It’s time for the January Recipe ReDux! This month’s theme is Smoked Foods.
I love smoked foods, condiments, spices…whatever! They are so robust in flavor and character, it’s hard not to like a naturally smoked food. If you have only ever had smoke-flavored foods from a package and not the actual thing, then you are missing out on one of life’s great treats. Smoke-flavoring just isn’t the same!
One of my favorite memories was when we lived in Washington state for a little while: we would go the Lummi Indian reservation near our town and buy cold-smoked salmon. It was the best smoked salmon in the world (not an exaggeration)! I was ruined after that: anything less than the Lummi smoked salmon just wasn’t quite as good.
Living in Wyoming, we have a lot of friends and family who smoke their own food, so many gatherings and events have smoked meats at the centerpiece. For Thanksgiving last year, we smoked a Turducken. In the fall we smoke batches of venison jerky after our hunting trips. We do more smoking in the summer along with grilling almost every day when it’s warm out. Grilling and smoking are my favorite ways to cook!
For this Recipe ReDux I went back to one of my old favorites: smoked tea. Smoked black tea is called lapsang souchong, and it’s used in some Russian Caravan tea blends. I wrote a little bit about it in one of my old tea posts a couple years ago. Lapsang souchong is one of those things that people either love or hate (some people are pretty adamant about hating it!), but I happen to be one of those people that really love smoked tea. Make sure you get good quality lapsang souchong for the best flavor!
My lapsang souchong – I can’t remember which brand this is…
Lapsang souchong is a black tea (Republic of Tea uses fukien lapsang souchong) from the Wuyi Moutains in the Chinese province of Fujian where black teas first originated. The tea leaves are withered then dried over pinewood fires, so it takes on the wonderful smoke flavors of the wood. Some sources claim that lapsang souchang was the first black tea in history and that it was a favorite of Winston Churchill. I’m a tea nerd, I love tea history! 😉
My favorite instant coffee
I decided to combine my 2 favorite things: coffee and smoked tea. I wasn’t really sure what to call this latte: a dirty tea latte? Tea-coffee latte? dirty lapsang latte? I finally settled on Smokey Lapsang Latte, it’s yummy!
- 1-2 teaspoons lapsong souchong smoked tea
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1-2 teaspoon high quality instant coffee*
- 1/2 cup favorite non-dairy milk heated
- Heat water to boiling in a kettle. Put loose lapsong souchong in a mesh tea basket and steep for about 3-4 minutes depending on how strong you like it. Don't over-steep the tea or swish it around as this will make it bitter.
- Whisk in 1-2 teaspoons high-quality instant coffee, depending on how strong you want your coffee.
- Stir in 1/2 cup hot non-dairy milk of choice (I like unsweetened almondmilk).
- Add a couple drops of vanilla cream Stevia to taste
Notes: Be careful not to over-steep your smoked tea or it will become bitter and acidic * As an alternate, you can pour 1 cup hot coffee over the tea so the tea steeps in the hot coffee then add a bit of milk or creamer to your preference Your latte will be a bit darker in color than the photos shown here: this was my second cup and I steeped the tea leaves twice so the tea was weaker the second time around