I think we’ve done this kind of thread before, but I love learning other peoples’ kitchen tricks!
I just made an apple crumble, and I added a few big handfuls of sesame seeds to the topping. Delish! I buy them in a big jar from the Asian supermarket.
Anchovy paste in sauces and stews. Most savoury things can benefit from the salty umami boost. It doesn’t end up tasting fishy, if you just use a little. Also works with little fillets, they usually disintegrate if you add them with the sauteeing onions.
Golden syrup - I use this in place of corn syrup or honey in various caramel applications. So yum. Also great in oatmeal/porridge with currants.
Not much of a secret, but I always put a little brown sugar in my chili. And a little bit of cocoa powder if I remember. Doesn’t taste sweet or chocolately, just does something extra. People love my chili.
Chicken feet in chicken soup can add a lot of body if you can find the feet and not feel too grossed out by them. Otherwise stick to fresh dill and sneaking in better than bullion or some canned soup to your homemade stuff.
I use summer savory in pretty much all my beef dishes; the herb itself doesn’t seem that strongly flavored, but it really enhances the taste of the dish. It goes in many of my soups and sauces as well.
My apple pie secret is to use two kinds of apples. My recipe calls for 6 apples; I go with 4 Cortlands and 2 Granny Smith. That gets just the sharpness I want, and I think it makes for a little added complexity to go with the sweetness.
I’ve started adding a dash of cayenne to a lot of dishes to give it a little extra kick without changing the taste. Helps keep the amount of salt needed down too, as does a squeeze of lemon right before serving.
When preparing a breading mix or coating for frying fish, chicken, or anything else that I fry, I add a heaping table spoon or 2 of corn starch. Keeps the breaded outside of the food crunchy and not soggy.