Since I do most of the cooking in my house, my husband graciously rolls up his sleeves for dish-washing duty.
Even so, he would be more than thrilled if the entire dinner could be made in one pot.
Yes, salad, roast chicken and apple pie all out of the same pan. Or jasmine rice, stir-fried pork, and ginger panna cotta all from the same pot.
That’s not gonna happen. But I will say we are both loving this latest craze of one-pan or sheet-pan cooking. For the cook, it’s a simplified way of getting dinner on the table. For the dish-washing spouse, it makes for a lot less clean-up afterward, too.
“Dinner’s in the Oven: Simple One-Pan Meals” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy, exemplifies that philosophy. The book is by Rukmini Iyer, a former lawyer turned food stylist and food writer.
The cookbook is filled with recipes for one-pan dishes, with everything from “Olive & Pine-Nut Crusted Cod with Roasted Red Onion & Cherry Tomatoes” to “Paprika-Roasted Corn with Scallions, Feta & Lime” to “Rhubarb & Ginger Oat Crumble.”
Best yet, each chapter begins with an illustration to help you craft your own one-pan creation with suggestions for ingredients, as well as helpful baking times and oven temperatures.
With Easter looming on the horizon, I gravitated to “Roasted Lamb with Apricots, Pistachios, Mint & Pearled Barley.”
With meat, grain, fruit and nuts, it definitely makes for a meal unto itself. Just add some crusty bread, flatbread or a nice green salad to complete it, if you like.
The lamb sirloin steaks get rubbed with olive oil and ras el hanout, the fragrant Moroccan blend that typically contains cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, ginger, coriander, fenugreek, and turmeric, among other spices. The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of the ras el hanout. But you could easily add another 1 or 2 teaspoons, as the flavor is fairly subtle in the finished dish.
The chops get arranged over a bed of dried apricots, onions, garlic, and garlic. Chicken stock is poured in, before the dish is wrapped in foil and placed into the oven.
Pistachios and fresh mint get strewn over the top before serving.
The 3/4 cup of barley may not seem like much. But it’s a enough for four servings easily. There’s a lovely warmth of cinnamon that suffuses the entire dish, with the apricots adding lively bursts of sweet-tart fruitiness.
It’s a dish to linger over — because, heck, there’s not much cleaning up to worry about after the last bite.
Roasted Lamb with Apricots, Pistachios, Mint & Pearled Barley
4 lamb sirloin steaks (approximately 1 pound total weight)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 teaspoons ras el hanout
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic smashed
1 1/3 cups dried apricots
2 red onions, very thinly sliced
3/4 cup pearled barley, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
A small handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Rub the lamb steaks with the olive oil, ras el hanout, 1 teaspoon sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and half of the garlic, and set aside.
In a roasting pan or large baking dish, mix together the dried apricots, red onions, the remaining garlic, the barley and the chicken stock. Place the lamb on top, cover the dish tightly with foil, then transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour.
Remove the pan from the oven, taste the barley, and season as needed with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and lemon juice.
Scatter the pistachios and mint over the lamb and barley and serve hot.
Note: If you prefer, slice up the cooked lamb steaks and stir them through the barley, make sure to let them rest for 10 minutes after the dish comes out of the oven.
Adapted from “Dinner’s in the Oven: Simple One-Pan Meals’ by Rukmini Iyer
More One-Pan Wonders: Peachy Pork or Veal with Pomegranate Molasses and Charred Onions by Melissa Clark