La Curandera Burritos/Oliver Brewing La Curandera/Clutch “La Curandera”

 In Beef, Fish, Lager, Poultry, Recipes, Sausage, Vegetarian

We’d be hard pressed to find a post that we’ve been more excited about writing.  Tonight it’s all about La Curandera.  In a killer collaboration with Baltimore’s Oliver Brewing, we use our La Curandera Mexican Rub to create not one, but two monstrously delicious burritos to go along with their La Curandera Mexican Lager.  La Curandera Burrito Roja is a carnivore’s dream full of steak, chicken, shrimp and chorizo, while La Curandera Burrito Verde is a vegetarian delight loaded with mixed peppers, potatoes, corn and onions.  Both get the Mission-style treatment of rice and beans. We then serve them “wet” covered in enchilada sauce and cheese.  On to the music.  Normally we don’t feature compilation albums at our BBQs but how could we NOT crank up Clutch’s “La Curandera” this evening?!  One of our favorite band’s cranking out some of their greatest hits while we’re celebrating this beer and food collaboration.  Yep.  We eagerly await your response….

La Curandera Burritos – Let’s start with a few disclaimers, shall we? Disclaimer #1: Prepare to shop, you can’t make two burritos this loaded without a cart full of groceries.  Go early, don’t go whilst hungry, grab a coffee and get it done.  Disclaimer #2: We fully realize there is nothing authentic about these, if the addition of the rice and beans to the burrito didn’t immediately invalidate these as traditional, the addition of enchilada sauce and cheese on top certainly will.  Disclaimer #3: We’re going to be spending a lot of time grill side prepping and putting these together so make sure you’ve got a cooler full of beer (preferably Oliver Brewing’s La Curandera if you’re in the Maryland area) and your speakers are fully charged.  Ok enough with the legalese, let’s get grilling.  Let’s start with the La Curandera Burrito Verde.  We’ll need to gather up some mixed peppers and sliced red onion to start and toss them with olive oil and La Curandera (or other Mexican-style seasoning).

We take these veggies plus a few ears of corn to the grill and get to grilling.  We toss the peppers and onions down on a grill pan and give them a quick stir.  The rest of the grill pan gets taken up by the ears of corn that also gets seasoned with La Curandera.

We continue to stir the peppers and onions as well as turn the corn until the veggies are charred and soft and the corn is charred in spots, then we can remove from the heat.

Now we’re going to press the pause button on the vegetarian burrito and switch gears to start on the meaty one.  We start by browning two links of chorizo in a large sauté pan then remove into a bowl, leaving a little of the chorizo oil in the pan.

To the pan we add medium sized raw shrimp that we pre-seasoned in La Curandera.

We toss the shrimp around in the hot oil for only a couple of minutes until fully cooked.

With half the meat done, that’s right only half, we do the rest out at the grill starting with boneless, skinless chicken thighs that we rub down with a little red enchilada sauce and some La Curandera seasoning.

We let these go for about 5-7 minutes per side to get a rich brown char on them then we scoot them over to the cool side of the grill.

Now it’s on to the steak. Normally, we’d use traditional skirt steak in this recipe but we happened to have a whole tenderloin on hand.  The way we butcher our tenderloin is by removing the chain and also the two tapered ends then slice the thicker, middle portion into steaks.  The chain and tapered ends are great to use in this recipe.  Certainly skirt steak works perfectly as well.  Whatever steak you use, it gets the same rub down as the chicken; more red enchilada sauce and La Curandera then onto a scorching hot grill.

The cooking time will vary depending on the cut of meat you use.  The skirt steak will only need about 3-4 minutes per side, the thicker filet a couple more minutes per side.  In either case we’re looking for the deep crust on the exterior and about a medium doneness on the interior.

Tent the meat in foil to keep warm as we’re going to switch gears yet again back to the vegetarian burritos.  We need to scrape the grilled corn off the cob, slice up some boiled potatoes and roughly chop the peppers.

To a foil pan we add in just enough green enchilada sauce to cover the bottom then we add 1/4 block of cream cheese and stir until melted.  We then add the chopped vegetables to the creamy sauce.

With the fillings just about done, all that’s left to do is roll-up our sleeves and prepare to get our hands dirty rolling these things.  Let’s start with the meat version.  We warm up a large flour tortilla and lay some freshly shredded jack cheese down the center followed by a big scoop of…ok, here it goes…red beans and rice.  Trust us here, not only are the rice and beans all in one place but it also brings a spicy smokiness to the burrito that ordinary Spanish rice and black beans don’t achieve.  We warned you these weren’t traditional.

Next we start layering all of the meat, roughly chopped steak and chicken followed whole shrimp and spoonfuls of the chorizo.

We top that with sour cream, guacamole and salsa.

Ok, we know what you’re thinking. That’s a lot of filling for that tortilla and you would be correct.  You might also be thinking, that’s going to be impossible to roll and you would be almost correct.  It’s not an easy task, but not impossible.  The trick is to bring two sides to the middle and press down to spread the filling out as much as possible.

Then starting with the side closest to you, hold down the center with your four fingers and use your thumbs to flip the bottom of the burrito to the other side then finish rolling.  The rub is that as you roll, the filling will want to roll with you, so you’ll need to hold the filling back with your four fingers as your thumbs do the rolling work.  Hopefully that makes sense, there is an art to it and it may take practice.  What it is NOT, is the suplecs move your local Chipotle does to their burritos.  Once rolled correctly, it goes seam side down on a hot grilled to seal it.

As the meaty burrito is sealing, we can repeat the same steps for the vegetarian burrito just swapping out the filling.

Once you’ve got both styles of burritos rolled and sealed they go onto a platter where we top the vegetarian one with more green enchilada sauce and the meat version with red enchilada sauce.  The entire platter then gets a huge heaping of cheese sprinkled on top.

Into a 375 degree oven the whole thing goes for about 10-12 minutes until the cheese is melted and then it’s knife and fork time with these babies.  The result were two of the best burritos we’ve ever tasted, perfect for your next Mexican fiesta night!

Oliver Brewing La Curandera – Well the obvious disclaimer here is that this beer is a collaboration with one of our favorite breweries, Baltimore’s Oliver Brewing.  We also happen to share a mutual love of heavy music, great beer and good food, so when talks of a collaboration came up to pair up our food with their beer, let’s just say we were beyond pumped for the project.  Now, we’ve made it a point to always be objective when we feature our food as well as the various beers and albums that we feature, so excited as we were for this release, there was a bit nervousness associated with having to feature a beer objectively that has your name emblazoned on the side of it.  Thankfully the fear was dispensed immediately, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. La Curandera pours a cloudy yellow with a greenish tint. The wispy white head dissipates into tiny bubbles on the surface.  The aroma can only be described as exotic, with an herbal spiciness on the front end giving way to tart lime scents as the nose lingers on from the Kaffir lime used in the brewing process.  As for the flavor, “wow” is all we can say.  This is about as far from what the masses consider a “Mexican Lager” to be as Four Roses is to Southern Comfort.  Corona this is anything but.  Immediately you’ll notice a heftier mouthfeel, not heavy, but not watery either.  On to the flavor side, the quintessential toasty lager yeast flavor is present but that’s the least of what’s going on with citrusy lemon/lime flavor marrying up perfectly with a hoppy bite on the finish.  Admittedly, the Mexican lager is not a beer type we typically reach for, but if they all tasted like this, that would change immediately. 

Clutch “La Curandera” – This album makes so much sense to crank up this evening.  Of course there is the obvious “La Curandera” name (bonus: this post can double as a drinking game.  To play, read this post aloud and every time the word “La Curandera” is said, the group drinks.  You’ll be hammered before you get to the beer section).  Additionally, there is something totally right about featuring one of our favorite all time bands when we’re being featured on a collaboration beer with one of our favorite breweries which is one of the major highlights we’ve had here at Stoner Rock BBQ.   Lastly, the “La Curandera” compilation album was originally released on pink vinyl back in 2015 to promote breast cancer awareness month.  The band hand picked songs that as vocalist Neil Fallon puts it “Features characters that can only be described as formidable female protagonists”.  It’s a perfect album to kick off our month as the organization our S.P.I.C.E Foundation is supporting for the month of August is Chicago’s GirlForward.  This fine organization’s mission is to create and enhance opportunities for young girl refugees who have resettled in the United States and face huge challenges.  We’re proud to support their cause because as they say on their website, “when girls succeed, everyone benefits”. We get it and so does Clutch, so let’s get down to it.  The album kicks off with a classic from “Blast Tyrant”, the band’s pinnacle album.  “Cypress Grove” is a bluesy boot stomper that is as much full of grit as it is full of groove thanks to the infectious riff that resonates through the entire song.   The band throws a curveball on the next tune (and the namesake to the spice and beer featured tonight), this version of “La Curandera” differs greatly from the original version also found on “Blast Tyrant”.  The original being probably our favorite Clutch song of all-time, it took a few spins to get used to this more stripped down version with alternate lyrics but after that we came to love this version, mainly because other than the chorus and the same riff, albeit slowed down, it’s almost a completely different song than the original.  After a couple of “Blast Tyrant” tracks, “From Beale Street to Oblivion” gets represented with the blues harp-laden “Black Umbrella”.  There’s a Five Horse Johnson vibe to this tune that extends beyond just the hankering for the harmonica, there’s a southern-fried boogie to it that makes it totally infectious.  From “Strange Cousins From The West” comes the next track, “Struck Down”.  This clinic in pure musicianship also continues to waive the bluesy groove flag.   It’s now time for a track from the band’s instant classic “Earth Rocker” album. There is literally no other band on earth that could sing a song about a robot woman that treats her man like crap until the man gets so fed up he finds a new model and do so in a song that rocks as hard as “Cyborg Bette” does.  There’s so much humor in this track, but it gets all but lost in the headbanging that goes on in what we consider to be another one of the band’s all time best tracks.  “Night Hag” was a bonus track on the “Earth Rocker” release not included on the original track listing.  It’s a great song, but on an album such as “Earth Rocker” where every track is stellar something needs to be left on the cutting room floor. Thankfully it has a place to shine here on this album.  Completing the “Earth Rocker” trio is “Oh Isabella”, one of our favorite songs off that album. It’s tune that starts building right from the opening note until it’s a loud full blown groove fest that will rattle your fillings straightaway.  This little compilation ends with the band reaching back for the first time to the earlier days of their career with a live version of “The Dragonfly” off “The Elephant Riders”.   A time when their sound was a little more heavy and a little more angry but also slow and prodding at times as it in this case.  “La Curandera” is a really cool concept greatest hits collection as well as a great introduction to any new fans of the band and cool collectors items for the die hards.

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