Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Steak soft taco dinner

This is hubby's favorite. Considering he grew up in San Diego surrounded by great taco shops and stands, it's a real compliment. This is my version that I adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe. It seems like a lot of prep, and it is, but spread out over a few steps.

You'll need
    1  flank steak or skirt steak (about 1 1/2 lbs), sliced lengthwise then make diagonal cuts.We'll have another chance to cut against the grain later. This is flank.
I should be cutting against the grain here, but it's OK this recipe is very forgiving. 

Dry marinade
    1 Tbsp chili powder  (grind dried pods for the most authentic flavor)
    1 Tsp ground cumin
    1 1/2 Tsp ground coriander
    salt & pepper

    4 cloves crushed garlic
    1 jalapeno seeded and de-veined and minced (important, this is not a spicy dish, you want the flavor to come
            through, not a bunch of heat. If you like it spicy wait and use a condiment on you taco :)

 In a medium bowl toss the sliced meat with the spices, then add the garlic and jalapeno and toss some more.
Chill 1 hour or all day.

Heat 1-2 Tbsp of oil in a heavy (preferably cast iron) skillet, sear meat in batches
 over med-hi heat one minute per side. You want a deep brown sear on the outside,  still red/pink inside, it will finish cooking in the next step. ( if you overcrowd the pan, it will cool down and the meat will simmer instead of sear, the lack of flavor is evidenced by the pallor of the meat...eewww, grey and flaccid)

Transfer the meat to a bowl. Roughly chop the meat into uniform chunks, against the grain, careful to save the juices accumulating in the bowl. This makes the pieces tender to the tooth.

Take the skillet off the heat and add
 1/4 cup of tomato sauce
    Juice of 1 lime
    1/2 cup orange juice
    2 shakes of soy sauce
    4 shakes of worchestershire sauce
    the chopped meat and juices

Put skillet back over medium heat, and bring to a simmer and cook until sauce
reduces. It should be wet but not swimming around.

The meat is still coated in sauce but not swimming
Now the meat is perfectly cooked and SO flavorful. Place in a serving bowl.
Bring out the garnishes!

This is part of the fun, everyone chooses their favorite toppings.
I love a little onion, just meat and cheese for Big Brother S, no cilantro for Hubby.
For a crowd, we use decorative dishes. Here is just a Tuesday night dinner for the family.
and sour cream 

     taco sized corn or flour tortillas, heated, kept warm (we really prefer corn for these)
    diced jalapenos
    crumbled cotija or queso fresco (fresh mexican mild cheese)
    chopped fresh cilantro
    diced onion
    fresh made guacamole
    lime wedges

It's so fresh and delicious. We have served this many times and it always  comes out perfect. A great buffet style meal for a summer gathering with the neighbors or for us, a regular weeknight treat.
E isn't sure and is keeping her distance

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