Five Accompaniments You Should Be Making in Bulk
We so often overlook sauces, stocks, dressings and batters as a bridge we need to cross on the way to putting dinner on the table. But take a moment to consider how versatile they are. Why only make what you need right now if you can double or triple up the recipe and save some for tomorrow’s leftovers? Bland chicken breasts? Chirp it up with chutney. Dry leg of lamb? Drench it in a gorgeous glaze. A crisper drawer full of veggies? Make a salad drizzled with a mouth-puckering vinaigrette. The moment you’ve got just a few staples on hand, your options multiply well beyond that old familiar question, “What to do with my leftovers.” We rummaged through the archives to look for our favourite flavour-boosting staples that you can keep for leftover Monday… Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Without exaggerating, stocks are probably the most important skill you can learn as a cook. Not only does it enhance the flavour of a dish but adds richness and aroma as well. It’s at the heart of classic cuisine – particularly French-style cooking. Most sauces begin with a stock. Need one go on? When you make a larger amount of stock than you need for one particular dish, treasure what’s left. You can use it in your next soup or sauce, but you can also make a reduction from it, which intensifies the flavour even more. Then there’s consommé, which also starts with a stock, but the result is an impossibly clear liquid that’s packed with flavour.
To take your culinary skills to new heights, try Jan Hendrik’s Rooibos and Chamomile Roast Chicken with Artichoke Consommé.
During those holidays when the entire (extended) family converges on one house for a week or two, there’s always that moment of panic when you start putting a meal plan together. The trick is to work smart, not hard, so when you cook, just cook more of it. It doesn’t really add to your precious down-time, except for a bit of extra chopping — which you can totally outsource to anyone who pops into the kitchen to rummage the fridge. Like stocks, glazes are a versatile addition to your repertoire. Think about it this way. Make a glaze for your leg of lamb on Sunday, use it to brush over a bland (but quick and easy to make) chicken breast tomorrow.
If you want to try something a little fancier, try Jan Hendrik’s lean but super tasty Ostrich Steak Salad with Brandy Glaze.
Most vinaigrettes are used to dress salads — and let’s face it, make or break them — but a good vinaigrette can also be used to baste meat, poultry, seafood or vegetables before popping them in the oven. Vinaigrettes can also be used as a marinade, either to tenderise tough ingredients or simply to flavour them. Whatever you use them for, they brighten up most dishes with a sharp, piquant kick.
Make your own fynbos vinaigrette by stealing some ideas from Jan Hendrik’s Heirloom Tomato Salad with Tomato Chutney.
Speaking of chutney, no South African list of accompaniments is complete without it. There are few savoury dishes — and here we are probably exaggerating — that don’t benefit from a dash of chutney, and it’s that one thing you can never have enough of in your pantry, even if it means gifting it to someone eventually. Whether making Vetkoek and serving it with a curried mince or conjuring up a batch of Pastorie Chicken, nothing beats homemade — not even the famous missus — and you don’t want to be without it.
Stuck with leftover chutney chicken? Put it in a Pastorie Chicken Pie! You can thank us later.
Let’s not forget dessert. Leftover batter is never cause for concern, whether it’s from a batch of Bazaar Pannekoek or an Orange Loaf Cake. Pancake (the crêpe kind) batter can be stored in the fridge for up to two days. Loaf cakes can be made in bulk and frozen for when you have unexpected guests. There’s never any need for waste. Another keeper is choux pastry batter, which is so versatile, you can make choux buns or eclairs with it, or you can fill it with a sweet or savoury filling.
Save Jan Hendrik’s favourite choux pastry recipe from his Quince Preserve with caramel and custard Choux Buns.