If you’re a baking enthusiast, you’ve probably cracked a can or two of sweetened condensed milk in your time—it’s a key player in some of our favorite pies, cakes, and sticky-sweet sauces. But few people are as accustomed to cooking with its milder, milkier, unsweetened cousin: Evaporated milk—canned, shelf-stabilized, low-moisture cow’s milk—offers the same thick, rich texture of condensed milk without the added sugars, making it ideal for more savory preparations (and a handful of sweet ones to boot). Here’s a look at just how handy it can be.
Chili was originally a peasant dish. It was almost always vegetarian because meat is expensive. Beans are a wonderful cheap source of protein. That said wonderful chili can be made, sans beans.
Whatever way you make it, for those times when your chili comes out a bit runny—more like soup than a hearty stew…
The Potato Masher
Unlike some quirky cooking utensils, every kitchen is bound to have a potato masher. And this does not add any ingredients! Just mash a little so that the ingredients break down, releasing their natural starches will help thicken the excess liquid.
Masa, Cornmeal, or even Polenta
Add a little water to a couple of tablespoons of masa flour, stir it in at the end of cooking. As mentioned, cornmeal or polenta would be good substitutes.
Tortilla or Tortilla Chips
It’s common to use these to thicken soups. Tear or break into small pieces before stirring in.
The corn was inedible. It tasted like corn, but the kernels refused to break down as you chewed. So we stripped the cobs and soaked them in cream to make a corn stock. The cobs looked like chicken bones or chicken necks floating in the pot. But they infused the liquid with a beautiful corn flavor: a perfect match for blackberries.
A nice soak in some heavy cream will give you a deliciously corn-infused cream that you can use as liquid, or whip up for a naturally savory-sweet whipped cream in coffee, dessert, or in a stew/chowder.