The secret to simple ingredients
Thursday 13 September 2012
Simple ingredients are appreciated in any kitchen. Whether it’s a classy restaurant or the kitchen in the humble home, simple and familiar ingredients have numerous advantages. Not least of all, they are something you are most likely familiar with; you know how to prepare them, as well as a few ways to cook them. They're also often close at hand; readily found in many kitchens.
Yet this doesn't mean they are boring or dull. These ingredients are found in kitchens across the world simply because they are so versatile. Whether its fruit and veg or traditional meats, these key ingredients can be used time and time again to create different dishes. By changing how you look at a simple vegetable or meat, you might find yourself experimenting with new flavours and discovering your new favourite dish.
More than just for a Sunday roast, there are plenty of things you can do with chicken. Chicken is a very versatile meat; it can be grilled, fried, cooked in the oven or even boiled. In short, there are plenty of Chicken recipes available. So, if you have chicken, you have access to a wide range of cuisine.
Do you want something more exotic? Then consider a chicken curry. If you want something simpler, a chicken soup or broth can provide an entirely different flavour whilst still using the same core ingredients.
In a similar fashion, you can also look at the various vegetables available. The likes of potatoes and carrots should not simply be seen as a side dish but can be incorporated in many ways.
Many traditional menus utilise a core sampling of simple ingredients. Whether it’s a casserole, soup or grilled dish, the likes of carrots, potatoes and other vegetables can be used in many versatile ways.
Don't let meat be the constant main focus either. If you have some spare vegetables lying around, for instance, you can quickly and simply prepare a surprisingly satisfying leek and potato soup. This dish doesn't challenge your cooking skills; it simply invites you to look at the same old vegetables in a new way.
Of course, changing the vegetables will entirely change the dish. Tomato soup is another easy example that's commonly served as a starter course but can be an interesting way to use familiar ingredients.
This is just a small example of what can be achieved. This approach can be easily adapted to other meats. Beef and pork, for example, can be very versatile. Whether it’s served as traditional meat, or minced into the basis for a bolognese or cottage pie, there are plenty of options open to you.
Even something as simple as changing the sauce or seasoning can drastically change the way you experience an old favourite. This is one of the reasons the likes of stroganoff and curries prove popular; they take the core ingredients and flavours you love, adding a richer atmosphere and taste to give you something completely different and exciting. You can always purchase prepackaged spice mixes from brands such as Schwartz in order to spice up your meal even further.
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