Like with the pastrami bacon that had come before, once I had a batch of garlicky and spicy Cajun bacon, I was left considering what to pair this uniquely flavored cured pork belly with. I've already done so many recipes this bacon would have been perfect for, like blackened burgers and blackened chicken sandwiches, but I wanted to cook something I could use for a new recipe for the site, so got to thinking. I didn't venture far off those previous courses and wound up making blackened chicken tacos, which I thought would essentially taste like the sandwiches in taco form, but they really turned out to be something truly distinct.
If you want to go all in on this recipe and recreate just as I made it, I have full documentation on how to make the Cajun bacon at home. While that bacon was incredibly well suited in this situation, it is by no means necessary since, in the end, the bacon really served to add a saltiness, smokiness, and crunch and the chicken was enough to add that Cajun/blackened taste on its own. This one concrete recommendation I do have on bacon selection is to go with thick cut—I found the thicker slices apt to hold their own against the heavily spiced chicken.
If you continue on to wanting the exact taco experience I had, you can also choose to make your own flour tortillas. This is also not a necessity and I didn't include tortilla directions in the final recipe, but I think this is well worth the effort, more so than making your own bacon. Flour tortillas are a favorite of mine and I'll take any excuse to make them, which is the primary reason why I chose them over corn tortillas here. My preference is for the thin and tender Houston-style tortillas that are laden with lard, but the puffier, more common style you can pick up anywhere would be great in this recipe too.
Chipotle mayo has fallen off my radar in recent years, but I resurrected it to make some mighty tasty meatloaf paninis recently and remembered why it was once a condiment king. That smoky, spicy, and tangy flavor of chipotle mayo seemed like it would find another good home in these tacos, so I whipped up another batch of it. A remoulade was also in contention as a sauce here, and I imagine that would work just as well, but it is deeper on ingredients and represents a slight bump in overall effort.
Before I set out on any recipe, I do some comparative research for inspiration, ideas, and to try to find ways recipes may be improved. Blackened chicken tacos are definitely a thing people have explored before, but almost all the recipes I saw called for a pineapple pico as the primary topper. It seemed like an idea one person did and everyone ran with it, and I almost did too, but then paused and wondered if I really wanted to drown that earthy and spicy Cajun seasoning flavor in sweetness, and decided no—I really wanted those traits to shine in the end tacos above all else. What I did want out of a topper was both textural and flavor enhancements more than overt contrasts and decided a red slaw would be a good choice to deliver that.
Extra-crunchy red cabbage and sharp red onions make up the base of this slaw that has a simple dressing of apple cider vinegar, sugar, and pepper. I've used a similar recipe to great success in other dishes previously that tilted to a barbecue flavor profile. In those instances I found a bit of celery seed gave the slaw an extra boost of complimentary flavor, but that didn't feel like the right pairing for these tacos, so I tried tossing in some cilantro instead and instantly the slaw picked up a much fresher flavor that tasted like it would really add what might otherwise could have been a missing component in the final taco.
With a deep bench of recipes utilizing a Cajun seasoning, I have a tried and true spice mixture to turn to in these instances. It doesn't include all that many spices, but when paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne all come together, they form a sharp, spicy, and earthy union that gives anything the mixture touches a Cajun slant.
In this instance, I applied that seasoning mixture to chicken thighs in a heavy fashion. I chose thighs over breasts here for their longer cooking time and increased flavor—I wanted that seasoning to have enough time on the grill to actual blacken while still being able to taste the chicken against that heavy handed spice mixture.
For grilling, I utilized a two-zone fire where all of the coals were arranged on one side of the charcoal grate. I then started by putting the chicken on the hot side of the grill and cooking it uncovered for maximum heat. Before the chicken hit the flames it looked a little dry and I wondered if it might benefit from a brushing of oil, but as it cooked, some fat rendered and juices were brought to the surface, which had the thighs developing a glistening quality with still a slightly dry seasoning appearance, and was what I wanted. As each piece was finished, I transferred it to a cutting board.
Next I laid the bacon strips on the cool side of the grill and covered. My goal was to get these strips extra crispy to keep that crunch retained in the final taco, so I let them cook, turning and flipping occasionally, until they turned a deep mahogany color. Once done, I transferred the bacon to a paper towel to allow it to drain.
With the chicken now rested about 10 minutes, it was time to roughly chop it to turn it into a taco filling. I also roughly crumbled the bacon at the same time.
Finally, I heated up my tortillas quickly on the grill until they were hot and pliable and then assembled the tacos by filling each tortilla with a combo of chicken and bacon first, then a layer of the red slaw, and finally a squeeze of the chipotle mayo.
As I mentioned from the start, I was expecting this to just taste like a blackened chicken sandwich in taco form, but that's not what happened. Sure, the spicy and earthy flavor of the blackened seasoning was upfront like in a sandwich, but the way in which is melded with the crispy and salty bacon felt different, and then the experience took another turn as the slaw provided an alternative crunch, hit of freshness, and tangy contrast that helped balance out the heaviness of the main filling. The smokiness in the chipotle mayo was key in jumping the flavor up another step, then it was the tender flour tortilla that provided a lighter touch wrapper over bread that I think made all the other ingredients shine even more. An added bonus of the taco format was that it made it easier to eat one after another—both the wife and I ate three to make a meal. All-in-all, it was a great way to start out my explorations utilizing my Cajun bacon and I'm excited to see where I'll be led next, which I'm totally open to suggestions to!
Published on Thu Apr 29, 2021 by Joshua Bousel
Yield 4 servings
Prep 20 Minutes
Cook 20 Minutes
Total 40 Minutes
For the Chipotle Mayonnaise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 chipotle chiles from 1 can of chipotles in adobo
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can of chipotles in adobo
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
For the Red Coleslaw
1/2 large head red cabbage, finely shredded on a mandoline or by hand
3/4 cup red onion, finely minced (about 1/2 a medium onion)
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided, plus more to taste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons finely minced fresh cilantro
For the Red Chicken
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
For the Tacos
1/3 lb thick-cut bacon
8 taco-sized flour tortillas
To make the chipotle mayonnaise: Place mayonnaise, sour cream, chipotles, lime juice, adobo sauce, and cumin in the jar of a blender. Puree until chipotles are completely chopped and sauce is smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
To make the slaw: Combine cabbage and onion in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and 1/4 cup sugar and toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer to a large colander and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Transfer vegetables to a salad spinner and spin dry. Alternatively, transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with a triple layer of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and blot mixture dry with more towels. Return to large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, and pepper. Pour dressing over vegetables, add in cilantro, and toss to coat. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, and/or sugar. Set aside.
To make the chicken: In a small bowl, mix together paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Season chicken liberally all over with seasoning. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place chicken on hot side of grill and and cook, flipping occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest.
Lay bacon slices on cool side of grill. Cover grill and cook until bacon begins to shrink in size and develop pools of fat, about 5 minutes. Flip bacon slices over, cover, and continue to cook until bacon is deeply browned and crisp, 5-8 minutes more. Transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate.
To make the tacos: Roughly chop chicken and roughly crumble bacon. Place tortillas on hot side of grill and warm until soft and pliable, about 30 seconds. Top each tortilla with chicken and bacon followed by coleslaw and chipotle mayo. Serve immediately.
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By: email@example.com (Joshua Bousel)
Title: Blackened Chicken Tacos
Sourced From: meatwave.com/recipes/grilled-blackened-chicken-tacos-recipe
Published Date: 04/29/21
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[FTC Standard Disclosure] We received no compensation for this post. After being big fans of Thermoworks products since 2010, I have recently enrolled as a Thermoworks affiliate.
We don't do a lot of sauces for steak. Dragging fresh slices of steak through the juices, seasonings, and melted butter on the cutting board is my standard MO. But every now and then, I like to shake things up and get a little saucy like I did with this Portobello Marsala Strip Steak.
The salty sweet flavor of the sauce and mushrooms pairs excellently with the steak.
Slight confession, we typically split a steak between the two of us for dinner because our appetites have slowed down as we have gotten older. The good news is that means we get to have steaks for dinner two nights in a row.
The full recipe is at the bottom of the post. Here are a few pictures and tips from the cooks.
USDA Prime is the grade, Certified Angus Beef® is the brand. How is the brand more selective? For one, USDA allows for the steer to be A or B maturity for prime beef. However, Certified Angus Beef's 10 science-based standards allow only for A maturity.
In addition to the USDA grade and brand name, I also consider the color and marbling. I look for a steak that is deep red like this and has lots of white flecks (smaller the better) evenly distributed across the steak.
As I mentioned, often have this two nights in a row. In this mise en place, you can see we used black pepper and garlic salt for the seasoning.
In this mise en place, I used my NMT Umami Steak Seasoning which harnesses the natural flavor enhancers found in mushrooms. Of course, in both set ups, you see my trusty Thermapen instant read thermometer, the gold standard for food thermometers. Thermoworks is closing out the Thermapen Mk4's for just $69 right now (usually they are $90).
It was a sunny, mild day so I rolled my Challenger Designs Torch cart out from under the gazebo.
Make sure to give your cast iron skillet adequate time to preheat, about 5 minutes should get it to 500°f. If the steak doesn't sizzle and smoke when you put it on, the skillet isn't hot enough.
The advantage to a skillet over grill grates is that you get an even, flavorful crust like this from a skillet. Grill marks look nice too and I still grill steaks, but I probably use a skillet 7 out of 10 times.
Cook times on a skillet are often shorter, especially with thinner steaks like these strips, so keep your eye on your steaks and have a fast reading thermometer.
Portobello and cremini mushrooms are the same mushroom at different maturities, so you may find these labeled as Portobello, cremini, or even "baby bellas". It doesn't matter, just make sure to slice them thinly for quick cooking and you'll want about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of them after slicing.
At these temps, the mushrooms will cook quickly like they do in stir fry.
Marsala has a low amount of alcohol so you don't need to worry about possible eruptions of flame like can happen with bourbon or tequila. But as with adding any liquid to a hot skillet, still be careful to avoid steam burns.
When the marsala is almost dry like this, it is time to add the beef stock. This skillet is the 1930's era Griswold that I restored last year.
This is after adding the stock, seasoning, and slurry. Tip: I don't use the full cup of stock at first. I use about 2/3 to 3/4ths of the reduced stock. If the sauce gets too thick, then I whisk in some more stock to get the consistency that I like.
This picture is terrible but I want to point out something about fortifying the sauce with butter. First, be sure to use cold butter for the final step. Secondly, keep the butter moving around the skillet until it has melted and combined with the sauce, so it emulsifies. This will keep your sauce from splitting.
The sweet and salty sauce enhances the flavor of the steak without covering it up.
When it comes to sauced steaks, this Portobello Marsala sauce and our gorgonzola sauce are two of my favorites.
Portobello Marsala Strip SteaksBy www.nibblemethis.com
Pan seared NY Strip Steaks with sliced Portobello mushrooms in a marsala sauce served over noodles.
Ingredients2 10-ounce Certified Angus Beef® Brand NY Strip Steakshigh temperature cooking oil such as canola, peanut, etc2 1/2 teaspoons steak seasoning (see notes)2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided6 medium-sized portobello mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced1 tablespoon finely diced shallot1/2 cup marsala wine1 cup reduced beef stock (see notes)4 ounces dry Angel Hair pasta, cooked according to directionsSlurry made by whisking 1 tablespoon corn starch with 1 tablespoon of cold water together1 green onion, slicedInstructionsPreheat the grill to 500°f. Set up the grill for direct heat (cooking directly above the heat) and light the grill. Five minutes before cooking , add a cast-iron skillet or other grill-safe skillet to the grill and allow it to preheat.Sear the steaks. Lightly coat the steaks with about 1 teaspoon each of the cooking oil. Season each steak with about 1 teaspoon of the steak seasoning. Place the steaks in the skillet and cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature reaches 125°f for medium-rare. Remove to a resting rack and keep warm.Make the sauceSaute the mushrooms. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet and stir in the mushrooms to coat them. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are wilting and giving off their moisture, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the shallot and cook until the shallot is tender and transluscent, another 1-2 minutes.Stir in the marsala wine and leave the grill open so the wine will evaporate down to just a tablespoon or so, about 2 minutes.Stir in the stock and the final 1/2 teaspoon of the steak seasoning. Allow to come to a simmer.Whisk in the slurry and cook until the sauce thickens, about 30-60 seconds.Remove from heat and slowly stir the cold butter until it is dissolved. Serve. Divide the pasta between two plates and top with the sauce. Slice the steak and place on the pasta. Garnish with green onions.Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins. Cook time: 00 hrs. 15 mins.
Total time: 25 mins.
Tags: steak, skillet, mushroomsNotes
Steak seasoning – I have used this same recipe using several steak seasonings so use your favorite. I often use my NMT Umami Steak Seasoning recipe. I also enjoy using using a 1:1 mix of dustless coarse black pepper and garlic salt.Reduced beef stock – Reducing the beef stock will concentrate the flavor and add body to the final sauce. Place 2 cups of beef stock in a pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to maintain a steady simmer until the stock has reduced in volume by half to one cup, which should take about 20 minutes.
Title: Portobello Marsala Strip Steaks
Sourced From: www.nibblemethis.com/2021/07/portobello-marsala-strip-steaks.html
Published Date: 07/26/21
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If you’ve visited the Pacific Northwest, chances are you’ve enjoyed one of the most distinctive American ways to grill fish: on a cedar or alder plank. The process satisfies and gratifies on quite a few levels.
First, the wood imparts a unique flavor all its own—a spicy, wine-like flavor in the case of cedar; a woodier, smokier flavor in the case of alder. It also tends to absorb any strong fishy flavors, a plus when serving stronger-flavored fish like salmon or bluefish, to people who are iffy about seafood. The plank keeps the fish from drying out and from sticking to the grill grate (a perennial problem). Last, it also eliminates the need to turn the fish over (a task which bedevils even experienced pit masters).
The technique originated, it appears, with the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest who roasted local salmon in special cedar holders over blazing embers.
But there’s evidence that planking was also practiced in colonial times: George Washington hosted shad cook-outs at Mount Vernon, and an annual Shad Planking festival is still held each April in Sussex County. And 18th cookbooks describe cooking fish on planks in the oven. (Some food historians claim cooking food on hardwoods originated in Scandinavia.)
Inspired, chefs adopted the method, but didn’t limit the planked food to fish. In fact, any food that can be cooked low and slow and that doesn’t depend on searing can be cooked on planks. I have been experimenting with this technique for decades, and have published many recipes featuring not only fin fish like salmon and trout, but shellfish, meats like chicken and pork, as well as vegetables, tofu, fruit, and more. (See below.)
In fact, I recently introduced cedar grilling planks to my line of barbecue products. These planks—each package contains two 5.5- by 11.5-inch boards—will be your ticket to infusing your grilled food with flavorful wood smoke. They can be used with charcoal, gas, or pellet grills.
Personally, I like to singe the plank over the flames before arranging the food on it. But if you’re interested in reusing the plank, soak it in water (salted, if desired) or a flavorful liquid, like beer, wine, or fruit juice for an hour before grilling to discourage scorching. (A bag of ice or a heavy ceramic dish will keep the plank submerged. Do not use canned goods as the bottoms can leave black marks on the plank.)
- Keep a spray bottle of water near the grill to extinguish any unexpected flare-ups on the plank as your food cooks.
- Wood conducts heat more slowly than metal grill grates, so planked foods may take longer to cook.
- Have a heat-proof surface at the ready—a place where you can set your planked food after removing it from the grill. An overturned rimmed sheet pan is one option. The planks might harbor glowing embers when removed from the grill.
- To discourage sticking, brush the plank with vegetable oil before arranging food on it.
- If you intend to reuse a plank—depending on how it’s been treated, planks can be reused one to two times—scrub it with plain water. Do not use soap.
- For the most dramatic presentation, serve food directly on the plank.
Recipes for Planking
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Smoked Planked Trout with Caper Dill Sauce
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Scotch Whisky-Smoked Salmon on a Cedar Plank with Grilled Mini Bagels
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Cedar Plank Chocolate Brownie S’Mores
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Planked Salmon with Maple-Mustard Glaze
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Cedar-Planked Eggplant Parmigiana
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We’d love to hear your planking stories. Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or Instagram!
The post Planking, Demystified appeared first on Barbecuebible.com.
Title: Planking, Demystified
Sourced From: barbecuebible.com/2021/07/23/planking-demystified/
Published Date: 07/23/21
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When my wife suggested having kebabs recently, I imagined I'd be cooking meat on a stick because that's inevitably where one's mind goes when using the word “kebab.” With new recipes for the site always a priority, I set out to find or create something not previously covered here and began scrolling the interwebs and Instagram for inspiration. When I came across a video of chapli kebab being fried in a large pan on the street, I was immediately taken. I dug a little deeper and familiarized myself the best I could from video, words, and pictures with the different varieties of chapli kebab made in Afghanistan and Pakistan and knew this highly seasoned ground meat mixture was going to be right up my ally. So I gave it shot and was completely won over by these non-skewered little discs of beef that I can't say represent authenticity for sure, but they certainly deliver on immense deliciousness.
The variation in chapli kebab between the two countries seem mostly to be around the exact seasoning mixture, but they are also not that far separated in that arena. I assume there's differences from vendor to vendor as well, so I doubt there's one right answer, which gives me hope that my initial combination of spices that included coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, and pomegranate seeds, which I toasted and ground, was starting out on the right foot.
The spices were just the beginning though, these kebabs had a ton of veggie mix-ins too—the chopping of all the onions, green chilies, tomato, cilantro, scallions, and garlic represented the most time and effort in this recipe. Once those were all prepped, it was quick to mix everything together with the high-fat ground beef plus the gram (chickpea) flour and egg used as binders.
Once I had the mixture looking evenly distributed, I began portioning and shaping. I did this by breaking off roughly a 2-inch ball of meat and flattening it between my palms into a disc a little over three inches in diameter and about half an inch tall.
Now frying in animal fat is the traditional way to cook these kebabs, but I figured they had to do well on the grill. That confidence was slightly defeated as I found they didn't grill with the ease I was imagining. The amount of veggies that went into the meat made it looser than things like meatballs and burgers, and that led the first couple patties I tried to flip to fall apart.
I was able to avoid that folly going forward by ensuring the first side we very well seared before trying to move them at all. For something like a burger, this would make me nervous about uneven and potential overcooking, but I did want these kebabs cooked all the way through, plus a deep sear seemd to be the right course of action given chapli kebab is usually fried and get just as browned, if not more, in the hot oil.
Once the patties were all done, I plated them up on fresh naan-e-afghani along with fresh sliced tomatoes, red onion, and lime wedges. I knew by just reading the ingredient list that I was going to love these, but I wasn't prepared for how much I was going to love them—for someone attracted to big flavors, these probably delivered the most flavor of any kebabs I've ever had. There was an upfront heat that had a great freshness to it which melded with the cilantro, scallions, and tomato. There was then a background sweetness that I attributed to the onions, while the spices gave that earthy quality which is common in a lot of Middle Eastern and Persian dishes. I didn't include the fresh veggies and bread accompaniments when I originally wrote up this recipe, but they felt so central to the meal as a whole that I thought they had to be added in to really deliver the full experience that brought me so much joy the day I made these chapli kebab.
Published on Thu Jul 29, 2021 by Joshua Bousel
- Yield 3-4 servings
- Prep 20 Minutes
- Cook 10 Minutes
- Total 30 Minutes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon dried pomegranate seeds
- 1 pound ground beef (at least 20% fat)
- 1 cup finely minced onion (about 1 medium onion)
- 1/2 cup diced tomato
- 1/3 cup finely minced fresh cilantro
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped green chili (such as Anaheim or jalapeño)
- 3 tablespoons finely minced scallions (about 2 scallions)
- 3 tablespoons gram flour
- 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- For Serving
- Sliced fresh vegetables (such as tomato, red onion, and cucumber)
- 1 lemon or lime, wedged
- Place coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, and pomegranate seeds in a small skillet set over medium-high heat. Toast until spices become fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer spices to a spice grinder or granite mortar and pestle and process into a coarse powder.
- Place beef in a large bowl and add in ground spices, onion, tomato, cilantro, green chili, scallions, gram flour, garlic, salt, crushed red pepper, and egg. Using hands, combine mixture until ingredients are evenly distributed. Break off a roughly 2-inch ball of meat mixture and flatten into a patty roughly 3-inches wide and 1/2-inch thick. Place patty on tray and repeat process until all meat has been shaped.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place patties on grill and cook until well seared on first side, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip patties and continue to cook until second side is well seared and meat is cooked throughout, another 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer patties to a serving platter and serve immediately with fresh vegetables, citrus wedges, and/or naan-e-afghani.
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By: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joshua Bousel)
Title: Chapli Kebab
Sourced From: meatwave.com/recipes/afghani-chapli-kebab-recipe
Published Date: 07/29/21
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