There’s something to be said about diving into a complex recipe, but not everyone has the time or patience to spend hours in the kitchen, especially on a weekday. The art of simplifying recipes without losing their essence can be a valuable skill, whether you’re a culinary newbie or a seasoned home chef.
That being the case, let’s dive in and look at what you can do to simplify those complex recipes right now.
Use prepared ingredients
Take advantage of prepared ingredients available at grocery stores. Minced garlic, diced onions, pre-cut vegetables, pre-cooked grains, canned beans, and store-bought broths can save you significant time. While some may argue that these are not as fresh, the convenience they offer is undeniable and often, the difference in taste is negligible in the finished product.
Master multipurpose techniques
Learning and mastering a few basic cooking techniques can be a game-changer. Techniques such as sautéing, roasting, and braising can be applied to a wide range of ingredients. Once you understand how these techniques work, you can apply them to simplify steps in a complicated recipe, or substitute a more complex technique with a simpler one.
Embrace one-pot recipes
One-pot meals are not just for slow cookers, although you can make amazing recipes like this chicken cacciatore in the slow cooker, and it’s much simpler that way. The beauty of these recipes is that they minimize the number of dishes used, simplifying both the cooking and the cleanup process. They often involve building flavors in layers in the same pot, which can be a great way to simplify a complex recipe while still maintaining depth of flavor.
Choose versatile appliances
Appliances like Instant Pots, air fryers, and countertop grills can reduce cooking time and streamline the process. For instance, an Instant Pot can function as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, and more, often significantly cutting down cooking times.
Simplify flavor profiles
Some recipes have long lists of spices and seasonings that can seem overwhelming. Simplifying these can make the recipe more approachable. For example, instead of eight individual spices, you might use a pre-mixed spice blend that provides a similar flavor profile. While you may lose some nuances, the result can still be delicious and much easier to manage.
Use canned or frozen produce
Don’t underestimate the power of frozen or canned produce. They are usually picked and packed at peak ripeness, and they can save you the time of peeling, chopping, and in some cases, cooking. Frozen spinach or peas, canned tomatoes or corn, or even jarred roasted peppers can be lifesavers in the kitchen.
Prioritize steps and ingredients
Not every step in a complex recipe is crucial. Identify the steps that contribute the most to the dish’s flavor and focus on those. Similarly, if a recipe has a lengthy ingredient list, identify the ones that have the most impact on the final dish and focus on those, while omitting or substituting the less important ones.
So there you have it – simplifying complicated recipes doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor or satisfaction!