Without culinary aromatics we wouldn’t have dishes like soups, stocks broths, sauces, braises, roasts, curries and stir-fry’s among many others.
Common aromatic ingredients that you no doubt have cooked with, includes:
- Onions including: scallions, shallots, and leeks
- Peppers includes both sweet and hot
- Herbs and Spices
Aromatics are often combined with one another in threes (vegetables) and a few herbs and/or spices.
Some aromatics are sweet, while others are savory or pungent. And when cooked together, these ingredients help create layers of flavor in your food. The dish taste more complex and complete. Without them, you will have a bland plate of food.
Have you ever noticed when you have a skillet with nothing but chopped onions and/or garlic and a drizzle of fat (oil or butter) you get hungry just from the smell? That’s because aromatics have an intoxicating aroma as well.
Cooking aromatics in oil or fat such as butter, helps to release their flavors and aromas, creating an immense flavor that is the basis of soups, stews, sauces, stir-fry’s, meat fillings and so much more.
Cooking With Aromatics
There are two things to consider before chopping your vegetable aromatics. These considerations are:
- Will they remain in the dish when served
- Will they be removed before serving
Having this in mind will help you decide what style of cut is best for your dish.
If your recipe calls for serving the dish with the aromatics, you will want to chop them into small pieces. This creates more surface area, resulting in the flavor being released quicker.
Some aromatics are removed from the pot before the meal is finished. A good example of this is a stock.
Typically, the longer the cooking time, the bigger the aromatics can be cut or chopped.
Large Chopped Aromatics Used To Make Homemade Chicken Stock
For a stock that will cook a good part of the day, larger cuts are perfectly fine.
For a quicker, sautéed dish, smaller cuts are better to speed up the cooking time.
Onions & Garlic Chopped Small
As for herbs and spices, you would use them fresh, chopped or whole and dried. It all depends on the recipe you are using.
The most common herb and spice that would be removed before serving your dish would be the bay leaf and the stick of cinnamon.
Ready to get started – Try one of these dishes to experience the effect of aromatics.
South Of The Border Chicken Tortilla Soup
Make this South Of The Border Chicken Tortilla Soup – using aromatics like onions, garlic and peppers. And including cumin and chili powder.
Stir-Fried Chicken & Vegetables With Udon Noodles In Peanut Sauce
If you enjoy stir-fry’s, you will love how chopped green onions, peppers and garlic combine to make a flavorful – Stir-Fried Chicken & Vegetables With Udon Noodles In Peanut Sauce.
Stuffed Chicken Breasts With Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Goat Cheese
Shallots, garlic and fresh aromatic herbs like basil and oregano combined together to make for a delicious – Stuffed Chicken Breasts With Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Goat Cheese.
Pad Thai Chicken With A Brown Garlic Sauce
If you love rice noodles, then you’ll enjoy how carrots, red onions, garlic and even ginger combine to flavor this – Pad Thai Chicken With A Brown Garlic Sauce.
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