In A New Way to Cook, author Sally Schneider extols the virtues of lapsang souchong tea to make what she calls smoky tea essence. She says, "It imparts a sweet, bacony, smoky flavor to foods" without using smoked meat, paprika, or adding liquids as required by other methods. She rubs smoky essence on steaks, infuses it into broths (for soups and stews), and adds it to beans and roasted peppers. In particular, when cooking for vegetarians, she uses it instead of bacon or ham to give that smoky flavor.

Start by buying a box of lapsang souchong tea bags by Twinings at Whole Foods. While several supermarkets carry Twinings products, I have not found this tea anywhere else locally. You may be able to find it loose at a specialty tea shop or online.

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If you buy bags, begin the process by cutting them open. Empty the tea into a blender or spice grinder. Blend the tea until you have very fine powder. Tip: let the mixture settle before removing the cover so the powder does not fly into the air. Use a dry pastry brush to push the powder through a fine strainer set over a funnel so it goes into a clean, dry container. You can blend and strain the larger bits again if necessary. Store the powder in a tightly sealed spice jar (with a shaker top), ideally away from light.

Try it in beef stew, chili, or sprinkled on roasted veggies.

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>Lapsang Souchong Tea
In A New Way to Cook, Sally Schneider extolls the virtues of lapsang souchong tea to make smokey tea essence.

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>True Citrus
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