logoI’m not surprised that this game features a team that has sewn up its division and a team that is still fighting for its playoff life. I am surprised by which one ended up being the Patriots.

Well, this wouldn’t be the first time that the Patriots have shut down a high powered offense lead by Kurt Warner. Of course this Patriots team isn’t quite like the 2001 team, but hopefully on Sunday it will be close enough.

In the spirit of close enough, Arizona isn’t exactly Mexico, but today on the Buffet Table its close enough.

Patriots Daily Buffet Table Mole Chicken Enchiladas

Moles are a family of traditional Mexican sauces. The one most people know is guacamole, avacado mole. For this recipe we’ll use a poblano mole. Poblano mole is made with chocolate, nuts, spices, salt, garlic and any number of other ingredients.

Moles take a long time to simmer and come together. I don’t have the time to do that during Patriots season and I doubt you do either, so we will be using a jarred mole. These are available in the Mexican aisle of any large supermarket.

Serves 6

1 jar Mole Sauce, it will either say Mole or Poblano mole
12 ounces water, beer or other liquid
3 pounds chicken tenderloins
12 tortillas
1.5 tsp garlic powder
1.5 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
Olive oil
Onion – sliced
Lettuce – chopped
Tomato – sliced
12 ounces shredded mozzarella, queso fresco would be more authentic but it is harder to find
Other: disposable aluminum pan

Combine the garlic powder, paprika, cayenne and salt. Sprinkle the chicken tenderloins with the spice mix.

Heat one side of the grill to hot, 400 degrees. Coat the aluminum pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Empty the jar of mole into the aluminum pan, mix with the water and allow the mole to melt over indirect heat. This can take up to 30 minutes depending on the mole and how well you mix it with the water.

Once the mole has melted, grill the chicken tenderloins, 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat. Add them to the pan with the mole and coat.

Coat the onion slices with olive oil and place them over direct heat. Cook for 4 minutes, flipping the onions halfway through.

Now remove the pan filled with the mole, and turn the heat on for all of your grill. Lay out the tortillas and allow to warm through. They’ll take 3 minutes, 90 seconds per side.

Fill each tortilla with 2 chicken tenderloins and roll them up. Place the rolled tortillas into the pan, place them close enough to the sides and each other so that the tortillas will not unroll.

Once all of the tortillas and chicken have been rolled, sprinkle the pan with the mozzarella cheese (or the queso fresco if you can find some). Allow to heat until the cheese has melted.

Plate with the chopped lettuce, sliced onions, and sliced tomatoes for toppings.

Time for a Drink!

To go with our Mexican enchiladas we’ll be drinking one of the Mexican beer styles, the Vienna Lager. Why is a Mexican beer style named after a city in Austria? That’s because the style originated in Austria, where it has almost died out. German and Austrian brewers who had settled and started breweries in Mexico never stopped brewing Vienna Lagers and they kept the style alive.

Vienna Lager is one of my favorite beer styles. It is incredibly drinkable. It is neither too hoppy and bitter, nor too sweet and malty. It isn’t too light or too heavy in flavor, too strong or too weak in alcohol percentage. Vienna Lager is one of the great balanced beers in the world.

Expect this balance to continue throughout the beer. Carbonation is moderate. Flavors range towards toasted and bready malt flavors rather than heavier roasted or sweet.

Hops are present, but not in an overwhelming way, and those that are there are from the spicy and floral ‘noble’ varieties.

The most widely available Vienna Lager is Sam Adams Boston Lager. Not all sources agree, as some list Boston Lager as a Pilsner. It does split the styles as its color is as dark as a Vienna Lager, but it has the level of bitterness usually found in a Pilsner. It is still close enough to style to get an idea of what a Vienna Lager is about. Sam Adams did make a truer to style version, simply called Vienna Lager, up to a few years ago but it has been phased out.

Smuttynose Portsmouth Lager is closer to style and a great beer. Also from New England is Pennichuck 2-6-0 (PDF). 

Blue Point Brewing from Long Island offers Toasted Lager. They do not list it as a Vienna Lager, but although some of the ingredients aren’t traditional for a Vienna, I believe it belongs in the style.

The two most widely distributed Mexican options are Dos Equis Amber and Negra Modelo They share a few common characteristics, such as tending towards the sweet side of the style and having useless websites. Drinking a Sam Adams Boston Lager and a Negra Modelo will show you the entire breadth of Vienna Lagers.

Chef’s ‘Buffet Table’ appears before every Patriots home game on Patriots Daily. He can be reached at feedback@patriotsdaily.com.