A couple of years ago, I discovered a little trick that advanced my cooking from good to great: instead of salt, use stock mix in savoury dishes to deepen the flavour and remove the risk of over-salting food.
I’ve tried quite a few stocks over the years, but none come close to those made by Essential Cuisine. Their range of gravies, glaces, jus and stocks are flavourful without being overly salty. I’ve tried many over the the years, but these three are my favourites.
If you want to boost the flavour of just about any savoury dish, Essential Cuisine Chicken Stock, £14.95, is your secret weapon. It instantly adds depth and interest to a variety of foods and doesn’t need to be reconstituted for use. I like to sprinkle it onto chicken before roasting and I also add a bit to pasta sauce to enrich the flavour. If you’re from the southern US like I am, try it for cooking grits. The flavour is absolutely amazing.
If you are vegetarian or enjoy cooking without meat products, Essential Cuisine Vegetable Stock, £14.95, is a great addition to your seasoning arsenal. It’s fantastic for adding depth of flavour to all sorts of foods. I add it to vegetarian chilli, pasta, casseroles, rice and gravy. It’s a great way to get loads of extra flavour into veggie meals without adding too much salt.
Lovers of Asian cuisine will really enjoy the Asian Aromatic Stock Base, £14.34. It can be used in soups, noodles, rice and stir-fries – any dish that benefits from the subtle flavours of lemongrass, coriander, ginger and miso. I don’t fully reconstitute this one unless I’m making soup. It’s a paste, so it’s easy to mix it with a little water and then add it into a stir-fry or Asian curry. And it’s vegetarian, too!
I’ve given links to large sizes of Essential Cuisine products, but if you’d like to trial them or don’t need 800g in one go, Lakeland stocks the basic flavours. If you do a lot of cooking and find that you would use the bigger sizes, they are much better value for money.