I love cooking from scratch but there are some kitchen shortcuts that I just can't do without. Stock cubes are one such essential. I love reducing kitchen waste but boiling chicken carcasses after the Sunday roast then filtering and skimming the stock and freezing it in ice cube trays just seems like too much faff. Knorr recently sent me through a selection of their stock products to show that there's more to stock than the traditional chicken or beef stock cubes. They sent through some Ham Cubes, some Rich Beef Stock Pots and a bottle of their new Touch of Taste Concentrated Liquid Chicken Stock to get creative with.
The Touch of Taste promises to "lift the taste of your soups, stir-fries and casseroles" and it is a thick liquid that needs to be diluted so a little goes a long way.
You can see how rich and concentrated it is by the way it sinks to the bottom when you add it to water. A quick stir does blend it all nicely though, without any of the effort that is sometimes needed to get stock cubes to dissolve properly.
I used the Touch of Taste in my version of Gordon Ramsay's Sausage and Caramelised Red Onion Hotpot, which was delicious, creating a beautifully rich stock, combined with red wine. I also love using it undiluted in my slow cooker, because the slow cooker always creates a lot of cooking liquid (or rather it doesn't allow it to evaporate) so sauces often end up quite runny. Using the concentrated stock creates a richer flavour and texture. Following the suggestion on the bottle, I also added a spoonful straight from the bottle to a chicken and veg stirfry - this gave it quite a salty edge, rather like soy sauce, but also added a depth of flavour to the chicken.
I've already been using the Beef Stock Pots (and many of the other flavours too) for ages because they are so practical - they are little pots of jellified, rich stock, which are great for adding to a multitude of dishes such as casseroles, soups and risottos at the last minutes, allowing them to melt gently into the sauce to thicken it up and give it a boost. You can see some of my recipes using them on my blog already, for example Arancini (Cheesy Rice Balls), Posta Negra (Colombian Roast Beef), Feijoada and Sha Shogok (Tibetan Beef & Vegetable Stew). The Knorr brandname may make you think of traditional British Sunday roasts but this just goes to show that the stock pots lend themselves perfectly to all kinds of exotic globe-cooking dishes too.
The Ham Stock cubes are smoother and moister than the totally dry stock cubes I usually use so they are easier to dissolve. They have a lovely bacony/gammony flavour which is perfect for adding extra richness to soups and other dishes containing bacon. You might like to try out my Lentil & Bacon Stew or Minted Pea & Parma Ham Soup which are both lovely winter warmers.
Whichever format you choose, the concentrated liquid stock, the stock pots and the stock cubes are all really convenient and versatile ways of injecting some extra flavour and richness into a whole host of homecooked dishes. They'd all be perfect to help use up the leftover Christmas turkey in curries, soups and pies too.
for more information and recipe suggestions : http://www.knorr.co.uk/
Disclosure : I received the products in order to get creative in the kitchen.