Simply put, the idea of peasant cooking is to cook without a recipe, using whatever ingredients you have on hand. Sound crazy? Keep reading...it just might keep you from going insane.
We've all been a slave to the Recipe. Endless double-checking for all the right ingredients, wondering if Safeway carries that weird herb, and reading the same paragraph at least three times over to make sure you're doing it right.
Let's face it: recipes are great when it comes to celebration dinners, holidays, and baking, but more often than not, they're just a hassle. Do you really want to make another trip to the grocery store?
Rather than sticking to a long list of ingredients, peasant cooking relies on the staples. Whole grains and starches. Vegetables. Protein. Spices to mix it up. The cooking method is whatever you fancy for the night, or whichever produces the least amount of dishes (aren't those the same thing?). A well-rounded, healthy meal is never more than a few minutes away. (Unless your chicken is frozen. That BS takes forever.)
You also get to do away with meal planning. Yes - meal planning is helpful and easy when you are into a routine, but most people (including you, probably) don't want to dedicate time or energy to figuring out what their meals will be for the next few days. Wouldn't it just be easier to go the store ONCE (without a list even - gasp!), buy the essentials, and then only think about your meals when it's time to cook them? Talk about time- AND money-saving. And you won't be saddled up for the next couple years with that one oil that's only used in that one recipe.
Miracles do exist. Ever wonder why most (if not all) of our blog recipes aren't meals, but rather snacks/baked goods? 95% of the time we peasant cook.
Ready to get started? Great! First things first, know what makes up a healthy meal, because these are the components you'll be cooking day-in and day-out.
You'll need protein, a whole grain or starchy vegetable, and lots of vegetables!
Asian? Ginger, red pepper flakes, star anise, onion powder, garlic powder
Other condiments/seasonings that easily kick flavor up a notch?
Marinara. Pesto. BBQ sauce. Mustard. Hot sauce. Vinegars.
Personally, I like to season my proteins and veggies individually (because they're usually cooking in separate pans), but you can always add seasonings (especially things like condiments) at the end too.
The last and most important step is: don't be afraid to experiment!
Play around with one-pot dishes (like stir-fries or burrito bowls) or keep components separate. Try new combinations of vegetables. Try new combinations of seasonings.
The point of peasant cooking is to use whatever you have on hand, not to run to the grocery store to grab the one ingredient you forgot. You won't always have the spices to make Southwestern food, but what do you have? What flavors might go well together? It's all about experimentation, and the more you do it, the easier it gets!
Switching to peasant cooking makes time in the kitchen easy peasy. All you have to do is cook the protein, carbs, and veggies, and add seasonings to fit your mood.
What's not to love?
Yes, perhaps you need some time in the kitchen under your belt to really perfect peasant cooking, but you gotta start somewhere....so get cooking!