Blue Apron is an intriguing service, my opinion is mixed. On the one hand it is really neat, like Christmas for hungry people. It’s fun to open the package and explore the ingredients, and the recipes (blueapron.com/cookbook) are clear, quick and easy to execute. On the other hand, it’s pretty pricey for the quantity of food they give you, there is a lot of packaging waste, and the recipes are perhaps too simple. Their focus on clarity, simplicity and calorie count means they skip some steps and ingredients… but I am not a slave to any recipe, so I just doctored them to suit myself. Final analysis: if $10 per serving doesn’t sound too expensive for food you prepare yourself, it’s a lot of fun and certainly worth a try.
My first selection from this week’s delivery was kung pao chicken tacos. The first thing I did was set aside the corn tortillas included in the box, in favor of Guerrero taco sized flour tortillas that I had on hand. I like corn tortillas for Mexican style tacos, but whenever I make Asian style wraps I prefer flour tortillas for the texture and flavor. The second modification I made was to add a jalapeno pepper, as the 1 tbs of sambal oelek they included didn’t provide the heat I wanted. Authentic kung pao chicken is a lot spicier than the version I made, so put in as much heat as you like. Lastly, I added my own raw peanuts to the small package they sent, and roasted them in the oven instead of in a pan. I also included them in the kung pao chicken filling instead of using them as a topping. Lastly, I warmed the tortillas wrapped in foil in the oven instead of on the stove top. I’m sure it would have been delicious if I had gone by the book too, my changes were inconsequential.
Kung Pao Chicken Tacos
10oz ground chicken
4 cloves of thinly sliced garlic
3 tbs raw peanuts
2 tbs cilantro leaves
1/2 diced red bell pepper
2 diced scallions, green tops set aside for garnish
1 rib of celery
1 tbs sambal oelek
1 diced jalapeno pepper
2 tbs soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock (or water)
1 tbs honey
2 tbs cornstarch
1 tbs hoisin sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
2 tsp rice vinegar
8 flour tortillas
Dice the celery, bell pepper, green onion, and jalapeno. In another bowl combine the soy sauce, honey, vinegar, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, sambal oelek, chicken stock and cornstarch. Remove the leaves from the cilantro and set aside with the diced green tops of the scallions. Season the ground chicken with a little salt and pepper and sautee with 2 tbs vegetable oil.
Chop the whole raw peanuts, not too fine. I used pulses of a food processor. Spread them on a foil lined pan and roast at 350F for 10-15 minutes.
Add the vegetables to the cooked chicken and sautee 3-5 minutes, then add the sauce and some roasted peanuts and simmer until thickened, another 3-5 minutes.
Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm in the oven for 10 minutes while the filling is cooking. Add some filling to a tortilla and top with cilantro and scallion tops and serve.
Fresh, spicy and delicious.
Next up, Blue Apron blackened drum fish with cheese grits and herb salad. (spoiler alert, it was yummy!)