Sweet and Spicy Steen’s BBQ Sauce

New Orleans and the South Louisiana region are home to a number of “specialty items” that aren’t widely available so are on my at-least-semi-annual visits — Camellia red beans for red beans and rice, olive salad for muffalettas,  Savoie’s Roux in a jar for making gumbo in a hurry, Cafe Du Monde Beignet Mix for my children who insist there is only one beignet, various perishables  and one of my favorite”secret ingredients”, Steen’s Pure Cane Syrup.
The Steen Syrup Mill has been producing cane syrup in south Louisiana for over 100 years.   They harvest the ripe cane at its sweetest, grind it down to extract the juice, then cook it in open kettles until it is thick and dark.  In addition to sauces, I like to use it in cures and on pancakes.
Local food historian Poppy Tooker speaking a couple of years ago at the  International Food Blogger Conference in New Orleans on sustainability,  promoted the idea that the way to save the region’s “endangered local foods” like Steen’s cane syrup (as well as Creole cream cheese and rice calas) is “Eat it to Save it”.  This is my contribution.
Sweet and Spicy Steen’s Barbecue Sauce
Ingredients:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 5 cups roughly chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup minced garlic
  • 5 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup Steen’s syrup
  • 1/4 Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions:
  1. Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions to the dutch oven and saute for 10 minutes or until the onions wilt and begin to turn translucent. Add the garlic and continue to saute for about 5 minutes, until the excess liquid has cooked off.
  3. Stir in the ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Steen’s, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and red pepper flakes. Add the salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce, or cool the sauce before transferring it in batches to a conventional blender. After pureeing, simmer the sauce for 3-5 minutes. Taste to correct seasonings and remove from the heat.
Yield: 6 cups
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
I made this batch of sauce to serve with pulled pork sandwiches topped with Creamy Cole Slaw (a serving will be about two tablespoons per sandwich).  Since I planned to store and serve the sauce in plastic squirt bottles, it needed to be completely pureed and very liquid.  The longer the sauce cooks, the thicker it becomes.  If needed, the sauce can be thinned with a combination of water or chicken broth and vinegar.  I also use a thinned down version of the sauce to baste ribs or chicken while barbecuing and a cooked down version to sauce the meats just before I take them off the grill.

Smoked Chicken and Paprika Brunswick Stew

Smoked Chicken and Paprika Brunswick Stew



Cooler weather is on its way to the High Country.  It is still warm enough to grill and eat on the deck, but I packed away my summer clothes tonight and have the hot tub cranked up and ready to go for the first really chilly night.  And we are slowly transitioning from “summer food” to “fall food”.  One of our fall favorites is this Smoked Chicken and Paprika Brunswick Stew.  It goes together quickly, makes great leftovers and gets a satisfying serving of vegetables into the boys.

Smoked Chicken and Paprika Brunswick Stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed Yukon gold potato
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch) diced yellow onion
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup frozen baby lima beans
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  •  2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
  • 3 cups shredded smoked chicken
  • 1 teaspoon sweet Spanish smoked paprika
  • 2  teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until it renders some fat, then add the onions and cook until soft and just beginning to brown.
  2. Add the potatoes, corn, lima beans, tomato sauce and chicken broth. Bring to a gentle boil.
  3. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30  minutes or until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the chicken, paprika, salt, red pepper and black pepper. Simmer for another15 minutes.
  5. Taste, adjust the seasonings, and serve.
Yield: 6 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes
Brunswick stew is a traditional southern dish, with both Georgia and Virginia laying claim to its origins.  The only time I recall eating it growing up in Mississippi, my Delta-based grandmother Mimi prepared it with squirrel meat.  I am thinking that that is the only time I’ve eaten squirrel.  Smoky paprika is clearly not a traditional ingredient, but I love the flavor that it adds.

This stew is based on one published a number of years ago in Cooking Light.  The biggest, and most important, difference between my version and Cooking Light’s is that I use smoked chicken. When whole chickens are on sale, weather permitting, I buy several and throw them on the smoker, then debone and freeze the meat. I’ve also moved the smoker box on to a corner of the grate and smoked the chicken on the gas grill.  With smoked chicken in the freezer, I typically have all the ingredients to throw this together on hand.  Corn bread muffins are the perfect side.

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