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Chop Chop, One Pot

Chop Chop, One Pot

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Make-ahead or make-it-quick? A one-pot dinner makes either choice easy. A stockpot, Dutch oven or slow cooker can be a busy cook’s best friend, and no one’s ever complained about having less dishes to wash.

Learning how to cut different foods into the right shapes for the one-pot recipe at hand is the key to ensuring even cooking and a palatable texture—instead of Mush a la Hodgepodge. Grab your knives and sharpen your cutting skills with these simple tips. Then try them out on the lip-smacking one-pot recipes below.

BASIC CUTS FOR VEGETABLES

For one-pot dinners, these three cutting methods are typically all you’ll need, and CHICAGO CUTLERY® DESIGNPRO™ KNIVES help you handle them with ease.

•Dice: A uniform cut, generally in small (¼-inch), medium (½-inch) or large (¾-inch) sizes. Used for foods like bell peppers and potatoes.
•Chop: Similar to dicing but not uniformly cut. Often recommended for onions, celery and fresh herbs.
•Mince: A fine chop intended to quickly impart the flavor of garlic and shallots. Hold the tip of the knife and use the handle to rock the blade up and down while moving from side to side across the food.

Wondering about cylindrical veggies like carrots or parsnips? Since one-pot meals are usually simmered and slow cooked, you’ll want to keep these a bit chunkier. Thin cuts will breakdown when simmered. It’s best to slice these veggies into thick coins or simply chop them into longer, blunt-cut pieces that will hold up during cooking.

For a quick tutorial of basic cuts, check out our Master the Cut “Sound Like a Pro” infographic.

PREPPING MEAT

Depending on your means of cooking, these two cutting methods work well for most one-pot meals. Looking beyond what’s destined for the pot, chefs also use butterflying and carving techniques for steaks, chops and roasts.

•Cube: A uniform cut, usually in ½- to 1-inch cubes, used with any kind of meat. Perfect for stew and chili.
•Slice: Usually thin (½-inch thickness or less) and always on the bias (or against the grain of the meat). Works best when stir-frying or sautéing.

Deconstructing? Thicker slices of meat cook more slowly and should be used for recipes that call for shredding. Remove when cooked through, shred with two forks, and return to the pot to continue cooking for the ultimate in tenderness.

YOUR TURN:

What’s your go-to one-pot wonder in the colder winter months?