Beer Poached and Grilled Mexican Chicken & Quinoa Bowls/Third Street Brew House Hop Lift/Siena Root “A Dream of Lasting Peace”

 In IPA, Poultry, Recipes

Craving both Mexican and something light on this hot and humid Chicago evening, we turned to the seldom used (at least around here) boneless skinless chicken breast as well as quinoa and kale to create these super fresh and healthy burrito bowls.  The quinoa and kale act as the base that gets topped with grilled chicken, sautéed black beans, a Mexican cucumber & tomato salad and fresh avocado and jalapeño.  In the beer department we went north to Cold Springs MN and enjoyed some tallboys of Third Street Brew House’s Hop Lift IPA.  To round out the evening, we had the cool jams from Siena Root’s “A Dream of Lasting Peace” cranked up on the stereo.

Beer Poached and Grilled Mexican Chicken & Quinoa Bowls- Ok, before we start cooking anything, we need to get our spices in order.  If you already have our La Curandera Mexican Rub, you’re good to go, if not we need to make a quick substitute by mixing up some cumin, chile powder, garlic, onion, salt and pepper.  We’ll be using this a few times throughout the recipe starting with poaching the chicken breasts.  In a large pot pour in 2 cups of chicken stock, a bottle of beer and a couple tablespoons of the Mexican Rub.  Put the mixture on medium/low and place the chicken breasts in so that they are completely submerged.

As the chicken is poaching we can move on to a couple of the toppings starting with the sautéed black beans.  In a skillet over medium heat warm about a tablespoon of olive oil then add in 1/4 of a thinly sliced red onion.

Sauté until the onion is soft and add in 1 can of rinsed black beans.  Season the mixture with a little more Mexican Rub and reduce heat to low.

Now let’s knock out the Mexican salad which is our spin on the popular middle eastern Jerusalem salad. We roughly chop a couple of plum tomatoes and 1/2 of a large English cucumber and toss both in a bowl.

Next we make up a dressing of 1/4 cup mayo, a tablespoon of olive oil, the juice of a lime, a small handful of chopped cilantro and you guessed, more Mexican Rub.  Whisk all of the ingredients together.

Toss with the cucumber and tomatoes.  Place in the fridge to keep cool.

By this time, the chicken should be poached enough to be ready for the grill.  We don’t need the chicken cooked through, all we’re looking for is for them to soak in that poaching liquid and plump up a bit so they remain juicy after grilling them.  Remove the chicken and season with a little more Mexican Rub.

To the grill these go, specifically over medium heat to get those nice grill marks on both sides.  Remove from heat and keep warm.

Now we can start building the bowls.  To start we are using a frozen quiona and kale mix but certainly rice could be substituted. Then we just work our way around the top of the bowl placing a little bit of sliced chicken, a spoonful each of the black beans and Mexican salad and finally garnishing it with fresh jalapeño, avocado and lime. There you have it, a dish that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that healthy can equal delicious.

Third Street Brew House Hop Lift – Honestly we were hesitant when we came across these four pack IPAs at our local Aldi. Recently we tried a contract brewed Aldi beer and weren’t totally impressed and we thought this would be more of the same.  Come to find out, Third Street Brew House is a legitimate brewery just north of the Twin Cities. Aldi doesn’t sell many non-Aldi brands but we got lucky in the beer department today.  Hop Lift pours yellow and super effervescent with a huge foamy white head.  The aroma is of subtle piney hops and a little sweet.  The flavor is a little more on the malty side compared to your typical IPA with the hops really only making an appearance on the slightly bitter finish.  It’s a solid beer that toes the line between IPA and an English pale ale and made a fine companion to our south of the border bowls.

Siena Root “A Dream of Lasting Peace” –  After a three year hiatus, Sweden’s psychedelic jam machine, Siena Root is back with their latest organ-heavy jam fest of an album in “A Dream of Lasting Peace”.  Combining the funk and southern swagger of the Black Crowes and Steepwater Band with the psychedelic heavy metal of Spooky Tooth and early Deep Purple, the band has done it’s part to broaden the spectrum of the stoner rock genre.   “Tales of Independence” is the album’s opener and to illustrate our point perfectly, it begins with a funky hook reminiscent of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious” but it also features vocals that are in the same ballpark as Crobot resulting in a totally modern rock and roll twist on the classic organ rock of the early 70s.   “Sundown” slows things down to medium rocker status with a southern rock twist along the lines of Marshall Tucker or The Outlaws.  The band shows off their blues chops on “The Piper Won’t Let You Stay” starting similarly to Thin Lizzy’s “Still In Love With You”.  The song builds beautifully and bears some resemblance to fellow countrymen Graveyard’s ballads making it one of our favorite tracks on the album.   There’s a darkness mixed in with the psychedelia on the driving “Outlander” which is heavy on the organ and even heavier on the groove.   “Growing Underground” kicks off with some keyboard work that would make Jon Lord proud as the song incorporates a bit of “Hush” into its jazzy, yet heavy composition.  The blues come back in a big way on “Empty Streets” with a sweeping, bluesy swagger that asserts itself from start to finish.  “Imaginarium” is a funky little instrumental jam that sounds like it could have been recorded 50 years ago with its mix of big band, jazz and psychedelic rock.  The album ends with “The Echoes Unfold”, a brooding, airy, dark, doomy number that ebbs and flows from slow to medium paced throughout the song but keeping with the same gloomy mood.  “A Dream of Lasting Peace” is almost the tale of two albums, side 1 is the more uptempo psych rock side with side 2 slowing down the pace and taking things into some darker, bluesier places both combining to make a great overall album.

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