I didn’t think it was possible, but I finally found a tea I don’t like!
One year ago I attended the Toronto Tea Festival with a friend. We sat in on a seminar about cooking with tea. The speaker kept referring to something called “Lapsang Souchong” and neither of us had any idea what she was talking about. Never heard of it before, and wondered how I could have missed something that was obviously so important.
Fast forward to Christmas this year, when I opened my lovely giftbox of DAVIDs TEA samples and found “lapsang souchong star” in one of the tins! “Aha!” I thought. “That’s that tea that the speaker was going on about! I can’t wait to try it!”
I opened the tin a little over a month ago for a little sniff… and almost DIED!! I started choking and gagging at the startling and overwhelming smell of SMOKE! Heavy. Dark. Rolling around in the campfire ashes. Burning down the house. Forest fire. Cinderella, sweepin’ out the fireplace kind of smoke!! I felt my blood run cold as I thought “This is not tea! This is pure evil in a tin!” There was no way I could ever see myself drinking this… I couldn’t get it past my nose! If you know me at all, you will be very well acquainted with my feelings on ‘smoke’ of any kind!
I took the tin out of the tea box and set it on the counter where I’ve been having a staring contest with it for the past month. What was I going to do with it? The only thing I could imagine was to cook it into something like meatloaf, or spareribs… something that would benefit from a little smoke. It clearly isn’t meant for drinking…is it?? Do people actually drink this??
OK… next chapter… Last night I was perusing DAVIDs TEA’s Flickr page where they have lots of lovely cocktail recipes, and I found a RECIPE for “lapsang souchong star marinade”. Perfect!! I can make it into a marinade and cook up that chicken in the fridge!
Followed the directions. The smoke smell in my kitchen is overwhelming. I have the air purifier going full-blast, trying to ‘un-smoke’ the place. Only, now it’s smoke with garlic. It’s not an improvement.
I followed the recipe from DAVIDs TEA’s Flickr page which calls for 1 cup of the tea, 2 cloves of garlic, some orange zest, and little bits of anise and brown sugar. I marinated 4 chicken legs for about 90 minutes, and laid it out on the broiler pan. I ground up my own mixture of cumin, anise, and salt and sprinkled it lightly over the chicken, and finally laid a slice of orange over the top of each leg and popped it under the broiler for about 75 minutes.
It was super easy and pretty delicious! DAVIDs TEA; you redeemed yourselves with this recipe idea. The lapsang souchong which I found so offensive in the tin faded nicely into the chicken, lending a very subtle, barely detectable smokiness, and balancing the anise and orange. Nothing was too overpowering. Just a nice, mild, savoury dish.
I still have lots of the tea left, so am thinking I’ll put it in a meatloaf next… unless anybody wants to take this off my hands. Come on… I dare you!
*UPDATE* July, 2014
I made the meatloaf. It was completely overwhelmed by the weird smoky tea. I forced myself to eat it, so as not to waste the food, but I was never so glad to be rid of a tea!