Best recipes for batch cooking

Katie Lowry

Drawing of woman cooking in her kitchen

During this unprecedented and challenging time, we must make everything as easy as we can for ourselves. I have found 4 nutritious and delicious batch recipes to fill your freezer with during the worrying times ahead.

Jamie Oliver’s “Sweet potato, chickpea and Spinach Curry” is first on the agenda with its difficulty level at “super easy.” Ingredients for this extremely nutritious meal include olive oil, 2 red onions, 3 tablespoons Rogan Josh paste, 1 fresh red chilli, 3cm piece of ginger, 1 bunch of fresh coriander, 3 sweet potatoes, 1 x 400 g tin chickpeas, 8 ripe tomatoes or 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes, 1 x 400 ml tin light coconut milk and 400 g pre-washed spinach.

Not only is this the perfect recipe for batch cooking bursting with flavour, but is also extremely adaptable as you can throw in ingredients like shredded cooked chicken with the tomatoes, or add raw prawns or white fish pieces 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Method

To begin, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Mix the curry paste with the peeled and finely sliced onion and cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Peel and grate the ginger, chop the chilli, chop the sweet potatoes and slice the coriander stalks and add to the softened onion.

Next drain and add the chickpeas, letting everything cook for 5 minutes. Chop and add the fresh tomatoes and add 200ml of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the lid, stir occasionally and let it cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Add the coconut milk and let it cook for a couple more minutes, then stir in the spinach and cook until wilted.

Add the coriander leaves over the top. Serving options include poppadum’s and rice.

Jamie’s top tip to freeze the curry for another time is to leave it to cool in the pan, then spoon into portion-sized containers or freezer bags and freeze. The curry will keep there for up to 3 months. 

 

The next recipe from Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite by Gizzi Erskine is “Pulled chipotle chicken with pink pickled onions.” This is not only a colourful and delicious meal but is also perfect for batch cooking. 

A plethora of flavours to tickle your taste buds are presented in this recipe which serves 4 to 6. For the pink pickled onions, you’ll need 50ml white wine vinegar, 30 caster sugar, 1 tsp salt and 1 red onion thinly sliced.

For the main event of the pulled chipotle chicken, an array of flavours and spices are mixed to create this mouth-watering chicken dish. From paprika, cumin, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks to garlic, coriander and adzuki beans, this dish is sure to satisfy a household in these uncertain times as well as being ideal to fill your freezer in a healthy, appetizing and comforting way.  

An optional side to serve along with the dish includes cauliflower rice, or regular rice, ½ avocado, peeled, stoned and chopped, and dressed in lime juice and salt. You can also add 100g of mixed sprouting beans and pulses, dressed with a little of the pickled onion juice if you like! This recipe is perfect to make on a weekend to be defrosted on the day you want to use it!

METHOD

The pink pickled onions is up first and you must place the vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan and cook over a low heat until they’re melted together. Pour over the sliced red onion and cover with cling film. Leave for 2 hours at room temperature. 

The adzuki beans must be left overnight in a bowl in water and then boil in fresh water for one hour. As an alternative to save time you can use tinned beans. 

 Season the chicken pieces and cook on large saucepan with oil over a high heat. Make sure to get a really good colour on the chicken pieces and render down the fat as this is where the base flavour of the stew will come from. Set aside the brown chicken on a plate.

Lower the heat, add the onions to the same pan and fry them very slowly for 10-15 minutes, until the onions have turned a bit golden. 

 Fry the garlic on the other side of the frying pan until the cut sides get a bit of colour, then remove the garlic and set aside with the chicken.

Once the onions are ready, increase the heat, add in all the spices and fry them off for a further two minutes. 

Add in the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Put the lid on the pan and cook for two minutes.

Now you may remove the lid and turn the heat back down – cook for a further 10 minutes. Pour in the stock and stir.

Add the chicken pieces and garlic back to the pan and add the bay leaves.

 Cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes. Drain the adzuki beans, add them to the pan and cook for another 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan again and set aside while you reduce the sauce. Cook the sauce until the flavour is rich and strong and the sauce has thickened.

Use two forks to shred the chicken, removing all the bones. When the sauce is ready, return to the pan, season and stir well. Serve the pulled chipotle chicken with the cauliflower rice, pink pickled onions, avocado and a sprouted bean and pulse salad.

(Recipe from Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite by Gizzi Erskine)

Official ingredients: 200g dried adzuki beans, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 medium, whole, free-range chicken, jointed, 2 onions, thinly sliced, 1 bulb of garlic, cut in half horizontally, 2–3 dried chipotle chillies, rehydrated for 10 minutes in 50ml boiling water, 2 bay leaves, 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 1 tbsp ground cumin, 1 tbsp ground coriander, 2 tsp smoked paprika, 500g fresh tomatoes, chopped, 500ml fresh or shop-bought chicken stock, sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.

BBC Good Food present us with our third recipe, so without further ado, I introduce to you their big batch Bolognese, ideal for a speedy mid-week meal on the go.  This recipe serves a whopping 12 people so is a serious go to batch recipe that will tickle your taste buds and leave you with plenty to freeze so you have dinner sorted another day!

The ingredients are as follows. 4 tbsp olive oil, 6 smoked bacon rashers, 4 onions, 3 carrots, 4 celery sticks, finely chopped, 8 garlic cloves, crushed, 2 tbsp dried mixed herbs, 2 bay leaves, 500g mushrooms, 1½ kg lean minced beef (or use half beef, half pork mince), 6 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes, 6 tbsp tomato purée, large glass red wine (optional), 4 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar and parmesan.

Method

Heat the oil in a very large saucepan. Gently cook the bacon, onions, carrots and celery for 20 mins until golden. Add the garlic, herbs, bay and mushrooms, then cook for 2 mins.

Heat a large frying pan and crumble in just enough mince to cover the pan, cook until brown and then tip in with the veg.

Continue to fry the mince in batches until used up. Pour the tomatoes and purée in with the mince and veg. 

Rinse the cans out with the red wine, if you have some, or with a little water, then add to the pan with the vinegar and sugar. Season and bring to a simmer. Cook slowly for 1 hr until thick and saucy and the mince is tender. Serve with pasta and parmesan.

The dish is also perfect in a slow cooker. Leave it to cook all day while you are working and come home to mouth-watering Bolognese. 

 

This final recipe is from The Borough Market Cookbook by Ed Smith Cod and is “smoked haddock and Romanesco bake.” This delicious bake serves 4 and the ingredients are as follows.

1 small Romanesco broccoli (400–500g), outer leaves removed and florets cut from stem, 300g full-fat crème fraiche, 50ml tepid water, 70g parmesan, finely grated, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 25g brined capers, drained and roughly chopped, Leaves picked from 5 sprigs of tarragon, roughly chopped, 400g cod, skinned and pin-boned, 300g un-dyed smoked haddock, skinned and pin-boned, 80-100g dry breadcrumbs and 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil.

The breadcrumbs for this delight can be “whizzed-up” from any loaf and stored straight in the freezer. Why not double or triple quantities  and store in the freezer so you can enjoy multiple dinners that are all-ready to go.   

Another positive from this recipe is the ease of substituting the Romanesco for broccoli any time!

Method:

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7. 

Cut the Romanesco stem or broccoli into 2-3cm dice and halve any florets that are much bigger than the pieces of stem. 

Blanch the florets and diced stem in boiling water. After two minutes add the outer leaves and cook for a further one minute. Drain through a sieve then leave under cold running water until cool.

Pour the crème fraiche into a large bowl. Add 50ml lukewarm water and whisk together. Add the parmesan, Dijon mustard, capers and tarragon and stir thoroughly. 

Check the fish for bones then cut into 3-4cm chunks. Combine the fish and the drained and cooled broccoli with the crème fraiche. Transfer to an ovenproof dish.

Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl, add a pinch of sea salt and the oil and use a fork to mix. Spoon the breadcrumbs over the fish mix then bake for 25 minutes, until the top is golden, the sauce is bubbling through, and the fish is just cooked and not yet dry. Serve straight away.

Recipe from The Borough Market Cookbook by Ed Smith

Katie Lowry

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