We are back to help you Spice things Up…

We are back to help you Spice things Up…

Welcome back!  Last week we talked about the differences of pasture raised versus factory farmed animals.  Or, more accurately, we began talking about the dangers of factory farming and put the benefits of pasture-raised on hold… and we were supposed to revisit this today.  HOWEVER, we got such an amazing response on our write-up on spices, we are going to put this pasture-raised debate off a week and tell you more about spices!

More beautiful spices, ready to be added to your meal

More beautiful spices, ready to be added to your meal

            Alright, so we are changing up our original plan today – we were going to dive into the argument for pasture-raised meat, but since you (our wonderful audience) loved the idea of knowing more about spices, we are going to take this week in that direction instead.

            This means that, next week, we will be going back to our originally planned content.  But, for now, let’s get right into it with spices.

What we talked about last week…

            Last week we started to get into the different spices and seasonings that you might want to use on different meats to accentuate different flavor profiles.

            The plan was to do poultry, fish, lamb/mutton, pork, and beef.

            Well, as massive purveyors of high-quality beef, we kind of got going on beef.

            And then we kept going…

            And we got stuck there for our entire word allowance.

            So, if you want to know more about spicing beefs and steaks, then by all means go back and check out our post from last Friday (link above in the preview).  If you have read it, or would rather read it later…

            Or hey… maybe you just really want to know about spicing chicken, pork, fish, and lamb or mutton.

            Either way, that is fine, and we accept your decision (as long as your subscribe and keep reading our articles).

            Anyway, let’s get into the specifics, but be warned that these are JUST ideas… there are so many more ways to spice your meats

            (Have a specific meat you want spiced?  Ask us and we might do a whole blog post on spices and seasonings for that one meat… maybe even with recipes).

Seasoning Pork

            Seasoning pork is a matter of taste, and since pork is pretty versatile, it is also a matter of making sure that this matches the flavor profile of whatever else you are serving.

            For example, a sweet and sour pork will not be seasoned the same way as an Easter ham.  That Easter ham also will not be flavored the same as pork medallions that are served over a bed of rice pilaf.

            Some meats do well with similar spices, but pork is not one of them… so make sure you know what you are having and check into what spices your side-dishes use to make sure you are not ruining your flavors by adding in the wrong thing!

            Anyway, pork seasoning can be done in a number of different ways, depending on how you want it to come across:

·       All-spice – this comes back to the idea of a holiday ham that we mentioned; the mix of orange flavor, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other traditionally “winter” flavors goes a long way to ensuring that you get a meat that matches up with other traditional holiday foods

·       Ginger – This idea actually goes back to oriental cooking; while we mentioned sweet and sour pork earlier, the dish in question would have a more complex flavor profile; pork stir-fry has a great “pop” when ginger is added into the mix

·       Mustard – Its not just for your hotdogs… a little bit of mustard that is added onto a pork chop to add an interesting flavor.  A common option with this is to blend whole-grain mustard (or just mustard grains) with honey to make a fantastic glaze that can add a delicious kick to any meal

Fish Flavoring

            Fish includes heavy fish (salmon, swordfish), lighter fish (whitefish, tilapia), and seafood that is not your “traditional” fish dish (think crab, lobster, or clams).

            There are so many different ways to season different types of fish and seafood that we could write an entire book on the subject; each type of fish and seafood deserves its own specific flavoring and spicing profile.

Seasoned shellfish, ready to be eaten!

Seasoned shellfish, ready to be eaten!

            However, just because it is deserved does not mean it is going to be received.  So here, we are just going to touch on a few spices and seasonings that go great with fish:

·       Lemon – Do you think it is coincidental that fresh lemon almost always seems to be served with your fish and seafood?  What will really blow your mind, is not only the lemon served on the side, but many times the lemon juice will be used as a part of a marinade of as a liquid to carry spices through the fish while it is cooking

·       Dill – Most of us have probably had “lemon-dill” fill-in-the-blank fish dishes in the past.  This adds an unmistakable, yet very light, flavor to the fish that you will be eating.  Fresh dill adds a touch of natural freshness that can’t be beat

·       Majoram – Consider majoram the wimpier cousin of oregano, but it does stand on its own when mixed with fish.  Due to its natural locations (Mediterranean climates) the majoram offers a light citrus taste apart from the lemon you are used to, and it also adds a touch of pine flavor

Chicken and Poultry Seasoning

            This is tricky, because the flavors of different poultries can be so different that you might not consider using the same spices on different types.  Turkey and chicken are normally not seasoned the same, just like goose and Cornish hen are not, and duck has its own unique flavor.

            However, while there are differences, there are a few spices that are easily considered overlapping spices when seasoning almost any kind of poultry:

·       Garlic – Garlic should come across as a no-brainer; it is one of those spices that adds an interesting lift to just about any dish.  The spiciness goes well with just about any type of poultry you can imagine, making this a staple as a poultry spice

·       Pepper – Pepper is a pretty universal spice that goes with just about anything.  In the case of poultry, unless you are doing a Cajun or a cayenne-style dish, you might want to say away from those types of peppers.  For any poultry you should consider black or white pepper as an option

·       Tarragon – The flavor of tarragon gets lighter as it heats longer, yet it can be overpowering when used in large amounts.  Use this spice when preparing your poultry in almost any European-style, an make sure to add small amounts near the end of the cooking time.

Lamb and Mutton

            While not the most popular meats in the States, these meats are hugely popular in Europe.  However, if you have ever had unseasoned lamb or mutton you know that it is nothing to write home about.  That being said, you will want to be sure to add a little bit of something extra to it to make it palatable.

            Spices and seasonings we recommend are:

Delicious lamb kebabs with mint garnish.

Delicious lamb kebabs with mint garnish.

·       Mint – If you have ever had lamb chops or a rack of lamb at any restaurant, they will invariably give you mint jelly to go with it.  The reason is because the mint offers a hint of, well, mint flavor that offsets some of the richness and gaminess that is present in this type of meat

·       Cumin – The gaminess of the lamb comes into play yet again, and the earthy tones that exist in cumin help to offset this.  Again, much like many other spices and seasonings you can add to lamb and mutton, this spice offsets some of the sharper tastes that might exist in mutton and lamb

·       Rosemary – The light, floral, and fruity flavor of the rosemary is an offset to the very strong and rich flavors of your lamb.  That being the case, this particular spice has the potential to REALLY round out your eating experience and offer you a delicious meal

And that is that!

            Yeah, we went a little long tonight, but we had to cover a lot of information!

            Hopefully, this gives you an inkling into the world of spicing meat – it is a process that can change your meal to a fabulous dish that is talked about for ages to come (maybe not, but it could happen in theory).

            Join us this coming Friday for our fun and exciting Friday post, and join us next week so we can finally finish talking about pasture-raised meat!