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kitchen secrets

Kitchen Secrets: Readers share the classic dishes every home cook should master

From simple tarragon chicken to melt-in-the-mouth boeuf bourguignon.

EVERY HOME COOK has their own kitchen hacks, cheats and traditions, and we want to know yours.

Each week as part of our Kitchen Secrets series, we ask our readers to share their cooking tips and go-to-dishes. From the secret to quick-and-easy dinners, to the best way to scramble an egg, we set a new question every seven days.

Everyone has their own idea of what makes a ‘classic’ dish. And similarly, every home cook has their own small roster of classics that they turn to when looking for comfort or pleasure. So this week, we’re asking:

What’s one classic dish every grown-up home cook should master?

The classic French beef stew: Boeuf bourguignon! Anthony Bourdain’s boeuf bourguignon to be exact. Not at all difficult to make, the trick is in getting the best quality ingredients, and the recipe is available online. I’ve made it many times and it never fails to impress

- John Strahan

Shutterstock / Lunov Mykola Shutterstock / Lunov Mykola / Lunov Mykola

Easy tarragon chicken: Tarragon chicken is an easy and flavour-packed dish. Flatten your chicken breasts and season well,  fry in a little oil and butter until golden. Put aside. In the same pan add a couple of finely chopped  shallots, don’t let them colour. Add cream, the juice of half a lemon, black pepper and a handful of chopped tarragon. Pop the chicken back in and simmer for a few minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice. 

- Angela Nolan

Perfect bolognese sauce: A basic bolognese! It is a very versatile dish that can be used to make spaghetti bolognese, tacos, lasagne, shepherds pie and more. It is a classic dish that is easy to master and cook from scratch, best of all, it freezes well. The basic sauce is made with garlic, onion, mince, tinned tomatoes and seasoning. I’ve just posted a video on making it!

- Fiona Staunton

The big Sunday roast: I feel that one classic everyone should know is how to cook the big slap up Sunday roast dinner. There are many elements to this – getting your timings right, as well as using most of your cooker functions and saucepans.

Chicken is a favourite in our house. Season this well with salt, pepper, fresh thyme and lemon and roast at 180° for about 2 hours. Chunks of carrot, parsnip and potato can be added to the oven an hour into your cooking time. Stick the potatoes in a steamer with 40 minutes to go and make your gravy at the end while your meat is resting, using the roasting juices for extra flavour. Just make sure you have plenty of help with the washing up!

- Donna Connolly 

A full Beef Wellington: To me it would be the classic Beef Wellington! It’s a ‘classic’ alright and a special occasion meal & If cooked and presented properly it’s a great meal to present before a table of guests! It’s quite a bit of work, but well worth the effort. 

- Ross Boxshall 

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