About a month ago, I was invited to try a few products from the range of McCormick’s Slow Cooker recipe bases, so I agreed to give them a try. Any of you who are long-time readers of the blog will know my personal feelings on premade flavour packages and instant products, but I’m open-minded enough to give any product the chance to prove me wrong.
Out of the 7 bases that I received and the 5 that I tried, this was by far the best of the bunch, but don’t mistake that for a glowing review, as it is not quite that.
I can understand the idea behind these slow cooker bases, to a certain extent. Some of my friends have confided in me that they are unable to work with spices or recipes so can never make the same dish taste the same as the last time they made it…so these sorts of products are for them:
It’s for those who are a little inexperienced with cooking and want ‘someone’ to guarantee that the end product will be edible, which also provides them with a scapegoat if it doesn’t (“Oh, it’s not my fault, it’s that product so I just won’t use it again”). I refuse to say that this line of slow cooker recipe bases are aimed at the time-poor because frankly, you still have to do all the ingredient prep anyway, to add the ground spices to the slow cooker yourself instead of cutting open and adding it from the packet would add all of 1-2 minutes of prep time.
The full ingredient list for this product is: Chick Peas (86%), Salt, Cumin, Garlic, Onion, Paprika, Flavour (contains egg & milk), Pepper, Turmeric, Sugar, Chilli, Coriander, Parsley, Soy Bean Oil, Food Acid (citric)
Think about how much this adds to the equation rather than if you added the ground spices yourself?
Anyway, the real test of the product was the taste. And I can honestly say that it wasn’t too bad. That’s not to say that it was good – I think they should add onion to the fresh ingredients list that people should add, and rethink their spice ratios as I found the broth itself to be quite bland and uninspiring, but it was certainly a passable soup and one that I can see as enjoyable for people who are used to more bland food and are unfamiliar with flavours such as cumin and turmeric.
The best description I can muster for this particular recipe base really is “Ethnic flavours for beginners”, make of that what you will.
I have no shame in admitting that I enjoy the slow food movement and that as a general rule you won’t see products like this in my shopping trolley, but if you’re looking for a nice easy dish to make in your slow cooker this winter and are unfamiliar with Moroccan flavours, then this might be one for you to try.