Ina Garten Extra Step For Cooking One-Pan Meals Adds More Flavor

For the sake of convenience, saving time, and let's face it, having one less dish to clean, one-pan meals are perfect. Whether it's making a sheet pan meal, one pot pasta meal, soup, or stew, making everything in a single pot or pan can be convenient. But sometimes, with certain meals, you may find that you've sacrificed some flavor in exchange for ease.

Ina Garten (also known as the "Barefoot Contessa") has shared how taking one extra step will boost the flavor of a one-pan meal. In a Food Network video shared on YouTube, Garten explains how cooking in stages and utilizing the flavors at the bottom of the pan are the keys to a tasty one-pan dinner. Garten's method of cooking one-pan meals in stages is echoed by Cooking Light, which reports that varying sizes and density of foods will require different cooking times, so it's best to add things in stages.

Making the most of flavorful pan bits

In the Food Network clip on YouTube, Garten makes a one-pan dinner of chicken and sliced potatoes, and in that recipe she shows viewers how by cooking in stages she makes the most of the one-pan meal. Garten gives the chicken a head start on cooking in the oven, then removes it from the pan to add the sliced potatoes to the bottom of the pan to cook in the juices. She then places the chicken back on top and lets both the chicken and potatoes bake together.

You're probably familiar with the method of deglazing the pan with a liquid to capture more flavor. What Garten is utilizing by putting the potatoes in the bottom of the pan to absorb the flavors is what's called the fond. More commonly known as those little browned bits of food that are stuck to the bottom of the pan, fond holds loads of flavor, according to Detroit Free Press. And whether you deglaze or, like Garten suggests, let the food absorb the juices, as long as you don't neglect the bottom of the pan, you're guaranteed a more flavorful end result.