More flavor the stupid simple way

My venison chili, before adding spices and molasses. The lumpy stuff is refried beans. I like it very thick.
My venison chili, before adding spices and molasses. The lumpy stuff is refried beans. I like it very thick.

Anytime a recipe calls for water, you should ask yourself what you could use instead that would add more flavor. (Cooking, not baking. Don’t get flippant with your baking.)

This can be a very simple swap. For example, I was making chili last night, and one of the ingredients the recipe calls for is kidney beans, drained. I thought, why waste the liquid from the beans? Why not use that as part of the 2 cups of water that I need? That’s precisely what I did, infusing that much more flavor.

No matter how novice a cook you are, you can do the same thing.

For example, in our household, Minute Rice is a staple. Much as some of us love jasmine or basmati rice, my husband loves that bland fluffy stuff.

That ease of use doesn’t mean it has to taste boring, though. Instead of water, use chicken stock to cook your rice. Don’t worry about making your own from the bones of some roast you crafted, just buy a box or can.

If you feel really ambitious, throw in a bay leaf or two, maybe some orange rind, which comes in a jar in the spice section (trust me). If you’re not feeling that brave, go for some Mrs. Dash.

Water is awesome for our bodies, but in cooking, think of it as a blank canvas. Your taste buds deserve more.

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