Generally, we insist on being the masters of our meals, not the other way around.
But with Master Stock, an offering from the just-launched line Agrodolce for Fast Foodies, we're learning to take orders.
The line is the brainchild of Prue Barrett, an Australia native and private chef who turned to prepared foods because she wanted to inspire more people to cook on their own.
Her Master Stock ($9) is a blend of soy sauce, Shao Xing wine, yellow rock sugar, ginger and a medley of fragrant spices, which is boiled down into a cloudy and potent elixir. The stock does its best work in the presence of protein. Bring it to the boil, add your choice of meat (chicken and lamb both work well) and cook the meat to your desired doneness.
Rather than tossing the stock when the cooking is complete, Barrett recommends straining and freezing the stock for future use. "In Chinese kitchens, they use these stocks for years," she told us. She compares her stock to a sourdough starter that you can "feed" over time, adding more soy sauce or ginger to the base material.
Just confine your reuse to one protein type: "No mixing chicken stock with beef stock," instructs Barrett.
We're listening. It is the Master talking, after all.