Sunday we host the LA Galaxy, and that means another themed tailgate for the Lion's Teeth Blog tailgate group. This week we're going to honor the "South of the Border" influence on Angelino cuisine and we are preparing chicken fajitas.
Our dish starts with the main protein, boneless skinless chicken breast, fresh from Orlando City official sponsor Publix Supermarkets, of course. On Saturday we'll be putting the chicken into a marinade that's made with a base of olive oil and fajita spices, but then has some additional dry spices added to it to give it a little bit of a Lion's Teeth kick!
Added to the chicken we'll have traditional fajita veggies of peppers and onions, dusted with just a dash of spices as well. And now because we like to have a balanced meal, we're also going to be adding some Mexican Rice and Pinto beans.
To complete our fajitas we will have wrappers and toppings. Wraps will be soft flour tortillas, while toppings will consist of sour cream, guacamole, red sauce, queso, and shredded cheese. Finally, for dessert we'll have churros.
Now if you want to do your own "grill the competition" tailgate, here's a sneak peak of our preparation. Take a large container and add the olive oil that forms the base of the marinade. Then wash and pat dry the boneless chicken breasts and lay them out whole in the container, drizzling a little more olive oil over the top. Then take your fajita seasoning and put it into the container. I'm not going to tell you how much because it's your taste buds you have to consider, not ours. Just add more if you want a heartier and spicier flavor or less if you want something milder. Then to this we add our own additional spices: black pepper, cayenne pepper, and minced garlic. Again, add more of these if you like a lot of kick or less if you like a bit milder flavor. Then put a lid on the container and take the advice of The Cars to "Shake it Up." Then put this in the fridge and let it start marinating. You'll "Shake it Up" again a few more times before you get ready to grill it tomorrow.
As far as your fajita veggies, you can do as much or as little work as you want. In your supermarket you can buy packages of pre-cut fajita veggies or you can plan months ahead and grow your own onions and peppers in your garden. You can put these in another container for now along with a tiny bit of oil, garlic, and dry spices. This is only a holding stage, so you'll finish up with this preparation in a few minutes.
Now it's time for your rice and beans. Cook your rice and pinto beans and get them ready for your reheating pouches, which you're going to create next. Of course unless you have a lot of time and a really fancy tailgate grill it's very difficult to cook things on indirect heat, so these almost have to be done well in advance, thus the need to be able to reheat them.
I create my reheating pouches using tin foil and a paper bowl. The bowl I use as just a form, laying the tin foil across and pressing it down into the bowl with a fist to get a nice bowl-shaped form. Then I take a large serving spoon and put some rice and some beans in the form. After this, I grab some of my fajita veggies and lay those over the top of the rice and beans. Then I fold up the tin foil to make a closed pouch, pinching off the ends and the top. This goes into a large container that will spend the night in the fridge and then go in the cooler tomorrow on match day.
Finally, you may want to make a foil heating pouch for your flour tortillas if you like those heated. Most of the time in restaurants they bring you the tortillas in a heated and covered container, but it's up to you if you want to heat them or not.
Now notice I'm not giving you any portion sizes--this is all up to you to figure out based on the expected number of people in your tailgate and how much everyone likes to eat. Go ahead and knock yourself out with as many or as few as you want to make.
At this point all your "night before" prep is done. Just be sure you have the other ingredients you will need for your toppings and wrappers and sauces and the like.
When match day arrives and you get to the stadium, it's time to grill up the good stuff. Once the grill is ready for cooking, lay the chicken breasts across the cooking surface and let them start cooking. Be sure to cook long enough to be safe, since undercooking chicken is not a good thing to do. Turn the chicken a few times to be sure it's well cooked on both sides, and be careful not to overcook it so you don't lose the nice juicy flavor of the meat.
When the chicken is close to being done, it's time to dig out those foil reheating pouches. Lay them around the cooler zones of the grill for a few minutes until the chicken is done cooking. Do the same with your tortilla pouch if you've decided to heat those as well. As you take the chicken breasts off the grill, you'll need to place them on a cutting board and cut the meat into fajita-sized strips or slices. Now you might do this before cooking if you were doing these in a pan on the stove, but on the grill I like cooking the whole breast before cutting it.
Final Preparation and Serving
Now you just need a space to set up for your fajita assembly and dressing. Grab your tortilla shell, toss on some chicken, toss on some veggies and rice, toss on some toppings and sauces, then wrap it up and eat it. Wash it down with your favorite adult or traditional beverage. If you're going with beer we recommend visiting Orlando Brewing south of Downtown Orlando or Hourglass Brewery in Longwood.
For dessert of course you'll have those great-tasting churros, and you can go nuts with toppings for those: anything from powdered sugar to honey to chocolate sauce--whatever tickles your fancy and delights your taste buds.
Congratulations! You've just "grilled the competition!" As a proud fan of Orlando City you've done your part to fuel up before the match. Now you've got plenty of nutrition to help you encourage the team toward victory by yelling your lungs out in the stands. All that's left is for Inchy to inspire the team with his pre-match speech and the veteran leadership to show the lads the way to three points on the pitch, and it will be a perfect match day!