I love taking a basic recipe and being able to offer variations to that recipe which allows the cook to customize for those being served. That’s why I refer to this recipe as the Versatile Smoked Avocado Loaf since you will have options in the ground meat or poultry used to surround the cheese filled avocado as well as the cheese and outer covering to the loaf. This is referred to as a meat wrapped, stuffed avocado recipe.
I’ll walk you through my version which uses Jalapeno cheese, ground turkey, and zucchini ribbons all with whole avocado. We’ll be smoking these mini loaves of goodness on the charcoal grill using a two-zone cooking set up. Use my ingredients or customize for your own taste. Either way – let’s get started.
Avocado & Meat Prep
The ingredients I’m using today include 2 lbs. of ground turkey, 4 whole avocado, 1 medium zucchini, and 4 ounces of Jalapeno cheese. To start, I make zucchini ribbons using a vegetable peeler on the length of the zucchini. I wrap the zucchini ribbons in a paper towel as zucchini is loaded with water requiring this to dry out a bit before wrapping around our finished loaves. Time to prep the avocados.
Start by cutting around the circumference of the avocado from stem top to bottom using a sharp paring knife. Don’t cut into the avocado meat just into the hard, green skin. Then twist the halves in opposite directions to separate the two halves. One half will hold the pit of the avocado. You can easily remove that by hitting the pit with the blade of a sharp knife then pull up which will remove the whole pit in one swipe. Remove the skin on both halves of the avocado, leaving the avocado meat intact.
Avocado recipe Tasting Notes: Other options for wrapping the loaves include ribbons made of beets, carrot, leek, or eggplant. You can also wrap these in bacon strips if you don’t mind additional fat and sodium levels.
Assembling the Loaves
With the avocados pitted and skinned, it’s time to stuff them with our jalapeno cheese. Cut a cube of cheese that will fit perfectly into the pit hole of one half of the avocado. Place the matching half of the avocado on top to make the avocado whole again. Now it’s time to season the ground turkey. Taking about 2 lbs. of ground turkey I add 2 tablespoons of Chinese Five Spice which is a premixed combination of anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and ginger. I also add 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon chopped mint, and fresh ground pepper. Mix together well as this seasoned meat will become the wrapping around the avocados.
With the avocados filled with cheese and the ground meat seasoned, it’s now time to wrap the avocado in the meat. I’ll be making four avocado loaves so I divide the meat into four parts. Flattening the meat into pancake size, I place one filled avocado in the center of the meat and begin to wrap the meat around the avocado, pressing to fill any holes. You want the meat to cover the entire avocado in an equal thickness. Once wrapped, it’s time to apply the zucchini ribbons around the meat. I’m using zucchini as it has a high water content which will result in extra attraction of the smoke vapor to the finished loaf. smoke vapor seeks out moisture! Click To Tweet Simply lay the zucchini ribbons one at a time around the meat loaf, overlapping as you go.
Avocado recipe-Tasting Notes:
Avocado and cheese go together so well which gives you so many options for the cheese filling. There is no limit to the type of cheese you can use just know block cheese rather than shredded or a spread is best. When it comes to the ground meat, feel free to use any type you prefer: beef, pork, turkey, chicken, lamb, veal. You can also use a ground fish but may find you need to add a binder like panko bread crumbs to keep it from falling off the avocado.
Two-Zone Charcoal Smoking
While I’ve been preparing the meat wrapped stuffed avocados, I’ve had my charcoal grill lit using a two-zone cooking method. Since there isn’t a lot of meat on each of these loaves, I don’t need direct heat to cook. I’ve placed my hot coals on one side of the grill and added about four SmokinLicious® double filet wood chunks. On the unlit side of the grill, I’ve placed a disposable pan to act as a drip pan under the grill grate. I place my four turkey avocado loaves on the unlit side of the grill grate and allow them to cook for about 45 minutes. At that time marker, I brush the loaves with a sweet chili sauce and allow to cook for about 15 additional minutes.
Any equipment can be used for this recipe to add the smoke flavoring. Just know, you need to use a two-zone cooking method for charcoal grilling, gas grill cooking with wood, or electric smoking. If using a portable grill, try to grill over hot coals over rather than direct flame. If using a stove top smoker or plancha, you’ll obviously cook direct method. And of course, you can always make this recipe without the added flavor of smoke in the traditional oven.
What’s your favorite ingredients for this meat wrapped, stuffed avocado? Leave us a comment and subscribe for more great recipes, techniques, tips, and the science behind the flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.
Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to check out my smoked okra technique so you’ll be ready to take on this recipe for Wood Fired Okra Soup. This is incredibly easy to prepare soup recipe that has a total of 12 common ingredients which includes our super smoked fresh okra.
For those who may never have eaten okra, this is a great first recipe to give it a try. Okra is considered a warm-season vegetable but you can find imported varieties available so you can enjoy during colder months as well. Okra is rich is fiber, Vitamin K and folate, as well as being considered an anti-cancer fighting food.
Get to the store and purchase a pound or two of vibrant green, firm okra, follow our directive on smoking it, then meet us in the kitchen for a great pot of soup.
Aromatics to Start
After you’ve smoked the okra using a stove top smoker, charcoal or gas grill, traditional charcoal or electric smoker, or even a handheld food smoker, you begin the soup by first thinly slicing the smoked okra pods. Don’t worry if the seeds pop loose as they are 100% edible.
Next place 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 4 tablespoons of butter in a Dutch oven. Once melted, add one small, diced onion to the pot. Cook the onion until translucent then add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley. Allow that to cook for just a minute then add one clove of minced garlic. Let the aromatics marry for a few minutes, then we’ll be ready to add the liquids.
Making of a Soup
Once the aromatics have married, time to add some spice to this soup. First, add 1-1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, and 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. If you like a very spicy soup, feel free to adjust the red pepper flake amount. Allow these ingredients to cook for about 3 minutes. Time to add 4 cups of bone broth or vegetable broth, 3 cups of water, and a 28 ounce can of diced tomato with juice. Stir well and allow this to cook for 30 minutes over medium heat. Reduce the temperature to low and add the smoked sliced okra, stirring well. This should cook for at least 30 minutes though I prefer a longer cook time.
I like my soups cooked on one day, refrigerated and then cooked again on a second day. I think this helps to add depth of flavor. However, note that you can serve this soup after just one hour of cooking time.
Before serving the soup, make 2 cups of rice – I prefer brown rice. When ready to serve, place a hearty serving spoonful of rice in a bowl and ladle on the hot soup. Mix together and enjoy!
I honestly love this soup served hot in the colder months and cooled in the hot months. Certainly, in season tomatoes make this even better and for those who really like a hearty smoked soup, check out our tips for smoking tomatoes and add that to the mix. Wood Fired Okra Soup is sure to make it to your top choices for a go to soup!
What’s your favorite okra recipe? Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes. Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.
Sometimes you need a special dessert or treat for that occasion that you want to express your love or appreciation. An anniversary, Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day, or even as a thank you gesture. I have the perfect treat that is simple to make and allows you to customize the ingredients to fit the preferences of the recipient. I’ll give you my version of the Heart Puffs of Pleasure but know too, you can change the shape of this treat to any cookie cutter shape you find adorable to use. It all starts with adding a bit of smoky flavor to some of the filling ingredients so let’s start there.
I placed Sugar Maple Minuto® Wood Chips in the base and will smoke 2 of my filling ingredients: milk and dark chocolate and peanut and cashew pieces. I’m also including shredded coconut in my filling but I’ll just do a light toasting of this in the oven.
Before smoking, I break up the large chocolate bars to allow for easier smoke infusion and place in heat tolerant containers. The nuts will be smoked first since I’m using a hot smoking technique for them, then I’ll remove the pot from the heat and put the chocolate pieces in to infuse with the remaining smoke vapor. It’s important that you quickly remove the nut container and reseal the pot in order to keep the smoke vapor generating. If needed, keep the pot on the burner for a few minutes after the nuts have been removed. Then take off the heat, allow the pot to cool slightly, then add the chocolate pieces container.
Tasting Notes: Although you can select any ingredients you want for your stuffed puff pastry design, be sure you understand which ingredients are appropriate for hot smoking and which would require cold smoke application. Remember, items that traditionally melt with heat will melt from any temperature above 80°F.
Cookie Cutter for Easy Design
Here’s the fun part of this treat! Selecting the design shapes you want to encase your great fillings in. I’ve decided to do heart shapes in two sizes: a 4-inch and 3-inch heart using cookie cutters.
Using store bought puff pastry sheets, I thaw according to the package directions and then lay one sheet out on a board. I place my cookie cutters on the pastry sheet spacing accordingly so I end up with four hearts per sheet. Remember, you will need a top and bottom pastry heart for each treat. I’m using a total of four pastry sheets which will provide me with three large finished hearts and six smaller. Simply cutout the heart shapes and place on a parchment lined sheet pan. Keep the pastry cold until you are ready to fill them, with a damp cloth placed over the hearts to keep the pastry from drying out.
#smokedchocolate #smokednuts #stuffedpuffpastry
Ready to Fill!
With our filling choices smoked, it’s time to start assembling the pastry hearts. Start by placing three pieces of smoked chocolate on a pastry heart followed by the other fillings. In my case, that’s a spoonful of smoked nut pieces and toasted coconut. Place a second pastry heart over the first and pinch the edges together. I secure the edges in place by using the tines of a small fork which also adds a decorative edge. Then egg wash your finished pastry heart. Continue with the other pastry cutouts until complete, noting that the smaller hearts will take just two pieces of smoked chocolate. Do not allow the fillings to go to the pastry edges.
Once all the puff pastry hearts as filled, sealed, and egg washed, it’s time to place the prepared sheet pans into a 375°F oven. These will take between 15-18 minutes to become golden brown and “puffed”. It’s important that you check the bottom of the pastry hearts to ensure they are golden as well so there are no raw dough segments. Once baked, remove from the oven and place on cooling racks. These must be cooled completely through before attempting to ice.
Dessert Means Icing
While the pastry hearts are baking, you can make icing to drizzle over the tops. Be sure you cool the hearts completely before icing otherwise you’ll end up with a thin, melted icing.
To make the icing, combine powdered sugar with milk or cream. I take about 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar to 1 tablespoon of milk or cream and mix well. I like a consistency that is the thickness of gravy so I can control the drizzle on my finished pastry.
For coloring, I like to use gel food colorings which require much less coloring and have a greater variety of colors available. I decided to use violet, pink, and red though my red was more of a deep pink as I used such a small amount. When the pastry is completely cool, I use a spoon to drizzle the colored icing over the top of each heart. Allow to dry for about 10 minutes and you’re ready to serve.
#puffpastry #mothersday #Valentines_day
Here’s the best part about our puff pastry hearts. They can hold any fillings you can think of. Whether sweet, savory, spicy or other, you can make these with all types of ingredients. And the pastry can be cut into any shape and size. Consider the person you’re making them for, the special event or occasion, and then have fun customizing them. Even with the stove top smoking components, these can easily be made in under two hours. Try our technique and create a truly unique and flavorful result that will be appreciated by the recipient!
What’s your favorite filling to use in a stuffed puff pastry? Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes. Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.
Have I got a great treat for you! Featuring smoked ricotta, I’m making a pastry horn filled with the sweetness of cinnamon infused smoked ricotta with a touch of crushed almond and shredded coconut. I have an easy method of making the puff pastry horns that don’t require purchased molds and helpful hints on filling these light, golden horns of goodness.
Be sure to follow our previous tips posting on how to smoke ricotta using a DIY stove top smoker technique, and you’ll be ready for our smoked horns of ricotta goodness!
No Purchase Necessary
There’s no need to purchase horn molds as I have a very inexpensive way to make the perfect sized horns for filling. Start by purchasing a box of sugar cones and aluminum foil sheets that are precut. For each sheet of foil, cut in half. Place one cone on the ½ sheet of foil and start to roll the foil around the cone until the final edge meets the cone. Take the excess foil and push it into the top of the cone. Continue covering all the cones – most cartons will have 12 cones total.
Tasting Notes: These foil-wrapped cones can be used again and again, as long as you keep them preserved. To do that, keep the foil on the cones and place in a storage bag, with all the excess air removed from the bag. I use my cones until they either become too soft or break apart.
Wrapping the Molds
This recipe is easier when you use ready to use puff pastry sheets that are readily available in most freezer sections of the grocery store.
Start by following the thaw directions for the pastry. Using a pizza cutter, I make roughly 3/8-inch strips of pastry. Taking a foil wrapped cone, I start about ¾-inch from the pointed end and begin wrapping the mold with the pastry strip, overlapping each edge as I progress. Add a 2nd strip, overlapping the end of the first until completely covered. You do not have to cover the entire cone. Set on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and finish covering the rest of the cones.
With all the horn molds wrapped with puff pastry strips, it’s time to ensure they get golden brown when baking. That means they need an egg wash. Taking one slightly beaten egg, brush each horn with the egg. Use the egg wash to secure any loose ends as well. Then bake according to package directions which usually is at 400° F for 12-15 minutes. I usually rotate the sheet pan half way through the baking time to ensure even color. Remove from the oven when golden brown and gently remove the foil cone from each horn. Allow to cool prior to filling.
Ready to Fill!
With the pastry horns baked and cooling, it’s time to make the filling for the horns. Start by adding powdered sugar, cream, cinnamon and cinnamon chips to the smoked ricotta. Mix well and then place the filling in a pastry bag. I prefer the disposable kind to allow for easy clean up. For the 3 pounds of ricotta I’ve smoked, I’ll need about four pastry bags of ricotta mixture. In addition, I’m going to have two options for the ends of my horns – shredded coconut and chopped almond. Be sure you refrigerate the ricotta mixture for at least 30 minutes prior to piping into the horn shells.
Tasting Notes: For the 3 pounds of smoked ricotta I used, I included ¼ cup cream, 3-1/2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, and 1/3 cup of cinnamon chips. You can use these measurements as a guide if you elect to decrease the amount of ricotta used.
Horn of Flavorful Plenty
Now comes the fun part. Assembling the pastry horns. Starting with the large opening on the horn, begin piping the ricotta mixture into the horn in a circular fashion. Allow the mixture to go just past the end of the horn. Then pipe additional ricotta into the smaller end opening. Next, dip the ends or sprinkle using a spoon with the shredded coconut or chopped almond, or both – one on each end. Then place the finished horn on a serving tray. Repeat with the other horns until all are filled. Remember, work with only one bag of the ricotta mixture at a time keeping the others refrigerated until needed. Use your imagination and think of other great ingredients to use with the smoked ricotta like peppermint extract and chocolate mint chips. This is a recipe that is highly adaptable and don’t forget, food coloring small batches of the ricotta mixture will give you a colorful serving platter of delight.
What’s your favorite filling to go with smoked ricotta? Leave us a comment to opine and subscribe to get all our postings on tips, techniques and recipes. Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.