Taco Legend World Tour - Staff Home Testing!
Houston… we have a Legendary Lift off!
Much like a Rocket Launch, launching the next generation of Legend cookbook requires months and months of behind the scenes work with many tweaks being made to ensure that the final product works perfectly and provides elevation (in this case the elevation referring to Legendary status!)
Spicery boss James set the project in motion back in the Summer, with a research mission to Southwest U.S.A where he explored the meaty, cheesy, fiery food scene in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico - creating a real buzz in the air every lunchtime as we got to sample some of the findings from his trip (Habanero Pecan brittle or prickly pear jelly anyone?)
Once the recipe developers are over the moon with their final selection, the rest of us at Spicery HQ get the spec-taco-ular fun of staff home testing! As well as giving our lovely customers a sneak peek of the stellar dishes they can look forward to, the staff testing is a great way to make sure that the recipes run successfully when cooked in regular home kitchens and gives everyone at Spicery HQ the chance to have their say on the recipes! On that note, read on and get ready for a tasty road trip across the Southwest states - from the sun drenched streets of Southern Arizona to the birthplace of some of the all-time classic Tex-Mex dishes, Houston!
Jess - Enchiladas Suizas - veggie/Vegan version! Bean & Cheese Dip, Apple Nachos
Enchiladas Suizas - these tasted really nice and made a great family, friendly dinner - my kids loved them! I made two versions, one veggie and one vegan - unfortunately the vegan cheese didn’t melt so it didn’t have the same gooey golden brown and bubbling top layer like the veggie version, but it was delicious nonetheless!
Bean & Cheese Dip - the method for this was clear and easy to follow, I did think this should maybe be a 4 for the heat rating as it was very spicy! This was delicious and very very thick, so thick that my tortilla chips broke so I would recommend using some sturdy chips if you want them to stay intact!
Apple Nachos - these tasted AMAZING! They were very well received and sprinkling the lime zest over at the end to serve really gave the finished dish that extra pizazz!
Jim - Texas BBQ beef and Pico de Gallo, Cheesy Nachos
Texas BBQ beef and Pico de Gallo - The method was super easy to follow, I found the suggestion to cook the beef for longer than the stated time turned out to be necessary in this case and worth it as this tasted really great! The sweet, smoky barbecue flavour really elevates the meal to the next level and the Pico de Gallo also added a lot to the flavour and was a welcome addition, I'm definitely going to cook this recipe again!
Cheesy Nachos - one word: delicious. The cheese flavour wasn't quite what I was expecting- I guess this is because I’m not used to the taste of American cheese so I would probably use cheddar next time! We used oat milk and the sauce didn't thicken as expected meaning I had to add a couple more cheese slices which did the trick!
Kayleigh - Cincinnnati Five Way Chilli (vegan), Guacamole salad
Cincinnnati Five Way Chilli (vegan)- as someone who absolutely loves chilli I was extremely excited to make this and I can confidently say the taste was out of this world! I made this with carrots instead of meat which worked well and the addition of the chopped onion and vegan cheddar cheese on top added a fresh tanginess to this really comforting and delicous dish!
Guacamole salad - a salad with nachos in is a salad that I actually want to eat every day and this vibrant salad was a spectacular accompaniment to the chilli! I tripled the amount of tortilla chips and can't wait to make this citrussy salad all summer long!
Marc - Cajun Blackened Fish Tacos, Dirty rice, Red beans
Cajun Blackened Fish Tacos - I thought this dish was very good and extremely tasty, I really loved the charred style.
Dirty Rice - This was great! Plus the prep only took ten minutes not 30 which was a bonus, I really enjoyed the heat from the chilli and chorizo and probably next time would put more chorizo in as I had a lot spare and I really enjoyed it in the rice dish, this looked brilliant as a side dish!
Red Beans - this was a fantastic side dish as it looked really appealing and tasted nice, the beans weren't that mushy in the alloted time but could squash a little!
Georgia - Chilli con queso with chorizo, Sonoran Hot Dogs and Chocodillas
Chilli con queso with chorizo - this was so delicious! Really rich and cheesy - using spicy chorizo helped to add a little extra kick which was nice and also helped to add a nice pop of colour to an otherwise quite orangey/ beige dip. Mine wasn't as thick as when I've eaten it at work - this is possibly because I ate it straight away whilst it was still warm rather than leaving it to cool. However if I hadn't eaten it before, I wouldn't have known that there was anything wrong/different about it and it was just as enjoyable (if not possibly nicer?) with this texture. I also found that my chorizo sunk down into the dip rather than staying on top - I'm not sure if this is because I didn't leave it to cool for long enough to form a proper skin, or because it was bubbling so aggressively under the grill that this displaced the chorizo! It stopped the chorizo from going crispy on top but it still tasted really nice.
Sonoran Hot Dogs - I used a raw hot dog sausage which took about 20-25 mins to grill rather than 10, otherwise times were pretty accurate- it tasted really good, although I couldn't finish it (having had the tortilla chips and dip as a starter!) - I think it would be better to use a cooked/thin hot dog because the one I used was huge and really filling, especially with all the toppings on it. It looked amazing with all of the various toppings, and using squeezy mayo to drizzle over the top was a great final flourish!
Chocodilla - These only took about 5 minutes to make and they were AMAZING! The addition of Canela added a nice touch of spice. It's amazing how little ingredients it used (only 2 marshmallows for 2 of us) and yet through melting they tasted really rich and the finished thing was actually quite filling. Tom asked to make this again a couple of days later!
Robyn - Crispy dogs
These crispy dogs were the perfect snack! A hot dog sausage with cheese, chipotle ketchup all wrapped up in a tortilla... YES PLEASE! They were delicious and fun for all the family.
The crispy dog crisped up and was brown and toasty all over! I folded the ends of the wraps inside, but it would also work to leave them out so you can see the sausage. I served mine up alongside some extra ketchup and mustard and they're so easy to make, I came home from work the next day to a freshly cooked batch!
Kelly - Beef Fajitas spread, Birra Ramen
Beef Fajitas spread - This was awesome! Often at home if I am making a large feast I can over complicate things and it can take me hours and hours. I can't believe what a great feast this was with minimal foods needing to be bought. I even often have a lot of these ingredients just in the cupboards. This spread came together really well, hands down my fave thing was the tallow tortilla! Now whenever I make them I will always use lard as this made them super soft!
Birra Ramen - MAKE THIS YOU WON'T REGRET IT! This dish is a 10/10 from me! I had the pleasure of testing this once before in the spicery HQ kitchen and now once again at home, it is legit my favourite dish in the whole book. I added a little green kale to mine as I like a little veg with my dinner!