Monin Versatility Beyond Beverage — Through the Eyes of a Chef
Ever since the inception of Monin in 1912, the company has had a focus on beverage innovation. As the years went by, the innovative minds at Monin decided to expand the business into culinary, a natural adjacency. The innovation team began to build recipes using Monin ingredients in all types of meals, from sauces and marinades to salad dressings and desserts. The versatility of the Monin portfolio broadened almost immediately, as the culinary team on staff was now able to complement the beverage innovation with exceptional and flavorful food recipes.
“Versatility is incredibly important when it comes to SKU rationalization for the operator,” says Chad Lance, Director of Culinary Innovation at Monin. “Being able to rely on one SKU for multiple applications allows for a better organized and more streamlined inventory, less training and more savings. Monin products meet all of these needs, allowing customers to take one SKU and use it to enhance multiple menu items.”
With more than 200 flavors, the Monin portfolio can serve an even greater purpose in the F&B industry than versatility alone; the products can also serve as a substitute for unreliable, off-season and often expensive ingredients — herbs, for example. Also, produce, which is commonly used in restaurants, can be very inconsistent depending on various factors, such as time of year or weather conditions. By having a product such as a purée or a concentrated flavor on your pantry list, these challenges of consistency, high cost and questionable quality are lessened if not mitigated. In addition, Monin products offer a longer lasting alternative to ingredients with a short shelf life. These alternatives require less replenishment and provide more versatility.
Monin’s purées and concentrated flavor product lines are the team’s top choices when working with food as a complement to a beverage presentation. From dipping sauces to pancake toppings, the variety of culinary applications is endless, especially with the wide array of flavors to choose from.
Chad Lance, Director of Culinary Innovation at Monin, along with Chelsea Albright, Innovation Coordinator, developed a three-course meal that is inspired by the seasonal characteristics of autumn. Crisp, cool air and the holiday seasons peeking right around the corner were the backdrop for this culinary team as they worked up this menu with several on-trend and popular flavors from the Monin portfolio.
To kick off this three-course culinary adventure, the Monin team starts with a beverage and soup duo. The first course is reminiscent of a brisk fall day and cozying up to a crackling fire in the evening. “This soup was inspired by one of my first menu placements at a fine dining restaurant I worked at in Michigan,” says Lance. “The original recipe was a butternut squash bisque with apple butter and toasted pistachios, and the Monin Caramel Apple Butter Syrup was a simple way to recreate the dish and still deliver excellent flavor.”
Caramel Apple Butternut Squash Soup
Yield: 1 quart
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 cup diced Vidalia onion
½ cup diced carrot
½ cup diced celery
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 lb roasted butternut squash
1 (32 oz) container vegetable broth
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup Monin Caramel Apple Butter Syrup
1. Heat the oil in a sauce pot set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the squash, vegetable broth, brown sugar, spices and cream and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
3. Gently simmer the mixture for 15 minutes.
4. Carefully purée the mixture, using an immersion blender, until the consistency is smooth. Remove from the heat.
5. Add the Caramel Apple Butter Syrup and thoroughly mix in.
6. Serve immediately, while warm, or place into a container and refrigerate until use.
Caramel Apple Cider Champagne
“The complementary cocktail, also made with Monin Caramel Apple Butter Syrup, is fun and sophisticated yet incredibly simple to craft,” Albright says. “The bubbles work nicely with the sweet and savory from the soup, and the caramel and apple flavors are the perfect fall pairing with the butternut squash.”
Glass Size: 12 oz. Champagne
½ oz Monin Caramel Apple Butter Syrup
6 oz Top with Champagne
Add a cinnamon sugar rim garnish. Pour ingredients into serving glass in the order listed and stir.
The journey continues through this fall-inspired menu with a savory entrée course. Both recipes feature the Monin Spiced Pumpkin Purée, which is always a crowd-favorite flavor and incredibly iconic of the autumn months. “When you make this dressing, it’s best to take your time with the brown butter,” Lance recommends. “Heat it slowly so that the milk solids cook just enough to give off a toasted, nutty depth of flavor and turn a dark golden brown color without burning the butter. I recommend a salad with some hearty fall produce such as kale, swiss chard, roasted carrots, radishes or cauliflower. Those will pair quite nicely with the richness of the pumpkin dressing and can be complemented with the addition of some cooked farro or lentils, fresh goat cheese and toasted pecans. And don’t forget the protein — ideally a roasted game bird, but chicken will work as well.”
Brown Butter Spiced Pumpkin Dressing
Yield: 2 Cups
¾ cup Monin Spiced Pumpkin Purée
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp sorghum syrup
½ tsp salt
½ cup canola oil
½ cup clarified brown butter
1. In a blender combine all ingredients except for the oil and butter, and blend together.
2. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the oil and butter until fully emulsified. Season to taste with salt and black pepper as needed.
3. Place into a container, cover tightly and refrigerate until use.
The Great Pumpkin Cocktail
“The Bourbon cocktail that we’ve paired with the hearty salad is multidimensional, well-balanced and easy to sip,” says Albright. “The Spiced Pumpkin Purée, coupled with a kick of ginger, is always a good flavor combo and very on-trend behind the bar. Then, the cranberry and fresh lemon juices give the drink a pleasantly refreshing fall flavor.”
Glassware: 12 oz. Double Old Fashioned
1 ½ oz Bourbon
1 oz Monin Spiced Pumpkin Purée
1 pump (3mL) Monin Ginger Concentrated Flavor
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz cranberry juice
Fill mixing glass full of ice and add ingredients. Cap, shake and strain into the serving glass with ice. Garnish and serve.
The fall menu is finished with a sweet dessert cocktail paired with a sweet potato pie, both incorporating Monin Spiced Brown Sugar Syrup. “Sweet potato pie always reminds me of an old friend and culinary mentor who introduced me to it one year at a Thanksgiving dinner,” says Lance. “This recipe is a twist on the traditional pie, and it’s also an homage to my friend, whom I will always think of when it comes to baking. What’s so great about this recipe is that it takes a very nostalgic and traditional dessert and adds a twist of on-trend, new-age flavor. Plus, a little added bonus is incorporating the Spiced Brown Sugar into the whipped topping, extending the flavor even further into the recipe.”
Spiced Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Pie
Yield: 2 pies
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups roasted sweet potato
1 cup Monin Spiced Brown Sugar Syrup, divided
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
¼ tsp kosher salt
2 (9-inch) premade frozen pie crusts
2 cups heavy whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
2. In a food processor combine the sweetened condensed milk, 3/4 cup of the spiced brown sugar syrup, lime juice, dark brown sugar, eggs, egg yolks and salt, and purée the mixture until smooth and well incorporated.
3. Divide the pie batter evenly between the 2 pie crusts.
4. Place the filled pies onto a sheet pan and bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, or until the custard has almost fully set and the pie crust is golden brown.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes, then cover and refrigerate until fully chilled and set.
6. Using an electric mixer, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar and remaining 1/4 cup of spiced brown sugar syrup and whip until it reaches medium peaks.
7. Top the chilled pies with the spiced brown sugar whipped cream and serve as desired.
Frozen Irish Cold Brew
“The blended and spiked ice cream cold brew is a refreshing little nightcap with a pop of caffeine,” Albright remarks. “The coffee and cocoa notes in this drink pair nicely with the savory pie, and the kick of Irish Whiskey elevates the flavor that much more.”
Glassware: 16 oz. Specialty
1 ½ oz Irish Whiskey
1 oz Monin Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
1 oz Monin Spiced Brown Sugar Syrup
1 oz milk
3 scoops vanilla ice cream
Pour ingredients into blender cup in the order listed and blend until smooth. Pour back into serving glass, add garnish and serve