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5 Basic Steps to Building Flavor


A big part of developing flavor in a dish is knowing when to add components to the pan. Burning spices typically leads to dumping your work and starting over {gasp}. Who has time for that nonsense? When we know the basics to building flavor, we can be competent in creating a variety of fare: soups, stews, sauces, skillet suppers, to name a few. The five basic steps to building flavor in a dish are:

  1. Heat the oil over medium or medium low.
  2. Add the “durable” aromatics and cook a couple (three to five) minutes until softened. Often times, these are the base ingredients: onion, carrots, celery, peppers. This is also a great time to add some salt to the pan.
  3. Add the “sensitive” spices. Cook until fragrant, stirring frequently.  Sensitive spices are those that burn quickly such as fresh herbs, minced garlic and dry spices. The fragrance typically arrives after cooking for 30 seconds to a minute. Ergo, now is not the time to get distracted. You can pour that glass of wine in a few minutes.
  4. Add the ingredients needing flavor: ABC (already been cooked) meat, ABC poultry, vegetables. Cook until respectable. If meat or poultry added at this time is raw, continue cooking components after deglazing the pan (step 5) until the appropriate internal temperature is obtain.
  5. If necessary, deglaze pan by adding liquid (e.g., stock, wine, lemon or lime juice).

Reader rsvp

To make this concept more tangible, I will demonstrate this cooking technique in an upcoming post. Do you have a preference regarding the demonstration topic? What would you like me to build: a sauce, a soup or a skillet supper? Please RSVP with your vote in the Comments section.

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