Chef Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill: Cinco de Mayo

Chef Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill: Cinco de Mayo

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Monday, we’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo with some modern Mexican madness at Border Grill. Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill restaurants put on one of the best Cinco de Mayo fiestas in town. So belly-up to the bar for mouth-watering Margaritas and savor the bold flavors of Mexico at their Downtown LA, Santa Monica or even their Vegas location. Mary Sue left her tips, tricks and favorite recipes for throwing a fabulous and easy fiesta. Ole!

1. Al Pastor Tacos - grilled pineapple, chicken, pork, jicama orange salsa, habanero, pickled onions

2. Corazon de Fuego cocktail - zaya rum, tamarindo, pineapple juice, agave, ancho chile ice, tajin salted rim


Al Pastor Tacos:

1 pound chicken thigh meat, skin and bones removed

1 pound pork butt, trimmed of excess fat

1 cup Al Pastor Marinade

Cilantro, finely chopped for garnish

Slice the pork butt into 1/2 inch slices.

In a large bowl, combine sliced pork butt and chicken thigh meat with the chilled Al Pastor Marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Once marinated, cook chicken and pork slice on medium heat grill about 8 minutes or until desired doneness. Rest before cutting it into small dice for tacos. Serve immediately wrapped in warmed corn tortillas and accompanied by diced grilled onion and pineapple. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with your favorite rice and beans.


Al Pastor Marinade

2 guajillo chiles, seeds removed

2 ancho chiles, seeds removed

1 dried chipotle chile, seeds removed

1 chile de arbol, seeds removed

1/3 pineapple, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices

1 large yellow onion peeled and cut into ½ inch slices.

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 pinch ground cloves

½ teaspoon cumin seed

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 ounce pilloncillo* or brown sugar

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Toast guajillo chile, ancho chile, chipotle and chile de arbol in a hot oven or in a dry skillet over medium high heat. Set aside.

Broil or grill pineapple and onion slices until golden brown, set aside. Dice and reserve half for the tacos.

Place oregano, cloves, garlic, cumin, ginger and chiles on a plate. Heat a sauce pot on high heat and add vegetable oil. Add all of the spices at once. Toast for 2 minutes. Add the chiles to the spices and let them fry a little.

Add 1/2 the slices of grilled onions and grilled pineapple.

Add pineapple juice, pilloncillo, vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper, bring to a boil and cook at a simmer for 30 minutes.

Once cooked blend in a blender until smooth and strain though a sieve.

Cool completely before marinating chicken and pork.

*piloncillo is unrefined cane sugar that is commonly used in Mexican cooking. It can be found in most Mexican grocery stores.


Corazon de Fuego

3 ounces Tamarind Pineapple Agua Fresca

1 1/2 ounces Zaya Rum

2 teaspoons of Del Maguey mescal to “rinse” the glass

Tajin for rimming the glass

Ice cubes (2 to 3 per glass)

Pour mescal into glass; swirl around until thoroughly “rinsed”. Rim glass with tajin.

Fill shaker with ice. Pour rum and Tamarind Pineapple Agua Fresca into shaker. Shake vigorously and strain over into glass filled with 2 to 3 ice cubes.


Tamarind Pineapple Agua Fresca

4 ounces fresh tamarind, removed from shell

¼ pineapple, peeled and chopped

½ cup agave syrup

4 cups water

In a large pot, place fresh tamarind with 2 cups water to cover the tamarind. Bring to a boil and let soak for 30 to 40 minutes. Add pineapple, agave and remaining two cups water. Puree and strain, chill until ready to use.

* To Trim Pineapple: Cut off top and bottom of pineapple. Stand it upright and cut off rind, using a sharp knife and smooth downward motions. Remove any remaining “eyes” with the tip of a paring knife. Cut in quarters lengthwise and cut out and discard woody core.

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