Mac and cheese is emblematic of the beauty in simplicity. Satisfying starch and rich cheese sauce are all that is needed for this classic comfort food that has warmed hearts for generations. That said, it can sometimes be criticized for being bland. While the combination of pasta and cheese is undeniably delicious, the dish can occasionally fall into the realm of monotony. However, there's an overlooked ingredient lurking in most pantries that can add a dimension to this humble dish: chicken bouillon. By infusing the noodles with the savory richness of chicken bouillon, you can elevate your mac and cheese beyond simple gooey goodness.
Unlike other laborious tips to transform common foods, this one couldn't be easier to understand or execute. Just boil the pasta, be it elbows, shells, or some other variety, in chicken bouillon rather than plain water. The concentrated stock powder infuses the water and permeates each noodle with umami depth. From there, proceed as usual.
So what is chicken bouillon? You've likely seen the cubes or powder but might be unaware of how it compares to stock or broth. Chicken bouillon is a concentrated broth made from simmering chicken, vegetables, and seasonings, that is dehydrated into a powder. This makes it a shelf-stable staple that creates a keen replacement for broth when added to water. For mac and cheese, throw the bouillon cubes or powder right into the pasta water; no need to mix them together beforehand.
Plus It Up Even More
The most obvious question that arises is whether liquid stock or broth, homemade or store-bought, can be used. Of course, they can, with a slight edge going to broth, which is the precursor to chicken bouillon. Lighter in body than stock, broth typically contains seasonings such as spices, salt, and possibly vegetables. Stock, on the other hand, refers mostly to an infusion of bones in unseasoned liquid that conveys a rich, but strictly meaty flavor and a more luscious mouthfeel thanks to rendered cartilage and marrow. But, the convenience of bouillon cubes or granules cannot be overstated. Dissolving effortlessly in hot water, chicken bouillon provides a quick and flavorful solution to infuse the noodles with a savory kick.
Moreover, the addition of chicken bouillon and its robust flavor opens the door to a world of possibilities for crafting a more substantial meal. Most obviously is a mac and cheese adorned with chicken, be it roasted, fried, or grilled, shredded, or in cubes, to further drive home the flavor from the chick bouillon infusion. Beyond meat, vegetables such as roasted broccoli, sauteed spinach, or even roasted chiles can join the party, contributing not only to the flavor but also to the nutritional profile and body of the mac and cheese.
So, the next time you want more than just mac and cheese, unwrap a cube or scoop a bit of chicken bouillon powder and get to boiling, The reward is pasta that is mighty meaty and incredibly savory.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.