Friday, July 2, 2010

Meal Fiesta Caliente!

Recipes below: Fiesta Black Beans, Chipotle Lime Pulled Chicken, Caliente Yogurt Sauce, and Watermelon Lime Margaritas

Let me just start this post off by saying that not only do you get recipes for a whole flipping meal in this post, you get a drink too!  Take that Guy Fieri and Guy's Big Bite!  So it may be a doozy of a post, but this is like 4 posts in one.  You're welcome!

Beans get a bum rap. They’re always an afterthought, an easy side. They’re baked with a pound of sugar, or fried with a pound of lard. They rarely have any real flavor imparted. Fat and sugar are not flavors. They are nutrients that Mitochondrial Eve and Lucy evolved to salivate over because it meant the food they were eating was a good source of calories. Not so much a problem for homo-folk nowadays. But real flavors are just as easy, and way more delicious! And it’s really too bad because beans are so versatile and healthy! They are full of fiber and protein, which fills your tummy up, and they take on all kinds of seasonings in all kinds of dishes. Really, what’s not to like?  

Oh right...they are the magical fruit.  Eh, get over it.  Take some Beano if you're worried.

I’m curious how other people build their meals. Me? It usually starts with one ingredient I feel like eating. In this case, I was craving black beans. Then I thought I wanted to do a play on refried beans because I wanted a creamier consistency. That got me thinking about Mexican flavors, and the meal just took form from there! I ended up with black beans, slow-cooked pulled chicken, and steamed broccoli, all flavored with chipotle chiles, lime, and tequila. Yum!

Limes are a fantastic way to bring Mexican-flavored food to life. They’re bright and acidic and a beautiful compliment to chiles. Chipotles in adobo sauce are deep and smokey, which I absolutely love, but regular jalapenos would have been good too. And of course, being me, I threw in some tequila because it’s an obvious pairing and delicious!

I steamed the broccoli, which I tossed with the caliente yogurt sauce, because I was just in the mood, but in hindsight, I think roasting the broccoli would have been even more delicious, and taken the sauce a little better. Also, even better would be just a simple slaw with cabbage and carrot. But really, anything that tickles your fancy would work. Also, a great vegetarian option would be to nix the chicken (duh) and toss some cooked brown rice in with the beans.  Oh, that sounds good! I'll be trying that next time!  You do know that rice and beans make a complete protein, thus serving as a suitable replacement for meat, right?  I'm sure all the vegetarians out there do, but all you looking to jump on the meat-light bandwagon (good for you!), take note.

With the 4th of July coming up this weekend, any of these dishes could be a great addition to your celebratory fare! I’m super excited to be hosting a barbecue with just a few friends, mostly neighbors, and their pups! I have to admit, I have kind of a problem when it comes to hosting. Besides my neurotic anxieties, I mean. I always make too much food! I just want to feed people all sorts of delicious foods, and it of course ends up being way more than anyone can possibly eat. But that’s ok. I figure Husband and I just won’t have to worry about meals for the next decade or so. Or Theo and his friends would be more than willing to help us out, I'm sure.

I’ll be serving some roasted red pepper and garlic hummus, and some spinach artichoke dip to start. Then, since we couldn’t decide between proteins, we’ll have hot dogs, hamburgers, and BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches (we are insane, I am fully aware). Yum! On the side, simple grilled veggies, a mango, corn, and jicama salad, and a curry coleslaw. And my grilled mashed potatoes are going to make a second appearance! This time I’m making a sauce with this blue and jack cheese blend they sell at Sprouts. It’s milder than blue cheese by itself, and I think will be delicious with the potatoes! And for dessert I’m trying out Alton Brown’s apple pie featuring apple brandy! I’ve been waiting to try this recipe for months!

What are you doing to celebrate the second runner up for biggest grilling holiday our Independence Day?  What's for dinner?

Fiesta Black Beans

makes about 8 servings for a side or 6 servings for a main

2 TB butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chile powder* (ancho or chipotle)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cans black beans (I’m approximating because I used dried beans, it may have been a little more)
1 7oz can diced green chiles
3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, deseeded and minced
1 TB adobo sauce
1/4 cup tequila
2 limes, juiced
8oz frozen corn, thawed
3-4 stalks green onion, sliced

*I highly recommend against buying just generic chili powder. First off, it’s awful, and second, you’re not looking to make the dish taste like chili, but chile. Most stores sell ancho or chipotle versions that are pretty good. I made my own!
  1. In a pot over medium heat, melt the butter, and sweat the onions and garlic until soft.
  2. Add the salt, coriander, paprika, cumin, chile powder, and cayenne pepper, and cook for a minute, until your kitchen starts to smell amazing (i.e. the spices release their oils).
  3. Add the black beans, green chiles, chipotle chiles, adobo sauce, and tequila, and cook until soft and incorporated, about 5 minutes. At this point I took out a potato masher and loosely mashed the mixture, but that’s optional.
  4. Add the lime juice, corn, and green onions, and stir to combine. Remove the mixture from the heat and serve.

Chipotle Lime Pulled Chicken

1 whole boiler chicken
1 jar of your favorite chipotle salsa (I'm partial to Trader Joe's)
6 cloves garlic, whole
1 lime, juiced
1/3 cup tequila
8 oz frozen corn, thawed
  1. In a slow cooker, place the chicken in the bottom of the pot. Pour half the jar of salsa over the chicken, then sprinkle in the garlic cloves. Cook on high for 6-7 hours, until it is falling apart and delicious.
  2. About 3 hours into the cook time, flip the chicken over for even cooking, and add the rest of the salsa, tequila, and lime juice.
  3. When the chicken is done, fish out the carcass and bones, shred it up, and stir in the corn. Make sure you get all the bones! Some are very small and easily detach from the carcass, and these can be a big time chocking hazard!

Caliente Yogurt Sauce

Makes a little over 1/2 cup

1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt (I used 2%, but any will do)
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, deseeded and minced (2 was pretty darn spicy, so start with 1 if you're scared)
1 TB adobo sauce
2 cloves garlic
3 stalks green onion, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp chile powder
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and mix until incorporated. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Serving suggestion: Toss with roasted broccoli or shredded cabbage.

Did I mention I chased this delicious meal with a cocktail? Indeed I did! A watermelon and lime margarita, to be exact. Just pretend that picture below is in a margarita glass rimmed with salt, m-kay? Went perfectly with my Mexican fare! Just the limeade would be a refreshing treat anyone could enjoy on a hot Summer day.

Watermelon Limeade

5lb watermelon, chopped into chunks
3-4 limes, juiced
1/4 cup agave nectar or simple syrup, or more to taste
pinch of salt
  1. In a food processor (or blender if you have a descent one), mix watermelon until it’s a liquid. You’ll probably have to do it in batches to avoid the juices spilling out. Pour it through a mesh strainer to remove any pulp. 
  2. Add the lime juice, agave or syrup, and salt, and stir to combine.  Add more sweetener as needed, it'll depend on how sweet your watermelon is.  
To make this an adult beverage, blend with ice and tequila and serve in a margarita glass, or for a margarita on the rocks, pour a shot of tequila and the limeade over ice cubes.

1 comment:

  1. jr16paws@msn.comJuly 4, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    Having been one of the lucky recipients of Julie's 4th of July feast, I can fully attest to the fact that her food is indeed delish....and there was a lot of it!! The apple pie was really good - nice crisp apples, not overbaked and soggy. I may now be a convert to apple brandy! So once again, thanks to you, Chris and Theo for sharing his house with the beagle! (Who is quite worn out :-) )