the green onions make each bite a perfect mouthful.
This recipe takes a little extra time for preparation. The rice needs to be cooked al dente the night before. This is to insure that the grains stay separate in the frying. The meat which is leftover pork of one cut or another, gets marinated overnight in Asian goodness. When the final preparation happens it’s about 30 minutes. Just enough time to have a glass of wine as you stir.
I originally made this dish with leftover barbecued pork steak or country ribs (hence the name). That is still my first choice but, any leftover cooked pork will work. Pork Loin roast is a great alternative. It’s lean, cubes easily and holds up to what will be a fairly hot and long cook. Whatever seasonings were in the original cooking of the pork will virtually disappear in the marinating process.
This Fried Rice packs some heat. The spice is provided by Fresh Chili and Garlic Sauce, It is the chunky cousin of Sriracha Sauce and the step brother of Sambal. It is available in most grocery stores and can be used anywhere you want to kick the heat up. Use as much or as little of this as you like. Five Spice Powder gives that Asian flavor to the dish. This spice blend is made of Star Anise, Cloves, Chinese Cinnamon, Sichuan Peppercorns, and Fennel Seeds. You can find it in most spice sections or you can make it yourself. I actually prefer the store-bought. These are joined by Hoisin Sauce which is also readily available. It has a sweet, salty, slightly earthy taste and is occasionally called “Chinese Ketchup”. These ingredients are where we get Umami ( the fifth basic taste that can be translated as “pleasant savory taste”) in this dish.
As this blog grows, I’m sure that more one dish adventures will be continue to show up from time to time. I’m guessing that there are more single vessel fans out there. I’d love to hear about your One Pan Wonder. Love, Mama D