Many thanks to Cara, for hosting the second Platinum Chef Challenge! Round 2’s ingredients are corn, blueberries, hot peppers (jalapeno, chipotle, etc.), citrus and cheese.
This time, I was bound and determined to use all the ingredients in one dish. I can often be finicky about fruit in my food, so this could have been tricky. But, I decided blueberries in some sort of balsamic or barbecue sauce would be a nice, sweet variation. So, I took that idea and ran with it. The remaining ingredients seemed to go together fairly naturally for me.
I decided to model my dish after something I have eaten at Coobah, a local Cuban restaurant. I modified it to fit the challenge and my budget :) I love manchengo but at 10 bucks for 6 oz, I couldn’t justify it.
Here is the description of the Coobah entree:
Chicken Negra Modelo–tortilla, smoked tomato, spinach and cheese ìƒ¨ilaquilesî topped with a dark beer-sweet mustard glazed roasted chicken breast
Good, right? Mmm.
My version (please feel free to name it, as I have no ideas for names :) was a cumin-orange marinated chicken breast atop some broiled tomatoes, spinach, queso fresco and a tortilla. I basted the chicken and topped the dish with a blueberry-chipotle sauce. It was seriously SO delicious.
Corn Tortillas (makes 2 slightly larger/thicker than normal tortillas)
I made homemade corn tortillas for the first time tonight and they turned out great. I have to say, tortillas are the kinds of things I never even *think* about making, because they are so easy (and cheap) to buy, but I decided to give it a whirl to get a more authentic, puffy tortilla instead of the paper-thin ones at the grocery store. They turned out great and were much easier than I would have imagined. Puffed, fluffy goodness.
1/2 cup masa harina (corn flour)
1/3 cup hot water
pinch of salt
Mix masa, salt and water until a soft dough forms. Put in a bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let stand as you are making the rest of the meal (or about 15-30 minutes)
Heat a cast iron skillet over hot heat.
If you have a tortilla press, go ahead and use that. I sure don’t. What I did was divide the dough into two balls. I put a ball at a time in a freezer bag and rolled with a rolling pin. It was not a perfect circle (though you could use a bowl or mold, I’m sure, to get it that way) but it was a snap to do.
Cook tortilla for about a minute per side in very hot cast iron skillet (you don’t need any oil).
2 boneless/skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp fresh orange (or any other citrus) juice
2 cloves garlic, smashed
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
Mix together orange juice, cumin, garlic, salt, pepper, and oil. Add chicken and marinate (don’t marinate *too* long as the acid in the citrus could begin to cook the chicken).
Grill chicken, brushing with blueberry-chipotle sauce.
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic
1 chipotle in adobo, diced
1/4 cup fresh blueberries (I gave them a rough chop)
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup beer
Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent.
Add the garlic and the chipotle pepper, cooking an additional minute. Add berries.
Stir in beer and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer to thicken and combine the flavors.
Depending on the texture you want, you can run the mixture through a sieve or use a food processor. I pulse processed so it still had a little texture but not big chunks of blueberry or chipotle.
And the rest…
Seed and chop tomatoes. Toss with a little oil and salt and pepper and broil about 4 or 5 minutes.
Stir in spinach and set aside to cool (the heat from the tomatoes will begin with wilt the spinach)
Before spooning over tortillas, crumble in 1 or 2 oz of queso fresco.