Lapsang Souchong

My tea sample from the TeaChef program at Adagio Teas arrived in the mail yesterday. January’s tea is Lapsang Souchong, a very smoky black tea that is dried in “bamboo baskets over pine fires”. I had a cup of it black last night, and was really impressed. It’s a sort of love-it-or-hate-it tea, but if you like smoked or charcoal grilled foods, it has the same sort of kick. VERY pungent as loose leaf in the canister, it mellowed somewhat after steeping. Yum.

The point of the TeaChef program is to send out samples of tea, then collect recipes from the participants and vote on the favorite. I have an idea for this tea, and just need to work out the details this weekend. Based on a tea-smoked duck breast recipe that Geoff was kind enough to pass along, I hope to produce a tea-smoked cornish game hen stuffed with a mushroom stuffing. Left with a pound and a half of mushrooms in the fridge on the verge of going south, I made a batch of duxelle de champignon (mushroom stuffing) last night which was quite easy to make and should keep for a good week or two in the fridge. I like the idea of a game hen (or quail, but that may be trickier to find) over my fallback plan of a stuffed chicken breast mainly for the novelty of presentation, although if I were serving more people I would happily bone a chicken (<beavis>heh, heh, he said “bone”</beavis>), roll it and tie around the mushroom stuffing for a chicken roulade. I’m thinking that I’ll serve the hen alongside an étuvée of carrots and some brown rice – basically some French flavors with a kick from the smoky Chinese tea.

I’ll post more once I have the final plans worked out, along with a link where you can vote for my recipe if you choose.