The title of this one really got me. I spent ages labouring over a name, unsure what genre it falls into despite the Shakshuka style and the Spanish influence. I was very close to just calling it a one-pot, but I can’t hide the fact that I actually used two pots to make it. However, spiritually, this dish absolutely feels like a one-pot, as it’s a hearty, strong flavoured, low maintenance recipe that’s eaten straight from the oven dish. So, I’ve piggy-backed that name and called it a two-pot one-pot, I hope that one day, you can find space in your heart to forgive me for that.
Fight the system!
But all this shilly-shallying caused me to sit back and think about the genre of one-pots, and I started wondering why things stop there? Why not two-pot recipes? Or three-pots? Because in the same way that a one-pot implies simplicity, straightforwardness, heartiness and a welcome lack of washing up, going in the opposite direction gives an equally fair impression of complexity, delicacy, finesse and inevitably, increased time at the sink. Recipes could use this marker alongside the traditional serving and time indicators as an additional classification to help prospective cooks decide what recipe to make. It could prove extremely useful, just imagine:
Ballotine of sea trout with a citrus sabayon, hasselback potatoes and terrine of Mediterranean vegetables.Serves 2 as a main course.
Takes about 90 minutes.
Uses 6 pots.
You know, after reading the title of that, I thought mmmmm, that sounds damn gorgeous, I’ll give it a go. But then you see six pots and think WHOA! And once you’re back from counting how many pans and trays you actually own, you either carry on reading, or reconsider.
Take your time…
And when you consider this, you realise that time, on it’s own as a descriptor, can be deceptive. What cook hasn’t tried a “30 minute” recipe which has taken well over an hour? Conversely, there are incredibly simple dishes which might take several hours, with few very ingredients and little input, yet a 2 hour making time sounds intimidating. But when it comes to juggling lots of pots and pans whilst preparing food for each one, that’s when things get stressful.
Now, I don’t want you to think I’m discouraging people from trying complex recipes, people should try whatever food they desire, but it’s all about information and education. Of course we want people to search online and try new recipes, but we want their decision to make that recipe to be an informed and educated one. Complexity beyond ability can achieve many things, it can drive people on to greater things, or it can scare the crap out of them and send them running straight back to McCain’s microChips. As recipe publishers we should do everything we can to help them on their journey.
Now that I’ve been through this, I feel as though I should go back and add a pot-rating to all of my recipes. And I’m interested to know your opinions, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, even if just to confirm that perhaps it is a slightly silly idea after all.
And finally, here’s the headline recipe. It uses two pots and tastes fantastic, served alone or with bread.
Chorizo, spinach and egg two-pot one-pot
By Gavin Wren
Serves 2 as a large main, or 4 with bread
Uses 1 pot
1 chorizo ring (approx. 225g), chopped into slices
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, cut into 1cm chunks
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 can chopped tomatoes
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
260g young spinach
Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the chorizo. Cook for about four minutes until the chorizo has started to colour and there is a light coating of red oil on the base of the pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for three minutes. Add the pepper and smoked paprika and stir well, cook for a further two minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and vinegar and stir well.
Compress the spinach into a 30cm diameter, deep ovenproof dish, then spread the chorizo and tomato mixture over the top of the spinach, covering all of the spinach leaves.
Put in the oven for 10 minutes. Then take it out, make four wells, and crack an egg into each well.
Return to the oven for between 10-15 minutes, checking every few minutes after 10 to see when the eggs are cooked, they should still be slightly wobbly when you take them out.