A lot of guys like one-pot meals because they’re just easy. You’ve got your whole meal–your meat, your veggies, your carbs–all in one place. No need to wash extra pans or dishes–simple.
For me, there’s also something more homey and rustic about a good one-pot dish. It’s something primal that calls to mind previous generations crowded around an open fire with a single cast-iron cooking vessel or an animal turning on a wooden spit.
Whether you’re still a caveman or you’ve evolved to an advanced yuppy state, every guy should have a few go-to dishes he can cook. Here are three easy one-pot meals that are essential to a guy’s culinary repertoire.
Chili has a way of bringing people together in a way that few other dishes can. There are hundreds, if not thousands of chili cook-offs all over the country each year, and it’s a universal truth that any firehouse you visit will have its own “best in the world” chili recipe.
Which is pretty funny if you think about it. Why chili? It could have just as easily been soup, right? (“The fire chief makes a mean salmon bisque!”).
First, it’s probably because chili is a good, solid belly-filler. Packed with meat and (for most non-Texan recipes) hearty beans and tomatoey goodness.
It might also be that chili is a great blank canvas for cooks to express themselves. Taking the basic chili recipe, you can endlessly tweak to create all kinds of variations: from increasing or decreasing the heat to doubling up on the meat (may I suggest bacon?) to sweetening it up with additions like creamed corn.
Here’s a basic recipe, which is a good place to start.
2. Beef and Guinness Stew
There’s nothing better on a cold winter night than a hearty beef stew. It takes a little more patience, but the end result is usually spectacular. For the best success, you should use tougher, fattier cuts of meat that will need some time to break down and tenderize.
As the meat is slowly softening, the other ingredients are simmering in its juices and making a rich, lovely gravy. While a classic beef stew wouldn’t include Guinness, it’s a welcome addition here–adding a friendly malty and toasty dimension to the sauce. Check out the recipe.
3. Stir fry
The first stir fry recipe I ever used came off the back of a box of corn starch. And ever since then, it’s become a go-to dish for me.
It’s one of the fastest and easiest ways to make a super healthy meal on the weeknight. In that respect it’s kind of the polar opposite of stew. But once you master the basic formula, it’s also an awesome way to use up random ingredients in your fridge. Here’s a basic recipe that you can tweak to suit your tastes…or the contents of your fridge.