Time is a precious, fleeting thing, and no one’s got enough of it to slave away in the kitchen for hours on end. So I went straight to Jamie Oliver himself, the king of quick and easy cooking, for some advice on how to make every second in the kitchen count.
Since Jamie Oliver’s newest book and television show, Jamie’s Quick & Easy Food (premieres Wednesday, October 25 at 9 p.m. ET), is centered around making beautiful meals quickly, he was fully prepared to deliver the lowdown on the smartest ways to save time in the kitchen. So put on some music and fire up your oven, because Jamie Oliver’s time-saving cooking tips will leave you dancing to the kitchen, ready to tackle your next meal.
Choose the right cooking tools
“If you want to save time, there are a few kitchen gadgets that will make your life a lot easier – things like a speed-peeler, a box grater and a pestle and mortar are all fantastic for creating great texture and boosting flavour, and a food processor is always a bonus, especially if you’re short on time,” Jamie explained.
Woks are also great for cooking quickly since they can heat up your food in the blink of an eye.
If you’ve been boiling a pot of water and then adding in grains like couscous or rice, you’ve been doing it wrong. Well, not wrong, just slowly. Instead, Jamie recommended boiling some water (why not use an electric kettle to help speed up the process?), and then pouring it right over a cup of uncooked couscous to see it cook in mere minutes. Don’t bother waiting for a pot of cold water to reach a rolling boil on the stove because you have better things to do with your time… like eating.
Talk to your butcher
“Every animal has cuts that are fast-cooking, like sirloins and rumps, but they also have tough bits that are hard [to cook] that have got the connective tissue,” Jamie noted. Fun fact: You can ask the butcher to remove sinews to speed up the cooking process on practically any cut of meat.
Chop it small
Worried that your meal’s going to take forever to cook? Well, you can always speed things up the good old-fashioned way by cutting the ingredients into smaller sizes. You end up cutting everything smaller when you bite into it anyway, right?
If you’re craving a beautiful pancake breakfast but don’t have enough time to measure out all the ingredients, Jamie’s got just the thing for you: one-cup pancakes! All you need for the batter is a mug of self-raising flour, a mug of milk, one egg and a pinch of salt.
Marinating your meat will pay off
Have you ever wondered whether or not marinating meat is worth all the hype? Jamie Oliver certainly seems to think so, especially since “marinating meat, gives it tenderness and flavour.”
So if you have the time to make a quick marinade before you need to cook up your meat, it’ll save you in the long run — you won’t need to scramble to make your meal less bland or more tender.
Use a pressure cooker
A pressure cooker is essentially a miracle to all cooks. According to Jamie, it’s a handy tool that’ll speed up the cooking process, without sacrificing any of the dish’s flavour. This beautiful gift is the only tool that can replicate slow-cooked, beautifully braised meals in an hour or less. If that isn’t a serious time-saver, then what is?