Campbell’s Canada has released a new line of products called Stock First. They have aimed these offerings at “the cook who wants to be a chef at home.”
They have a Beef and Chicken version that are parallel products to existing broths. Compared to the broths, the stocks are thicker, have a richer flavour and are intended to do things enrich sauces instead of, say acting as a base for soup. As well, at 480 ml the package size is smaller and that points to the idea that recipes may call for less than a cup of the stock.
The team and corporate chef Suman Roy seem most excited about the Cream Stock that is a rough approximation of pre-made bechamel. It’s stabilised and thickened with corn starch so that it won’t curdle or separate and has significantly less fat than heavy cream. The onion powder, spices, and dehydrated garlic make this a savoury-only ingredient–in my book at least.
I had the pleasure of visiting Campbell’s test kitchen in suburban Toronto and we were given a guided tour of some of the recipes they’ve developed for the new products. To demonstrate the flexibility and range of the Stock First line these covered a lot of territory from scallops and steamed fish straight through to steak and risotto. A creme caramel made a surprise appearance for dessert.
The (supplied by Campbell’s) recipe for Steak Medallions in Mushroom sauce seems like a good use for the product and also an easy hill to climb for the home cook. Chef Suman Roy’s recipe is available in PDF format here. The only modifications I’d make are that I’d used a cast iron instead of non-stick pan and be sure to preheat it over medium-high heat for three minutes before putting the steaks in. To be really sure of getting a good, brown crust on the meat I’d also be sure to leave a couple inches between each steak so as to not to overcrowd the pan.