It’s so important to create layers of flavour in your cooking and it’s much easier than you think.
Layering is all about combining and deepening flavours with different, yet complementary spices, herbs and seasoning at different stages while building the dish; little by little, rather than throwing it all in one go at the end.
For example, when you sauté onions, rather than frying in oil, combine butter and oil and cook the onions with leeks, white pepper and thyme – this will really add complex layers of flavour.
Layering flavour really depends on the dish, but here are some basic guidelines
Layering with seasoning and spices
Seasoning is vital in any dish, even if a recipe does not call for it. Season each time you add an ingredient – so if you add carrots to your onion mix; season, and when you add the meat season with at very least a pinch of salt and pepper.
Sear your meat before adding to the dish as this will add depth of flavour.
Dry toast your spices when making something like a curry – this will bring out the natural oils and boost the aroma. Try to toast the whole spices and then grind them, not the other way round.
Layering with vegetables
Follow the recipe and be careful about adding vegetables that are not listed ingredients as they could really change the impact of the dish.
Try to add or even substitute vegetables with similar flavours to those in the recipe – for example leeks, brown and red onions, shallots etc are interchangeable and will complement each other well. Remember we want to layer the flavour, so use multiple types of onions to give more complex layering. Garlic will add earthiness to your dish and should be added when the onions are being sautéed, but also think about what other seasoning that will go well with the dish when it is finished.
Layering with liquid
Try to avoid adding water unless it’s vital for the cooking process (for example, cooking pasta). When in doubt, use chicken stock, but experiment with beef and lamb stock too and give beer, whiskey and of course wine a try. Remember to reduce the sauce as this concentrates the flavour even more.
AND don’t forget to deglaze the pan! Even if the dark layer on the bottom of the pot or pan looks burned, that’s where all the nice bits are – the caramalised bits of everything you’ve just cooked.
Layering with acid, like orange juice
Any citrus juice or zest can be added to a dish to liven up the taste buds. Add this during the cooking process so that the oils can be cooked out. Even humble vinegar can do wonders for many dishes.
Layering with love
After all is said and done, it’s actually about love. If you cook with love, it really will taste better. We all remember Mom or Gran’s Sunday roast – now that was love on a plate!
All our Frozen Meals are layered and cooked with love. Give them a try and taste the difference!