Getting your stocks and sauces spot on is the key to any successful dish this Christmas, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to make them from scratch.
Time, cost and skill constraints have seen a growing number of professional kitchens turning to ready-made bases, but choosing the correct products to suit your applications is vital, advises Robin Dudley, Business Development Chef for Essential Cuisine.
“Good stocks are the cornerstones of the kitchen,” he says. “All sauces start from a good stock and if they’re not correct, you won’t get a good end product.
“Cost saving is going to be massive this Christmas. The rising cost of gas, plus the cost of buying in then disposing of bones, coupled with a lack of chefs and time pressures, makes quality stock and sauce mixes an ideal option.
“They offer consistency and versatility, as well ticking a lot of boxes in terms of allergens, salt content and clean declaration.”
Essential Cuisine’s Premier jus range are perfect for high-end, finished sauces, whilst the powdered stock mixes are ideal for flavouring and braising. They can also be made in bulk and frozen for re-use at a later date – a good option during the busy festive period.
Robin recommends choosing a product that has multiple uses to cut down on costs as well as storage.
He continues: “For example, we’re finding a lot of places are opting to use vegan stocks and sauces in all of their dishes, including meat-based meals, for added peace of mind. Meat-eaters can’t tell the difference so it makes complete sense.
“As well as making delicious gravy, our Turkey stock mix can also be sprinkled directly onto the bird prior to roasting to flavour the juices, as well as on roast potatoes for added flavour and crispiness. It also means you can forgo using lard so it’s healthier too.”
A break for the traditional
Punchy flavours and sharing platters will take centre stage for Christmas 2022, predicts Robin.
“A lot of people have missed out on two Christmases because of the pandemic so they’ll be going all-out to celebrate,” he says. “The busy places will be those doing something a bit different to traditional turkey.
“I don’t think we’ll be seeing the traditional vegan dishes such as nut roast on festive menus. Instead, there’ll be more Asian and Mediterranean flavours.
“I also think ‘family service’ will be popular, with smaller turkey roasts or large sharing steaks served in the middle of the table for either the waiting staff or customers to carve. Gravy boats will be central to this as customers will be able to enjoy the ‘pleasure of the pour’, rather than having it done for them prior to service. It’s all about social interaction and talking.
“Sharing desserts will follow in the same vein with showstoppers served centre of table. Trifles are making a comeback, as are whole tarte tatins, and pyramids of profiteroles will work well too.”
Essential Cuisine's top five for Christmas 2022
1. Turkey stock mix – Simply add boiling water for a tasty, traditional stock every time.
2. Premier veal jus – Tastes and performs like a premium, kitchen-made jus but without the time-consuming make up.
3. Creme Anglaise – A versatile mix which can be used as a base to create a range of quality festive desserts, include crème brulee and pannacotta.
4. Premier rich vegetable jus – the only premium vegan jus on the market. The perfect base for reductions and sauces.
5. No1 savoury gravy – the ideal all-rounder. A flavourful, meat-free gravy which can be mixed with the Premier jus ranges for a lower cost option.
Visit our website for more details about the Essential Cuisine range