People seem to think that the only way to have a delicious one-pot meal is to make a dish like a stew, or put various items in a slow cooker. Of course, it is easier to use only one-pan to cook the entire meal.
But there is, in my opinion, a much more delicious alternative, one heavily used in traditional cooking. One that is very simple. When you roast meat or poultry, add vegetables to the pan.
Many people never roast vegetables in the same pan as the roast, because they have been taught to always use a metal rack when roasting. I almost always roast vegetables in the same pan as the roast, and I do not use metal racks for roasting.
Both the roast and the vegetables are so much better when this tradition is followed.
You do not need a metal rack for roasting
Most modern cookbooks claim that you should always use a rack for roasting, which is not what our ancestors did. Using a metal rack prevents you from roasting vegetables together with the roast, and from basting the roast with the drippings. It is also not necessary.
I agree that it is usually better not to set the meat of the roast directly on the pan, but I have a better alternative, one used in many traditional cuisines. Set the roast on its own bones, if it has them, or set the roast on a bed of vegetables. My cookbook Tender Grassfed Meat, uses this delicious technique in most oven roast recipes.
Use Good Fat
This technique works only if there is enough fat in the pan. This means greasing the pan with butter or animal fat. The fat cap, the natural fat covering the meat, gives great flavor and tenderness. If your roast does not have much of a fat cap, baste it with butter, or beef tallow, or natural pork lard, or any good animal fat. The fat in the pan will mingle with the juices released by the meat as it roasts, caramelizing the vegetables, and giving them incredible flavor.
Use a Variety of Vegetables
I roast onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, carrots, celery, leeks, green onions, garlic, apples, and other similar vegetables and fruits. The trick is to use vegetables that will not release too much liquid into the pan. Apples and onions will release small amounts of liquid, that will provide incredible flavor. I will usually use several vegetables. When I do this I have a complete meal.
Turn the Vegetables
The vegetables should be turned over at least once, so both sides will be cooked in the fat and juices.
Use High Enough Heat
If you only roast at a low temperature, the vegetables will not cook properly. At least part of the roasting time should be at a temperature of 300 degrees or more. My roast recipes in Tender Grassfed Meat are designed so vegetables can be successfully roasted along with the meat.
Baste the Roast with the Drippings
One of the greatest benefits of roasting vegetables with the meat is the wonderful drippings they provide. Throughout history, people have basted roasting meat with pan drippings. Even if meat was cooked on a spit, in front of a fire, a drip pan was placed to catch the drippings, so they could be used to baste the meat, and for gravy.
The roasting vegetables release juices that mingle with the meat juices and the fat in the pan to provide drippings that have incredible flavor, intense and wonderful, that is perfect for basting and making gravy. Just basting the roast once or twice with these super delicious drippings will give incredible flavor to the meat.
This is a delicious tradition that has become standard practice in my kitchen—so easy, so delicious.
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