I was not a fan of Mexican food. I don’t really have anything against it. For quite some time, it has been quite inaccessible in parts of Melbourne. But things have changed. Mexican restaurants have started popping up everywhere. Still, I haven’t converted over. I can’t remember the last time I set foot in a Mexican restaurant. After this week’s challenge things are about to change. I’m a new convert. And if all of the food is as good and fun and fresh and exquisite as the one I got to prepare for this contest, then I’m on a plane to Mexico.
Entering this contest, I gave myself an outsider chance (in horse racing terms). I wasn’t sure how I can pull a dish that I’ve never attempted before. I did a lot of research, but it was all theory. However, I did learn a lot and this help sway my initial bias. Mexican food is neither spicy nor heavy as is the common perception. In fact, genuine Mexican food is flavoursome, and has a freshness to it due to the use of herbs, citrus and vegetables. One Australian site I visited even used the terms “vibrant, delicious, fresh, fun, and colourful.” And I must wholeheartedly agree to all these descriptions.
Over time I’ve learnt to perfect some dishes through practice. But here I was taking a stab in the dark. I had no actual reference and to be honest I don’t generally taste my food while I’m cooking. I’ve always preferred to wait till the end to decide whether it was successful or a disappointment. So from what I’ve learnt Mexican tend to use bell peppers, avocado, tomatoes in their recipe, so I needed to come up with something that embrace the use of these fresh ingredients. Tortilla is also a big part of the culture, I’ll just have to teach myself how to make them. During my research I also came across a few “fake news” surrounding Mexicans quasi worship for chickens! Obviously this is not true. However they do have an obsession for cockfighting (I even watched a video of it!!). So I’ll have to include chicken in some ways or form.
Prior to finalising my choice I did some social media digging and came across an interesting concept which could be adapted to this week’s contest. And it was definitely the “twist” that I always like to add to my dishes. So it is going to be a chicken wings Mexican fiesta which incorporate most of the traditional ingredients. This dish was everything I expected. I started cooking shortly after lunch and the food was ready at dusk! It was a long but fulfilling cooking day. As we tend to do, we had @family.life, @tomekkk and their 2 gorgeous daughters for diner. Even little Abigail had a great time munching on her chicken wing.
- 3 kg chicken wings, top pointy bits cut
- 2 tbs smoked paprika
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1 tbs garlic powder
- 1 tbs cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 red onion
- 1 red capsicum
- Grated Tasty cheese
- Grated Maasdam cheese
- BBQ sauce
- 1 large red capsicum
- 1 large yellow capsicum
- 1 Continental cucumber
- 2 corn rusts
- 2 large tomatoes, seeds removed
- 1 red onions
- 1 bunch coriander
- 3 Spring onions
- 4 avocados
- 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Brown sugar
- 3 cups plain flour
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 tbs garlic infused olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Chicken Wings Cut the chicken wings in half and remove the pointy end. Then in a large bowl marinate the wings with the paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bowl and allow to rest in the fridge for a few hours.
- Heat up your charcoal bbq and spread the wings over the grill and allow to cook.
- Remove the chicken wings from the bbq and place in an iron cast pan in a circular order until completely filled.
- Grate a first layer of cheese over the chicken. Add the red onions and red capsicum over the cheese. Grate another healthy amount of cheese to cover the pan and squeeze the bbq sauce over the cheeses.
- Place the iron cast pan on the bbq and cover. Allow the cheeses to melt before removing the chicken wings.
- Add the flour, water, salt and garlic infused olive oil in a medium bowl. Mix together to make a dough. Rest for ten minutes in a warm area (I used the laundry room where the dryer was running!)
- Divide in 16 small balls and roll with the pin.
- Spray some oil on a pan and place the tortilla. Remove when ready.
- Chop all the vegetables in cubes except the avocados and place in a salad bowl.
- Cut the avocados in half, and remove the seed. With the help of a tablespoon create a crater by removing a fair amount of the flesh.
- Add the flesh back to the rest of the vegetables along with the bbq corn.
- In a saucepan pour the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Bring to boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes the liquid has reduced in half.
- Pour in a glass jar and allow to cool down before serving.
Plate the different components of this dish adding the balsamic vinegar glaze to the salad and don’t hesitate to use your fingers to dig into the chicken wings. By the words of @tomekkk this was by far “the best contest food he’s been invited to taste!” And without blowing my own trumpets, I believe so too. So much so that I’m making it again next weekend for Mother’s Day!!!
I hope you enjoy it!