Today’s secret ingredient is… BEER.
People love holiday cooking. We like to make sure the drinking holidays get their fair share of food recognition.
I generally make it a point not to talk about douchebaggy terms like flavor profiles, but these tacos have a really damn good one, mostly because you marinate the hell out of it in beer - dark, swarthy Mexican beer - before you cook it.
John finally learned how to sort of light a charcoal grill. Work in progress.
Beer-Marinated Chicken Tacos (adapted from James Purviance)
1 cup dark Mexican beer (aka, Negra Modelo)
2 tbsp dark toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken pieces (thighs and breast for me the white-meat eater, but the thighs are probably better)
Asadero/Chihuahua cheese (or 4-cheese mexican blend, because that’s how they do it at Surf Taco in Jersey, hollaaaa)
Small corn tortillas
Limes limes limes
Mix your marinade ingredients (beer, sesame, garlic, oregano, salt/pepper/cayenne) in a bowl and put your chicken bits in a plastic bag. Pour the marinade into the bag and squish it around. Refrigerate 4-24 hours. The longer you go, the beerier it will be, and beer is good.
Do you know how to light a grill? Yeah, we sort of don’t either. Make a noble attempt at lighting a chimney full of charcoal, until it ashes over fully. Make sure the grill grate is fully heated, and grill the chicken (to 170°ish internal temp). Slice the chicken into thin strips or cubes or whatever your preferred chicken shape is, make a few long avocado slices, and heat up corn tortillas in a frying pan. Add cheese and top with a festive lime wedge. Then drink the other 5 beers you didn’t use.
Hi kids, John this time. Time for some free-form improvisational Mexican cooking. Jewel, where we go when we are out of money, was having a sale on telera rolls aka the bread you make Mexican tortas out of. Having been inspired by the food of this guy at fine locations like Old Orchard and O’Hare airport, I decided to give them a shot at home.
Carne Asada Tortas (like I said, improvised. Our measurements are rarely reliable anyway, you shouldn’t be trusting them)
1 Mexican telera roll
1/2 lb thin sliced steak (mine was bottom round)
1/2 of an avocado, sliced
1 red radish, julienne (cut into thin strips for all you rubes out there)
Mexican cheese blend
For the marinade:
1 T olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 T red vinegar
2 T World Market fajita seasoning blend
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 T Mexican chili powder
1 Serrano pepper, halved and de-seeded
Combine the marinade ingredients and the steak in a plastic bag and marinade overnight or as long as possible.
Keeping the meat in the bag (derp, why would you not do this), pound it thin with a frying pan/brick/truckosaurus hands/heavy object. After you have beaten your meat, heat a skillet over high heat and sear the meat until cooked through, about 1 minute a side. Pile the meat in the center of the pan, cover with cheese and then the top of the telera roll. While the cheese is melting, spread sour cream on the bottom half of the roll, then transfer steaming meat/cheese/bread pile onto it. Garnish with avocado slices and radish and consume while watching the same re-run of Bizarre Foods you’ve watched 86 times this week.