Rekindle the Fire: Cajun Chicken Tater Skins

by zydecopaws on January 19, 2015

Under the heading of better late than never, we’re back with another installment of the Rekindle the Fire series (which is pretty much the only thing that gets us to post lately). And for those following along, yes, we totally blew the commitment to do one of these every two weeks, but sometimes life gets in the way of posting food pictures on the Interwebs.

But enough of excuses and apologies. When last seen, Tom of Big Butz BBQ had cooked up an offering of Tomahawk Berkshire Chops using Berkshire Tomahawk Chops (well, duh), russet potatoes, celery, and sour cream. Not having a Berkshire rib roast sitting around, and celery being off limits due to these rules we came up with, that left me with russet potatoes and sour cream to choose from. Oh, and a playoff game that I was actually home to watch (go Hawks!). So what better than a new spin on an old classic? Behold the Cajun Chicken Tater Skins:

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Basically these are potato skins stuffed with a buffalo hot wings cheddar cheese (get this at your local Costlyco; good stuff to use in homemade mac and cheese and other cheddar cheese dishes you want to spice up) then topped with spicy Cajun-style pulled chicken thighs, finely diced shallots (I suppose you could use scallions if you had them on hand; I didn’t so you go with what is in the pantry), and a drizzle of Big Butz No Butz sauce if you are feeling adventurous.

The chicken thighs were de-skinned then rubbed with a mixture of red chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and some leftover unidentifiable spice mix from a previous trashbag taters cook (likely contained lemon pepper, more garlic powder, and oregano along with who knows what else). Quantities were measured in some of this, some of that, and a whole bunch of the hot stuff. Once the chicken was properly covered it went on the BS Keg along with some monster taters.

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After a couple of hours on the grill at temperatures somewhere in the 275-325°F range all the components were ready for final assembly. Which is to say the chicken had an internal temp of 185°F and the taters were cooked enough that the centers could be scooped out and turned into a mash that had nothing to do with this particular recipe but will show up later in this post anyway.

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The chicken was pulled (shredded, for those that object to the previous term) and the taters were sliced in half lengthwise and scooped out. Shredded cheese was then loaded into the bottom of the tater canoes and chicken piled high on top of the cheese. Diced shallots and red bell pepper (yeah, I know, an extra component not mentioned above) went on top of the chicken, and a drizzle of No Butz sauce went over the top of that. Once complete, the assembly went back on the grill (indirect) that was now cranked up to about 400°F. And they weren’t alone as I had extra tater skins and a whole lot of potato to deal with. For those looking for the twice-baked potato recipe, I’m pretty sure it exists elsewhere on this blog and several thousand others on the web. The only thing setting these apart from most that you see elsewhere was the use of the hot wings cheddar and the size of the bacon topping them.

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And we weren’t done yet, as we still had mash leftover after the rest of the skins were filled. So we made a potato sundae that was a big hit with the not-so-little-anymore red-haired boy.

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So there you have it. Hopefully the bonus footage makes up for the lateness of the post. And for those looking for the recipe, welcome to my family’s nightmare and the constant phrase used around here: “It was great, but we’ll never have it exactly like that again because you never measure anything.”

My response to these comments is that is what tastebuds are for. Which is much kinder than “learn to cook with your senses instead of all those fancy measuring devices.” Now go outdoors and cook something.

Rekindle the Fire: Thanksgiving Pie

by zydecopaws on December 8, 2014

Another two weeks have gone by, leftovers are still present from a pre-Thanksgiving weekend cooking extravaganza, and another Rekindle the Fire post is due. What better to do than serve up some leftovers in the form of pie and kill two birds (actually one bird and one pig) with one stone? Or two pies. Or something like that. We’ll get business out of the way first with the turkey dinner cottage pie.

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That doesn’t look all that interesting, but under the mashed potato topping was a crust made of chopped stuffing and a filling of turkey, gravy, and stuffing type ingredients such as yellow onions (I had to have a carry-over from Tom’s last post; that would be it), celery, water chestnuts, and mushrooms. Perhaps this picture will be a bit more interesting.

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We sometimes get into ruts around here (pizza, anyone?), but they are usually done for good reason. In this case, savory pies are a great way to use up leftovers and really hit the mark with all the cold, wet weather we’ve had lately. And this was a good one, spiced well with traditional turkey seasonings (thyme, sage, rosemary) and served up as a single dish rather than a plate of cold leftovers reheated in the microwave. Certainly you’d rather have a bite of this, than that microwave option…

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So for Tom’s benefit, the four ingredients he has to work with for his next post are turkey, stuffing, celery, and yellow onions (off limits). And for the rest of you, I’ll leave you with the other pie we made the same evening.

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If it looks a bit cheesy, that’s because it is. This was a pulled (actually chopped) pork and potato pie with cheesy topping and Big Butz No Butz sauce. Needless to say, this one was a big hit as well.

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This one also had yellow onions it it, so I suppose I could have used it instead of the turkey pie for the post. But then that would give Tom too big of an advantage with his next post since he is the source of all things Big Butz sauce-wise…

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