Grilled Margarita Chicken Quesadillas/Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale/Lothorian “Welldweller”
We don’t drink margaritas all that much around here, but margarita mix and tequila sure does make for one hell of a marinade for grilled chicken. Tuck those chunks of sweet grilled chicken into a warm flour tortilla with freshly shredded jack cheese, grilled peppers and onions and top with homemade guac, and now you’re talking our language. We washed these down with the Mirror Pond Pale Ale from Deschutes Brewery and cranked the insanely heavy new release “Welldweller” from Belgium’s Lothorian.
Grilled Margarita Chicken Quesadillas – The marinade for the chicken is basically a really strong frozen margarita. We’re using two chicken breasts, 1 canister of frozen margarita mix and a cup of tequila blanco. This all goes in a large ziplock in the fridge to marinate overnight.
For the peppers and onions were using a couple of orange and yellow peppers and a red onion all cut into strips.
We can head out to the grill with the veggies first. Toss the peppers and onions in a grill sauté pan and cook over a medium flame turning occasionally until the veggies are charred. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
The chicken goes on next. These will cook over a medium flame as well. The marinade is a little sugary, so we don’t want to scorch the outside too much before the interior has a chance to cook through.
After about 10-12 minutes per side these will have an awesome looking crust on the outside and will be moist and tender on the inside.
We are ready to compile all of the quesadilla components. Shred a half of a block of jack cheese and cut the chicken and peppers into bite size chunks. Grab a couple of large flour tortillas and it’s back out to the grill we go.
The coals should just be embers about now, which is perfect for grilling the tortillas and finishing off these quesadillas. Place a tortilla on the grill and warm on both sides. Add a handful of cheese and a couple tablespoons of the chicken and pepper filling.
Fold the tortilla over and grill on both sides until a little crunchy and the cheese is thoroughly melted.
We are just serving these with a dollop of homemade guacamole on top. In a bowl mash together an avocado, a small handful of chopped cilantro and 1/2 of a finely diced jalapeño. Stir in a diced and seeded plum tomato.
Cut the quesadillas in wedges and place on a platter scooping a generous portion of guacamole over each wedge. Shot of tequila optional.
Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale – This was our first beer from Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery. We were looking forward to trying something again from one of our favorite beer states. Mirror Pond poured a lively red color with a frothy off-white head that was about 1/2″ thick. The aroma was decidedly malty and yeasty with the hop aromas fairly muted. In the flavor department, this reminded us a little of a Belgium pale ale. It’s not overly hoppy with a hint of banana peel and bubble gum behind an overall pronounced malt presence. The hops and yeast do a nice job toning down the sweetness and creates a very well balanced beer. Pale ales are about as ambiguous a style of beer as you can find, so they range from dreadful to incredible. Since we like our pale ales a little more hoppy, we found Mirror Pond to rest somewhere a little above the midway point of those two. The brewery does earn bonus points for throwing this question out on the label resulting in some good thought and discussion, “If you could listen to only one album forever, what would it be?” As for the pairing, it worked really well. The sweetness from both the beer and the chicken worked great and the beer was just light enough to not overpower the dish.
Lothorian “Welldweller” – One look at the menacing cover of this album should give you an idea of what is in store even before you crank this album up loud. Heavy, skull crushing sludge in its finest form. The riffs are super heavy and thick and the pace is ultra slow on this 2013 release from Belgium’s Lothorian. These are both on display on the opening instrumental “Witchunt”, an excellent preview of what is to come. The title track features an awesome sludgy riff then picks up the pace a little at times and flat-out rocks. The vocals are fuzzed out as well. What you wind up with is something sounding very similar to Electric Wizard. Not a bad thing at all. The song that we can’t stop playing, thanks to its infectious guitar work and groove, is “Atmosphere”. The song just builds and builds and you just can’t help but bang your head to it. It’s an instrumental for the most part, but is one of the best tracks on the album. It’s back to the slow and sludgy on “Doomsday Calling”. The vocals are not as fuzzy but still really dark, recalling some of Smoke’s most eerie work. The jam at the end of this track just plain slams as well. “Cult” sticks to the same formula, save for a downright thrashy break in the middle of the song. The song is another pseudo-instrumental with the occasional spoken word samples sprinkled in. The album ends with its best song in “Shallow Ground”. Great groove and riff, but it’s the vocals that put it over the top expanding out of the low roar into a raspy crooning with excellent results. Think Lemmy fronting a sludge band. Overall, a great debut and one of the darkest we’ve featured on here in a while.