I continue to cook up a storm for my clients every week. That is six-plus hours a day of shopping, chopping and cooking for busy people. I have developed some tricks of the trade I always look forward to share with you. Some are Thanksgiving turkey size and some are small SCHOP! tips to help you out in the process. This is one of them.
Every week and for every client I prepare and leave them with three proteins and three-plus vegetable sides. This can be anything but I make best efforts to pair complete meals. It is multitasking to the max!
The puzzle I must solve every week is how to get maximum flavor in a short period of time. That begins first with the choice of meat/fish/poultry, cooking times and how you season it. I brine bone-in poultry for at least two hours before seasoning and before cooking. Of course, fish does not take long to marinate/season for maximum flavor. Depending on the cut, it is meats such as beef, lamb, bison and more that require time for flavors to permeate the muscle. (Forgive the descriptiveness, vegetarians.)
My answer to get maximum unique flavor is make a sofrito (Spain), a recaito (Puerto Rico), a sazòn (Dominican Republic), a battuto/soffritto (Italian), a mirepoix (French), a holy trinity (Creole) or a suppengrün (Germany). Each country and cuisine have their own, so why not create my own for any dish I prepare?
The preparation methodology for this base is the same, though some do cook it down before proceeding with the main ingredient. It is a combination of vegetables, aromatics, herbs, spices and more to produce the base flavor for the dish.
My methodology for my sofrito is to mince all the fresh ingredients (less the meat and any binder) together on the cutting board and season it with salt and pepper. Here are a couple I have made over the last weeks:
Chicken “Scampi”—sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, fresh herbs, adobo and poultry seasonings
Beef & Bison Meatloaf—red bell pepper, scallion, onion, garlic, black garlic, herbs, red pepper relish (sweet with vinegar), Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, brown mustard
Pan Seared Lamb Loin (marinade)—scallion, garlic, onion, lemon zest and juice, fresh rosemary and thyme, olive oil
Chicken Salisbury Steaks—same as meatloaf above but with adobo and poultry seasonings
Make extra and store in a tight jar or storage bag in your fridge for your next use. Perfect base for soup, stews, rice, eggs and more. Now get out there and sofrito that ‘ish!
Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for more than 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!