Now THIS is a Tailgate spread. However, I prefer Burgers and Brats to the Wine and Cheese crowd. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
It's been two weeks since the 'Cue has been fired up. Two weeks without Broncos Football. And I'm hungry. Hungry for football and hungry for wins, but I'm also hungry for some Game day Grilling action. The Denver Broncos are traveling to Florida to play the Miami Dolphins, so the challenge was to find a menu to fit the theme of this matchup. Well, they don't exactly serve up Fish Tacos on South Beach and Dolphins aren't fish anyway. Dolphin-safe Tuna? Not on my watch.
No, what I have in mind, is part of the flavor of Miami-Dade County. The Cuban essence permeates the area and it's culture is alive and growing with each cigar that is rolled. So with that in mind, the recipes today will have a Cuban flair. Light the Barbecue and let's get cooking.
For starters, I thought I would provide a Marinade to get the juices flowing. That way, you have something to soak your entree in. This one works equally well with chicken, fish or beef.
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 12 garlic cloves, minced
- 2/3 cup of sour orange (or 1/2 cup lime and half a navel orange)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped fine
Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a saucepan. then add the garlic until it turns a light brown. Turn off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the sour orange juice, water, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Now turn the burner on high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool to a room temperature. When cool, stir in the cilantro. Put the mixture into a container with a lid and shake before using.
Now that you've got your Mojo working, we can move on to the Parking Lot (or the patio). This recipe comes courtesy of Bobby Flay, a guy who makes his living on the Grill. I've tried and tested enough of his concoctions to be comfortable passing them on. Tailgater's have been whipping up Burgers on the Grill for decades and it is a basic staple of Char-Broilers everywhere. Sticking with the today's theme, I give you:
Cuban-style Burgers on the Grill
This one is simple and will fees 4 people in less than a half hour.
- 2 pounds ground chuck
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup best-quality mayonnaise
- 3 cloves roasted garlic, pureed
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 4 soft, classic hamburger buns
- 8 slices thinly sliced Swiss cheese
- 4 slices thinly sliced smoked ham
- 2 dill pickles, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Preheat the grill to high. Form the meat into 4 burgers. Season the meat with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes on both sides for medium doneness. When the burgers are done, remove from the heat and reduce heat to medium-low.
Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise and roasted garlic in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread both sides of each bun with mayonnaise and mustard. Place a slice of cheese on the bottom portion of each bun, place the burger on top of the cheese, then top the cheese with a slice of ham and another slice of cheese, and finally, the pickle slices. Place the tops of the bun over the pickles, wrap the burgers in aluminum foil, and place them on the grill. Using a heavy pan or a brick wrapped in foil, press down on the burgers for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lower the lid on the grill and continue grilling for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the bun has become pressed and firm.
I don't know about you, but I am salivating. Now lets move on to the poultry dish. This will take a little prep work as it needs to marinate for a few days. It will feed 10-12 hungry Gridiron guests.
Virginia's Cuban Garlic Chicken
- 1 cup lime juice
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 3 chickens, halved or cut up
Mix all the ingredients except the chicken. Add the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. On game day, Grill the chicken over hot heat until cooked through and chow down.
Okay, it's time for the seafood recipe to come out. It wouldn't be right to talk about a coastal football team without it.
Cuban Style Sea Bass
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced white onions
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 4 cups seeded, chopped plum tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 2/3 cup sliced stuffed green olives
- 1/4 cup drained capers
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 (6 ounce) fillets sea bass
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions until they soften. Stir in the garlic, and saute about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, and cook until they begin to soften. Stir in the wine, olives, capers, and red pepper flakes. Heat to a simmer.
Place sea bass into sauce. Cover, and gently simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Transfer fish to a serving plate, and keep warm. Increase the heat, and add butter to sauce. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Stir in the cilantro. Serve sauce over fish.
There you have it. 4 tasty tidbits to test your palette and keep your stomach (and those of your Bronco buddies) full enough to enjoy Denver dining on the Dolphins.
And if all else fails, you can always go out for Sushi.