With so many one-pot recipes, you might be confused about something.
Should you use different pans when you are cooking veggies and chicken on a stove?
The answer is yes, you should.
Using different pans is beneficial for a number of different reasons. Even if you are using one-pot recipes, don’t be so quick to put everything in the pan. You should pay attention to the following pointers.
Different Cook Times
You should use different pans to cook chicken and vegetables because they have different cook times. Additionally, the cooking time depends upon the part of the chicken you are using. In the same way, the types of vegetables in your recipe also make a difference here.
When cooking chicken, it’s all about temperature. The internal temperature chicken should be 165oF or 75oC.
At this temperature, the meat is moist, cooked completely and all harmful bacteria have been killed. Pan cooking chicken at this temperature might take around 15 to 20 minutes.
Similarly, vegetables can have different cook times and some require different cooking methods such as:
- Broccoli tastes best when it is steamed.
- Corn can be steamed or roasted.
- Potatoes can be roasted, mashed, boiled or baked.
- Carrots can be boiled, roasted, baked or served raw.
As you can see, this means that they won’t always need to cook them for 15 to 20 minutes – unless you steam them. Roasting, boiling or baking the vegetables can take as little as 7 minutes.
Cooking the vegetables with the chicken will mean that – either the chicken is undercooked or the vegetables are overcooked.
With two pans, you can cook the veggies and chicken meat properly without any worries about overcooking or undercooking them. You should never eat undercooked chicken.
Unlike lamb or beef cuts, chicken isn’t still edible if it is a little bit pink. This is the fastest way to give yourself food poisoning.
One of the major issues with raw chicken meat is that it can start to grow harmful bacteria. In fact, salmonella, listeria, and E.coli can grow on the meat when it is left out to thaw. Additionally, you should never let raw meat juices come in contact with any vegetables or other ingredients.
Instead, treat the chicken separately. Have a dedicated cutting board, knives, and cutlery for your chicken and other meats. Avoid using wooden cutting boards as these can absorb the bacteria and increase the chances of cross-contamination.
The chicken should be cooked all the way through with no hint of pink anywhere. Otherwise, it means that the harmful bacteria it contains have not been killed off.
Additionally, make sure to wash all the utensils and pans that you cooked the chicken in separately. It can also contain bacteria that can be passed on to other ingredients and utensils in the kitchen.
How to Follow One-Pot Recipes – Cooking Chicken and Veggies in One Pot
Once you understand the dangers, you will know that cooking chicken in the same pan is not a good idea. However, if you still want to cook a one-pot recipe, you should try the following:
Part of the Prep
Consider the cooking of chicken or vegetables separately to be part of the prep. You might have to brown the chicken or sauté some garlic, mushrooms or onions. Make sure to specifically keep two pans for this whether the recipe calls for it or not.
Avoid using the juices leftover from browning the chicken unless you are going to cook them more. Some people enjoy making a weak chicken stock to add to the pan in this way. However, if you don’t plan to do this, put the pan in the sink.
Handle the Chicken Safely
Always make sure that you are handling chicken safely. If cleaned and handled properly, you can cook chicken and vegetables together. However, if this isn’t done, the chicken will have a lot of bacteria that can contaminate the food. This increases the likelihood of getting food poisoning from a poorly cooked meal.
If you cook at low heat, it might also mean that the heat is not sufficient to kill all the harmful bacteria. Wash your hands thoroughly and avoid touching anything unless after you have touched the chicken.
Put it in the Pan First
When you are baking chicken, the first rule is always to put the chicken first. The heat will make sure that the vegetables get cooked in the chicken juices. Additionally, the bacteria in the chicken juices will also get eliminated.
Chicken also takes longer to cook. This means that if you put the vegetables in before, they will get overcooked and become mushy or plain unpalatable. So, put the chicken in first and let it cook halfway through before you add the vegetables.
Add in Vegetables Last
To add the vegetables, you will have to do a little bit of mental math. Once the meat has browned and started to cook, you can then start to add in the vegetables. Root vegetables like potatoes can take longer to cook as well so these should be among the first you add.
This should be right after the chicken is a quarter or halfway cooked.
Then, you can add in the rest of your vegetables that require low cook times and will be cooked faster. In this manner, you can preserve their flavor and also ensure that they don’t get overcooked.
It is one of the best ways to ensure that you have
Improve the Dish
If you want to really improve the dish, take two separate pans and do half the prep for the chicken and the vegetables in it. Then, combine the ingredients into one pan and cook for the remaining time of the recipe.
It might seem like additional steps but the difference it makes will elevate your dish.
This ensures that each ingredient of the dish gets cooked properly. In many professional kitchens, you will see that every element of the dish gets prepped separately.
The components are cooked in different pans before they are combined together on the plate.
Try it at home and see if it makes a difference in the dish that you are cooking. You will notice a difference when you do this.
The Best Pans to Use for Cooking Veggies and Chicken on the Stove
Now, using the right pan will also make a difference in your cook times.
Ideally, you should have a pan that is capable of conducting heat properly. Due to this, the following are our top suggestions for cooking chickens and veggies on the stove.
Ceramic Coated Frying Pan
Ceramic coated frying pans usually have an aluminum core and are treated with a non-stick ceramic coating. These are great conductors of heat and the materials used are free from harmful compounds such as lead or cadmium.
These pans are oven-safe too and are usually highly heat-resistant. Most pans can withstand 850 degrees Fahrenheit without any issues. However, they aren’t meant for use with metal cookware so you’ll need to get some wooden utensils for cooking.
Stainless Steel Skillet
Not only do stainless steel skillets and pans heat up faster, but they also retain heat for longer. This means that your food will be cooked evenly, without sticking or burning. The stainless-steel material is non-reactive and won’t impart any strange tastes into your food.
Some also come with a fitted lid which allows the food to cook even more evenly. Stainless steel pans are also dishwasher-safe so not only is cooking efficient but cleanup is a breeze. Once you are done, just pop them in the dishwasher to be cleaned out properly.
Iron Dutch Oven
A Dutch oven isn’t exactly a pan but you can make many delicious chicken and vegetable recipes, including chicken pot pie. It retains heat effectively and suits many different cooking techniques. You can also use it on the stovetop or for recipes that call for oven baking.
As a versatile cooking pot, this should be a must-have for anyone who actively cooks at home. A well-looked after iron Dutch oven can also last you for decades so this is a worthwhile investment for anyone.
Cast Iron Frying Pan
Cast iron frying pans are among the top favorites, second to the stainless steel skillet. These retain heat extremely well and can be brought to the desired temperature within minutes. They do need to be seasoned but this can be achieved easily. Over time, the seasoning will get better with regular use.
As a heavy-duty pan, it can be used for cooking not just on the stovetop but even in the oven or on a campfire. However, care has to be taken to ensure that the cast iron frying pan is kept in good condition. They can be a bit high-maintenance but well worth it.
With the help of these suggestions and our other tips, you can cook vegetables and chicken in different pans and together as well!
You may also like the following article about cooking pans: