Skirt Steak Tacos

Back in early July Matt and I made some yummy grilled steak tacos with a spicy, red chile pepper marinade. We’re going to make these tasty tacos again this weekend so I thought that now would be the perfect time to post the recipe… mostly so I can remind myself of how to make them! 🙂

Zacatecas Skirt Steak Taco

Don’t be intimidated by the red chile sauce. It has a lot of ingredients and took some time to make, but it also keeps well (just freeze any extra in an ice cube tray and bag the frozen cubes for storage) so you can definitely make it ahead of time. Also, keep in mind that the skirt steak needs to marinade overnight so plan accordingly.

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Skirt Steak Tacos from Zacatecas
(from Tacos by Mark Miller; tweaked slightly for ingredients we had on hand)

Ingredients for the Red Chile Sauce:
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 White Onion, chopped
8 Roma Tomatoes, blackened (to blacken remove stems and broil in the oven for 5 minutes until blistered)
8 oz. (25-ish) dried New Mexico Red Chiles, dry roasted and re-hydrated, soaking water reserved
2 cloves Garlic, roasted and finely chopped (to roast place unpeeled cloves in a 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes until soft)
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 tablespoon Dried Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Peanut Oil

Ingredients for the Skirt Steak:
1 pound Skirt Steak, excess fat trimmed away
8-10 cloves Garlic, dry-roasted and chopped (see above)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon Chile Powder
1 tablespoon Salt
2 teaspoons Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Cumin
2 teaspoons Onion Powder
1 tablespoon chopped Cilantro
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil (we used canola)
2 tablespoons Red Chile Sauce
1 teaspoon Chipotle Puree (simply puree a can of Chipotles en Adobo in blender; refrigerate any extra for up to a month)

Other Taco Ingredients:
Corn Tortillas
Garnishes, including: shredded Cabbage, thinly sliced Radishes, Chopped Onions, Chopped Tomatoes, Fresh Cilantro, Lime Wedges, and Shredded Cheese

309 Zacatecas Skirt Steak Taco

Directions:

Start by making your Red Chile Sauce in advance. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion for 6-8 minutes or until browned. Transfer the onion, tomatoes, rehydrated chiles, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt to a blender. If the reserved chile water is not bitter, add one cup to the blender mixture. If it is bitter, add a cup of normal water instead.

Blend the mixture thoroughly until a fine paste forms. Then, heat the peanut oil in a (clean) skillet over high heat and refry the blender mixture “at a sizzle” for 3-5 minutes while stirring constantly. The refried sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If too thick, stir in more water.

A day before you want to eat your tacos, prepare the Skirt Steak. Use a butcher’s mallet to pound the steak until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Combine all of the remaining ingredients (chopped roasted garlic thru chipotle puree) in a large bowl or dish and stir well to create a marinade. Rub the marinade over the meat, cover, and allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Marinating and Grilled Zacatecas Skirt Steak

Marinating steak (left) and grilled steak (right).

When you are ready to make your tacos, season the steak with more salt and pepper and grill it over direct medium-high heat for approximately 6 minutes total, flipping once halfway through. Remove the cooked steak from the grill, allow it to rest for a few minutes, and then slice it against the grain into 1/4″ thick strips.

Build your tacos by arranging strips of steak on warm corn tortillas and topping with shredded cabbage, chopped onion, and any other garnishes that you like. Enjoy!

Zacatecas Skirt Steak Taco

Smoky Beef Chili

Slow-cooked stew… the perfect winter weeknight meal! Last week after a long day at work and a cold drive home we opened our back door and were greeted by the wonderful smell of simmering Smoky Beef Chili in the crock pot. This chili was easy to make — we actually threw the ingredients together at lunchtime and let them simmer all afternoon — and the resulting dinner was delicious!

Smoky Beef Chili

This Smoky Beef Chili recipe comes from Williams Sonoma’s The New Slow Cooker, a cookbook that my mom got me for Christmas. The chili features tender chunks of beef (so tender that you can cut them with a spoon!), smoky chipotle-induced heat and a fresh corn salsa that contrasts nicely with the intense flavors of the stew. Depending on how much beef stock you opt to add, the chili is either a nice soup consistency (with more stock) or a thick stew that tastes great over rice.

Smoky Beef Chili (from The New Slow Cooker)

Ingredients for the Stew:
4 lbs. Boneless Beef Chuck, trimmed of fat and cut into 3/4″ cubes
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 Large Yellow Onions, coarsely chopped
2 Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Chipotle Chile Powder
2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Dried Mexican Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 cup Tomato Paste
2-3 cups Beef Stock, divided

Ingredients for the Corn Salsa Garnish:
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon low-sodium Soy Sauce
Juice of 1 Lime
2 teaspoons Sherry (or Sherry Vinegar)
1 teaspoon minced fresh Ginger
1/8 teaspoon Sugar
2-3 drops Hot Sauce (we used Cholula)
2 cups Corn Kernels (if frozen, rinse under water to thaw)
2 cups Cherry Tomatoes, halved
4 Green Onions, thinly sliced

Directions:
Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add half of the oil to a large skillet over medium-heat heat. Add half of the beef and brown evenly (approx. 5 minutes), then set the browned beef aside on a plate and repeat with the remaining meat.

If the skillet is dry, add more of the olive oil or, if the skillet has a lot of fat in it, drain most of the fat away. Bring back to medium heat and saute the onions for about 6 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then stir in the next 6 ingredients (chipotles thru tomato paste) and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the beef stock and stir well to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker.

Add 1 teaspoon salt along with some ground pepper, and 1-2 cups of stock (depending on how soupy you want the chili to be) to the slow cooker and stir in the browned beef and any accumulated juices. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 hours.

Before serving the stew make the corn salsa. Start by whisking together the Lime Vinaigrette ingredients (olive oil thru hot sauce) in a small bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and stir in the vinaigrette. Serve the salsa on top of a steaming bowl of Smoky Beef Chili and enjoy!

Smoky Beef Chili

Southwestern Turkey Burgers

After making our delicious Guacamole-Chipotle Burgers on Wednesday, we had a few leftovers, namely chipotle mayonnaise, guacamole, poblano pepper, cheese, and buns (everything but the burger!).  We decided to put our toppings to good use and try out the Guacamole-Chipotle Burger recipe using ground turkey instead.

We followed the same basic recipe as the beef burgers with a few exceptions.  We were worried that the lower fat content of the turkey would produce dense, dry burgers so we chopped up the pepper jack cheese and mixed it plus a little shredded Monterey Jack directly into the turkey mixture.  We also added slightly less pepper (just under 1/2 teaspoon per pound of meat) and Matt grilled the burgers longer — approximately 5 minutes per side over direct high heat — to make sure they were cooked through.

The turkey burgers turned out nice and juicy thanks to all of the cheese and the overall combination of turkey, chipotle mayo, poblano, cilantro, and guacamole was delicious!  Next time we make fancy beef burgers we’ll definitely plan to make the healthier turkey equivalent with the leftovers.  🙂

Homemade Guacamole-Chipotle Burgers

Every January we go to Las Vegas for a week to exhibit at a big trade show.  Although this sounds like a great opportunity to let loose and go wild in Vegas, the reality is that after 9 1/2 hours of standing in a booth on a concrete floor (and with another 9 1/2 hours ahead of us the next day…) we typically find ourselves just looking for a solid meal that doesn’t involve walking through too many casinos.  After checking out many of the restaurants in our immediate area, we decided that our favorite place to eat was the Grand Luxe Cafe, conveniently situated right at the bottom of our hotel elevator at the Palazzo.

 The Grand Luxe Cafe’s menu is practically a small novel, boasting page after page of offerings from Italian, Asian, Mexican, and American cuisine.  Matt’s go-to dinner was the Avocado-Chipotle Burger which, according to the menu, is a “chop house burger topped with fresh avocado, fire-roasted poblano peppers, melted cheese, chipotle mayonnaise and cilantro.”  Yum!

With this description in mind, we set out to make our own version of this delicious dinner.  Judging by the look on Matt’s face as he bit into his burger tonight, I think we succeeded!

Burgers with Pepper Jack, Chipotle Mayo, Roasted Poblanos, Guacamole and Cilantro

Chipotle Mayo, Cilantro & Guacamole

You will need…
1 Poblano Chile Pepper
1/4 Cup Cilantro Leaves
1/4 Cup Guacamole
4 Slices Pepper Jack Cheese
2 Hamburger Buns, cut in half lengthwise and lightly toasted

For the Chipotle Mayonnaise…
1/3 Cup Mayonnaise
Juice from 1/2 Lime
1 Chipotle Pepper plus 1 Teaspoon Adobo Sauce (from a small can of Chipotles en Adobo)
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Poblano Peppers

For the burger patties…
3/4 – 1 pound Ground Chuck
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
Olive Oil Spray for the Grill

Directions:

Heat your grill to medium-high heat.  Once hot, place the whole poblano pepper on the grill grates and allow it to roast for approximately 12 minutes, turning occasionally.  When the poblano skin is charred and starting to peel remove it from heat, place it in a glass bowl, and cover with a kitchen towel.  Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.  (This will loosen up the poblano skin and allow it to cool enough so that you can handle it.)

Transfer the poblano to a cutting board and peel off the outer skin with your fingers.  Cut the stem off and squeeze the seeds out.  Slice the pepper into 1/2″ squares and set aside.

Combine the chipotle mayonnaise ingredients in a small food processor and blend until the pepper is broken down into small pieces.  Transfer the chipotle mayonnaise into a bowl and set aside.

To make your burger patties, place the ground chuck in a shallow bowl and spread out slightly.  Add the salt and pepper evenly over the surface of the meat, then carefully mix the meat with your hands.  The key to a good burger is not to over-mix or over-compress the ground beef so mix gently!  🙂  Split the meat mixture in half and form each section into a very loose ball by transferring the meat back and forth between your hands.

Place both burger “balls” on a plate and press down gently to flatten them ever so slightly… your finished patty should be about 3/4″ thick and 4-5 inches in diameter.  Form a small indent (about 1/4″ deep) in the center of each patty.

Place the burgers, indent side up, on a preheated, oiled grill over direct high heat.  Close the lid and allow to cook for 2 1/2 minutes, then flip the burgers and allow to cook for 2 minutes.  Add the slices of pepper jack cheese to each burger and allow to cook (lid closed) for another minute.

While the burgers are grilling, spread some of the chipotle mayonnaise on the bottom of your hamburger bun and spread some guacamole on the top of the bun.  Place the cooked burgers onto the bun and top with roasted poblano peppers and cilantro.

We enjoyed our burgers with a side of Alexia Sweet Potato Chipotle Fries and a Dill-Cucumber Salad.  This was a pretty spicy meal so the cucumber had a very nice cooling effect.

Ready to eat!