One-pot meal is a term we often hear. But other than the literal definition, how do we define its importance to our food and culture – and why is it always so good?
Many cultures have a traditional way of cooking a favorite recipe in one vessel. It might be a stew or a braise, in a Dutch Oven, tagine, bean or clay pot, cooked directly over a fire or in an oven. It may be a succession of ingredients cooked in a wok, sauteuse or paella pan. What they all have in common is their traditional place at the table or on the street.
The tradition is defined by the historic origins of these dishes. Many one-pot meals were created in very primitive conditions. True statements of culinary creativity, they build flavors in one pot, successively adding ingredients important to the area, and using time to create flavor, texture and richness. Think about a paella made with Arborio rice cooked in rendered fat from preserved pork, with spring vegetables, snails, sausages, herbs and saffron – creating a complex, satisfying dish for a large group of friends and family. Depending on the season and location, dozens of variations on the original are possible.
A one-pot recipe with a balance of flavors, made with a technique not often used by today’s home cooks, will always deliver a craveable, shareable meal.
These methods and ideals are shared by many one-pot meals: New Mexican pork in chile verde, Alsatian choucroute garnie, Kentucky burgoo, Polish bigos, even humble pork and beans. These iconic recipes deliver both emotionally and gastronomically because the one-pot meal is comfort exemplified in any culture.
From stews with complexly layered flavors, to slow cooked, rich braises, chefs are creating one-pot offerings that satisfy the desire for craveable, authentic yet innovative food and they look to pork as the foundation.
See how restaurants around the country are menuing one-pot meals.
This lively LA-based California brasserie is Chef Kris Morningstar’s ode to rustic French classics. True to his mission, the menu features Choucroute Garnie – a filling, soul-warming traditional Alsatian dish comprised of pork loin, crispy jowl, Riesling-braised shank and house-made sausage and sauerkraut.
Chef de Cuisine Dennis Bernard delivers Southern-inspired Mexican cuisine at this Chicago diner. Their traditional Pozole Rojo exemplifies comfort food, perfect for any daypart. The unctuous deep-red pork stew features braised pork shoulder and hominy in a guajillo chile broth served with authentic garnishes of avocado, lime, cabbage, cilantro, radish and crispy tortillas on the side.
Chef Matt Jennings redefines New England staples at his Boston, MA restaurant. His take on the classic clams-and-pork pairing comes across in his one-pot dish combining Mahogany clams and smoked pork shoulder in a sweet corn and fennel broth.
When it comes to one-pot dishes, Asian hot pots embody the principles of comfort and authenticity chefs want to share with guests. At this Chicago, IL spot, Chef Mark Hellyar menus Curry Udon – a hearty, warming noodle dish combining ground pork with Japanese curry, futo udon noodles and shishito peppers.
In San Francisco, CA, Chef David Barzelay promotes a communal dining experience. Dishes aim to please American palates while being intrinsically delicious and familiar. Chef Barzelay does just that with his Charred Onion Broth with country ham, egg yolk, apple and scallion.
Porcellino’s Craft Butcher
Chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman are the forces behind this community butcher shop, sundry store and restaurant in Memphis, TN. The dinner menu features a modern spin on southern potlicker – dumplings with pork belly and collard greens nestled in a rich, spicy ‘nduja broth.
Chefs Matt Danzar and Ann Redding have mastered balancing flavors at this Thai rotisserie and grill, and it shines in their Gaeng Som Muu. This light, refreshing stew satisfies body and soul with a combination of grilled pork jowl with rambutan, salted duck yolk and a Thai herb salad in a tumeric broth.