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The Tastiest Batch Cook Recipes To End Your Constant Washing Up

Sadhbh O'Sullivan
·6-min read

Washing up is relentless. Relentless. No matter how often you work through a big load or how efficiently you get your plates on the drying rack, you turn around and another load has magicked itself out of thin air. If you exist, you produce washing up. It's like a byproduct of carbon dioxide at this point.

The pandemic has only emphasised this small but constant annoyance. If you are one of the many confined to your home by the restrictions, you may have noticed that days, weeks and months bleed into each other with only washing up to punctuate mealtimes. And if you don't do it promptly it's always there, looming on the periphery.

So recipes that lessen the literal load are only a good thing, right? Making lunch ahead or batch cooking breakfast might seem like a relic of a time when 'going to the office' was a thing. But it's as useful now as it was then. Meal prepping doesn't just make meals easier, it removes the possibility of having to work through a mountain of dishes in the middle of the day. All you need to wash up is cutlery and a plate or bowl. Lovely stuff!

With that in mind we've picked some of our favourite recipes from the brilliant food writer Sam Gates' new book, The Batch Cook Book. Save money, cook ahead and wash up less!

<strong>Tarragon, Fennel And Cider One-Pot Chicken<br></strong> <br><em>Serves 4-6</em><br><br><strong>Ingredients</strong><br>knob of butter<br>1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for oiling<br>2 garlic cloves, crushed<br>1 fennel bulb, cored, halved and finely sliced, trimmings saved<br>1 Spanish onion, finely sliced<br>300g mushrooms (any type), thickly sliced<br>1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves, plus extra to serve<br>330ml cider<br>1.6–1.8kg (large) chicken<br>2 tbsp wholegrain mustard<br>4 tbsp single cream<br>salt and black pepper to season<br><br><strong>Instructions</strong><br>1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ Gas mark 4.<br>2. Heat the butter and oil together in a flameproof casserole. Add the garlic, fennel, onion, mushrooms and chopped tarragon. Cook for 10–12 minutes until the vegetables have softened. Pour in the cider and bring to the boil.<br>3. Oil the chicken and season well with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and roast, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove the lid, baste and roast uncovered for a further 25–35 minutes, basting occasionally, until the skin is crispy and the chicken is cooked through.<br>4. Remove the chicken from the casserole and keep warm.<br>5. Put the casserole on the hob and bring the liquid to the boil. Cook for 8–10 minutes until reduced by half, then turn the heat right down and add the mustard and cream and gently warm without boiling. Taste the sauce and add more seasoning if needed. Pour the sauce with all its bits into a jug, sprinkle the chicken with extra tarragon leaves and serve.<br><br><strong>Leftovers</strong><br>If any meat is left on the chicken, strip it from the bones and place in an airtight container with leftover sauce. This will keep in the fridge for 2 days. Reheat it gently until piping hot (but without boiling) and serve with couscous or rice. You can repurpose the leftover chicken carcass to make a delicious stock.<span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy of The Batch Cook Book.</span>
Tarragon, Fennel And Cider One-Pot Chicken

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
knob of butter
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for oiling
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fennel bulb, cored, halved and finely sliced, trimmings saved
1 Spanish onion, finely sliced
300g mushrooms (any type), thickly sliced
1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves, plus extra to serve
330ml cider
1.6–1.8kg (large) chicken
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
4 tbsp single cream
salt and black pepper to season

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ Gas mark 4.
2. Heat the butter and oil together in a flameproof casserole. Add the garlic, fennel, onion, mushrooms and chopped tarragon. Cook for 10–12 minutes until the vegetables have softened. Pour in the cider and bring to the boil.
3. Oil the chicken and season well with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and roast, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove the lid, baste and roast uncovered for a further 25–35 minutes, basting occasionally, until the skin is crispy and the chicken is cooked through.
4. Remove the chicken from the casserole and keep warm.
5. Put the casserole on the hob and bring the liquid to the boil. Cook for 8–10 minutes until reduced by half, then turn the heat right down and add the mustard and cream and gently warm without boiling. Taste the sauce and add more seasoning if needed. Pour the sauce with all its bits into a jug, sprinkle the chicken with extra tarragon leaves and serve.

Leftovers
If any meat is left on the chicken, strip it from the bones and place in an airtight container with leftover sauce. This will keep in the fridge for 2 days. Reheat it gently until piping hot (but without boiling) and serve with couscous or rice. You can repurpose the leftover chicken carcass to make a delicious stock.Photo Courtesy of The Batch Cook Book.
<strong>Smoky Aubergine And Fennel Tagine<br></strong><br><em>Serves 6</em><br><br><strong>Ingredients</strong><br>2 tsp fennel seeds<br>2 tsp ground cumin<br>2 tsp ground coriander<br>1 tsp smoked paprika<br>1 tsp turmeric<br>2 cinnamon sticks<br>4 tbsp olive oil<br>2 aubergines, trimmed and cut into 1cm cubes<br>1 red onion, finely chopped<br>300g fennel, halved, trimmed and thinly sliced, fronds reserved<br>3 garlic cloves, crushed<br>1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped<br>2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes<br>250ml vegetable stock<br>1 tsp runny honey<br>2 x 400g tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed<br>finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon<br>salt and black pepper to season<br>rice or couscous, cooked, to serve<br><br><strong>Instructions</strong><br>1. Dry-fry the fennel seeds over a medium–high heat until they start jumping in the pan, then crush them in a pestle and mortar. Place the crushed fennel in a small bowl with the cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric and cinnamon sticks.<br>2. In a large, deep, frying pan or cast-iron casserole, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over a medium–high heat until very hot. Fry the aubergine quickly until lightly golden brown all over. Remove the cubes and set aside.<br>3. Turn the heat down and add the remaining oil, along with the onion, fennel, garlic and chilli. Cook gently for 6–8 minutes until soft, then add the bowl of spices and cook for 2 minutes.<br>4. Tip the aubergine cubes back into the pan along with the tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for 20–25 minutes until the sauce is reduced. Stir in the honey and season to taste with salt and pepper.<br>5. Add the chickpeas and cook for 8–10 minutes until warmed through, then add the lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle with the reserved fennel fronds and serve with rice or couscous.<br><br><strong>Leftovers</strong><br>It makes a generous amount, but freezes well. To freeze, cool the tagine completely and transfer it to airtight bags or boxes. Freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, then reheat slowly until piping hot throughout. <span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy of The Batch Cook Book.</span>
Smoky Aubergine And Fennel Tagine

Serves 6

Ingredients
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp turmeric
2 cinnamon sticks
4 tbsp olive oil
2 aubergines, trimmed and cut into 1cm cubes
1 red onion, finely chopped
300g fennel, halved, trimmed and thinly sliced, fronds reserved
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
250ml vegetable stock
1 tsp runny honey
2 x 400g tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
salt and black pepper to season
rice or couscous, cooked, to serve

Instructions
1. Dry-fry the fennel seeds over a medium–high heat until they start jumping in the pan, then crush them in a pestle and mortar. Place the crushed fennel in a small bowl with the cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric and cinnamon sticks.
2. In a large, deep, frying pan or cast-iron casserole, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over a medium–high heat until very hot. Fry the aubergine quickly until lightly golden brown all over. Remove the cubes and set aside.
3. Turn the heat down and add the remaining oil, along with the onion, fennel, garlic and chilli. Cook gently for 6–8 minutes until soft, then add the bowl of spices and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Tip the aubergine cubes back into the pan along with the tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for 20–25 minutes until the sauce is reduced. Stir in the honey and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Add the chickpeas and cook for 8–10 minutes until warmed through, then add the lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle with the reserved fennel fronds and serve with rice or couscous.

Leftovers
It makes a generous amount, but freezes well. To freeze, cool the tagine completely and transfer it to airtight bags or boxes. Freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, then reheat slowly until piping hot throughout. Photo Courtesy of The Batch Cook Book.
<strong>Curried Smoked Fish Chowder<br></strong><br><em>Serves 4</em><br><br><strong>Ingredients</strong><br>1 tbsp olive oil<br>1 celery stick, finely chopped<br>1 onion, finely chopped<br>1 leek, finely chopped<br>1 carrot, peeled and grated<br>½ tsp medium curry powder<br>½ tsp ground cumin<br>½ tsp ground coriander<br>½ tsp turmeric<br>1 tbsp plain flour<br>500ml chicken stock<br>1 potato, washed and cut into 1cm cubes<br>300g skinless smoked haddock, chopped into 3cm chunks<br>3 tbsp single cream<br>1 x 150g tin of sweetcorn, drained<br>salt and black pepper to season<br>1 tbsp chopped chives, to serve<br><br><strong>Instructions</strong><br>1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan on a medium heat and add the chopped celery, onion and leek and the grated carrot. Cover and cook gently for about 10–15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Tip in the spices and cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant.<br>2. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir well, then gradually pour in the chicken stock. Add the diced potato and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and allow the mixture to simmer gently for 6–8 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the potatoes are cooked through.<br>3. Add the haddock and simmer for 3–4 minutes until cooked, stirring gently. Stir in the cream and sweetcorn, warm through, then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the chives to serve.<br><br><strong>Leftovers</strong><br>If not eating immediately, allow to cool completely, then refrigerate. To reheat, place in a saucepan and heat very gently until warmed through, but do not allow to boil. It will keep for a few days in the fridge. Recommended served with a poached egg on top.<span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy of The Batch Cook Book.</span>
Curried Smoked Fish Chowder

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
½ tsp medium curry powder
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
1 tbsp plain flour
500ml chicken stock
1 potato, washed and cut into 1cm cubes
300g skinless smoked haddock, chopped into 3cm chunks
3 tbsp single cream
1 x 150g tin of sweetcorn, drained
salt and black pepper to season
1 tbsp chopped chives, to serve

Instructions
1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan on a medium heat and add the chopped celery, onion and leek and the grated carrot. Cover and cook gently for about 10–15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Tip in the spices and cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant.
2. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir well, then gradually pour in the chicken stock. Add the diced potato and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and allow the mixture to simmer gently for 6–8 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the potatoes are cooked through.
3. Add the haddock and simmer for 3–4 minutes until cooked, stirring gently. Stir in the cream and sweetcorn, warm through, then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the chives to serve.

Leftovers
If not eating immediately, allow to cool completely, then refrigerate. To reheat, place in a saucepan and heat very gently until warmed through, but do not allow to boil. It will keep for a few days in the fridge. Recommended served with a poached egg on top.Photo Courtesy of The Batch Cook Book.
<br><br><strong>Brown Book Group, Little</strong> The Batch Cook Book, $, available at <a href="https://www.waterstones.com/book/9781472145123" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Waterstones" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Waterstones</a>


Brown Book Group, Little The Batch Cook Book, $, available at Waterstones

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