One Knife, One Pot, One Dish: Simple French Feasts at Home
This book. OMG… this book. I’d marry this cookbook if I could. In case you haven’t guessed, I really, really dig One Knife, One Pot, One Dish. Here’s why — this is a cookbook pared down to its essence. There is absolutely nothing here that doesn’t need to be, and this applies to the dishes but also the book itself.
Chef Stéphane Reynaud runs the Parisian restaurant Villa 9 Trois and prepares beautiful, seasonal French cuisine. But at home, when cooking for family and friends, he likes to serve rustic dishes that take only one pan.
Most dishes are cooked in either a Dutch oven or a roasting pan, and are made with a short list of ingredients that most people would already have on hand. Okay, maybe you don’t have salmon roe or morels in your pantry all the time, but pretty much everything in every recipe can be had from a decent grocery store or market. Reynaud offers two indexes at the back; one a list of ingredients (right down to herbs and spices such as bay leaves) and one of the dishes indicating both prep and cooking time, so the reader can easily find something quick.
The dishes themselves are just mind-blowing in how awesomely obvious they are. Sunday Night Pasta consists of taking leftover meat, dried pasta, some leftover veg, tossing it all in a baking dish with some stock and cooking for 10 minutes in the oven. See? Kaboom, right?
Other dishes are simple and gorgeously French. Poulet au Lait is literally a chicken with some onions, garlic and milk, roasted for an hour. Sausages with Lentils? All into one pan it goes. Pork and apples? Same deal. Osso Buco, Pot-Au-Feu, Blanquette de Veau… one pot, people. But wait, there’s more. Reynaud has great desserts as well; Apricot Gratin (what we’d call a Frangipane in English), Apple Tart, Bread Pudding, a Pineapple Clafoutis. All in that same pot. Okay, maybe wash it first.
Why am I gushing over this book? Because it makes scary, complicated French cooking easy. Yes, some dishes take a few hours to cook, but the prep is straight-forward, and you don’t need to have mad cheffy skills to get these dishes together. Most recipes have only 3 or 4 steps and those consist of: cut this stuff up, put the pan in the oven. Maybe you take the lid off at a certain point, or pull out meat to let it rest. The most complicated dish is the Coq Au Vin, and even that is the easiest version of Coq Au Vin I’ve ever seen.
Note that this is a mostly meaty collection of recipes. Reynald offers a section of egg dishes and veggie dishes, but this is really about roasting and braising.
Usability: Have I mentioned how much I love this book? Part of that is because of how easy it is to use. Each recipe is in a big, dark font, there is no chatty intro, just an ingredients lists and minimal steps that are separated with a line break and a prep icon (a little knife for chopping, a pan icon for the cooking, etc). Equipment is noted, cooking and prep times are listed, metric measurements are included. Every dish has a lovely photo that clearly shows the finished product in the pot.
One Knife, One Pot, One Dish is a must have for every kitchen, whether the cook is a novice or an expert. I’m keeping this one in my permanent collection because I know I’ll be using it a lot.