Friday, February 20, 2009

Fajita Feast

INGREDIENTS:

(for the sides)

We served the fajitas with hot fresh flour tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo, refried black beans, lime slices, fresh cilantro, crumbled white Mexican queso, and jicama salad, as well as the recipes that follow. Any combination of favorite sides will do, however, including radishes, chives, avocado, sour cream, etc.--the sky's the limit. You will certainly want to heat the tortillas, either in the microwave (we don't have a microwave) or over a very low gas burner, and wrap them in a clean towel to keep them warm. I can't recommend Rick Bayless's Arroz Verde recipe enough, and my own recipe for the purple cabbage slaw turned out way beyond my best-laid plans, but apart from those enthusiastically lauded sides, do as you will.

(for the beer)

22 oz. Troegenator Double Bock
22. oz Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale

(for the Sweet Corn and Cabbage Slaw)

1/2 a head of red cabbage, finely sliced
3 ears of sweet corn, kernels sliced off the cob
5 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
2 shallots, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 heaping tsp. paprika
2-6 shakes (depending on spice preference) of Chipotle Tabasco sauce (not the regular kind--if all you have is the regular kind, substitute smoked paprika)
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. agave nectar or white sugar
Salt and fresh black pepper

1) Heat the oil in a saute pan and add the shallot and garlic; sweat for 1 minute.
2) Add the sweet corn kernels and saute for 4-5 minutes, until corn is tender but still crisp. Set aside in a mixing bowl.
3) Add the red cabbage to the bowl, followed by the remaining ingredients. Toss thoroughly and check seasoning to balance salt, sweet, and spice flavors.

(for the Arroz Verde, slightly altered from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen)

1 cup of white rice
2 poblano chile peppers, diced
12 springs of fresh cilantro, stems included, washed thoroughly
1 2/3 cups good quality salted chicken stock
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1) Heat the seasoned chicken stock in a pot until boiling and add diced poblano; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
2) Put the chicken stock with the diced poblano and fresh cilantro sprigs in a food processor and pulse until very smooth. Set puree aside, wipe out the pot and return it to the burner.
3) Heat oil; saute the onion 2-3 minutes until sweated. Add the garlic and cook until toasted and fragrant, 1 minute more.
4) Add the rice and saute until the grains are opaque.
5) Pour the chicken stock and chile puree into the rice and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes; fluff the rice with a fork to stir in any chile solids that might have accumulated on top, and serve.

(for the Fajitas)

3 breasts of chicken, pounded thin and sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
2 large yellow onions, sliced thin
3 tbsp. tequila

(all the spices below should be mixed, and then divided evenly between the chicken and the vegetables in separate bowls)
2 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ancho chili powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. cumin
Salt and black pepper

1) Keeping the raw chicken separate from the vegetables, toss both with the spice mixture and plenty of salt and pepper in two large bowls.
2) In two large (heavy-bottomed or cast-iron works great) skillets, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the vegetables and the chicken to their respective pans.
3) Saute the vegetables over high heat until the peppers are sweated and the onions have lost their bite, about 5 minutes. Set aside on a serving platter.
4) Brown the chicken on all sides and cook until just tender, 5-7 minutes depending on thickness of the chicken. When the meat is nearly cooked, pour the tequila over it and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Saute 1 minute more and then plate.

THE BEER:
Beer is de rigeur with Mexican food (comment dit-on "de rigeur" en Espagnol?), but--notwithstanding the existence of some stellar Hispanic brews like Dos Equis, for example--we didn't happen to have any south-of-the-border beer on hand. That was fine, because these two styles were great with fajitas and could stand up to the vibrant flavors. The Red Rocket is a killer high-hopped ale from California, with a mouthfeel on the lighter side, hints of lemongrass, sweet citrus, and bitter pine resin. It's from the geniuses at Bear Republic who brought us the Hop Rod Rye. Next on the list is a slightly richer, sweeter bottle, the Pennsylvania-brewed Troegenator Double Bock: you still get a good hop background to balance out the molasses-tinged malts, and this quaff goes down very smooth, leaving hints of chocolate and toast on the palate.

THE FEAST:
We've begun having dinner parties with Messrs. Brady Cooper and Mark Vincent Barlow--the last occasion was the Three Vegetarian Pizzas we posted. They arrive, we commence drinking, then chopping, then dicing, and finally eating--at around ten at night, as is natural and proper for supper in NYC. Fajita Feast was deemed a success, I think, since a poll taken of its participants over what we ought to cook next revealed an inclination simply to make more fajitas. By the way, Brady and Gabriel are serious guacamole contenders when apart, but combined, they're unstoppable. Recipe for aforemention guac deferred because they were both hovering over it, tasting it, and adding all manner of alchemical shit to it for half an hour, so no one has the slightest notion what it actually contained, other than magic.

4 comments:

saffron77 said...

Dear L & G,
Fajitas night looked yummy, the sides so colorful, the guests so jovial, the chicken platter so juicy and voluptuous. I noticed one large pink rose peeking out from the plate as if to say, "who needs a pinata-I approve!" I'm making this one. Does it pair well with Apricot Ale?
V.F.
Longview, Wa.

Kevin said...

That looks like a great fajita night!

Anonymous said...

Mark Vincent Barlow This is Russo. Mirko and I are looking for you all over the place. So good to see you doing good.
Look for us on facebook and drop us a line peace roman

Anonymous said...

Honestly Mark go to Facebook an give us some proof of life peace