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

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Vietnamese Banh Mi Steak Sandwiches

It’s hot out!!  We’re in the midst of a heat wave here in southeastern Pennsylvania and as of today the high humidity and 90°+ daytime temps are supposed to last until the weekend.  This unrelenting heat makes us feel like eating fresh, light meals like the Vietnamese Banh Mi steak sandwiches that we made a few nights ago.  The three primary elements of these sandwiches – cool pickled vegetables, grilled steak with an amazing citrus-y marinade, and a spicy Siracha mayo – offer the perfect amount of crunch, flavor, and heat, and the end result is an absolutely delicious steak sandwich with a definite Asian flair.  YUM!

Banh Mi Sandwich Close Up

If you’re planning on making this recipe, leave at least 30 minutes to marinade the steak and allow the matchstick-sliced carrots and daikon radishes to pickle.  We had trouble finding a daikon radish (we should have just gone to the produce market rather than a big grocery store!) so we used standard red radishes.  To slice our carrots into nice, uniform matchsticks we used a kinpira (aka julienne cutter).  The round red radishes were harder to slice with the handheld kinpira so we ended up using the matchstick blade on our mandoline which worked well.

Vietnamese Banh Mi Steak Sandwich

For the Steak…  (Marinade recipe from NYT’s Diner’s Journal)
1/2 cup Fish Sauce
1 tablespoon packed Lime Zest
1/3 cup Lime Juice (from 3 limes)
2 tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Jalapeño Pepper, minced (seeds and veins removed)
1 1/2 – 2 lbs. Flank Steak (you’ll have some extra steak left over; we ate it another night for dinner)

For the Do Chua Pickled Carrots and Radishes… (Recipe from A Lovin’ Forkful)
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoons Salt
1/8 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 cup Matchstick-sliced Carrots
1/2 cup Matchstick-sliced Daikon Radish (we couldn’t find daikon on short notice so used regular radishes)

For the Sriracha Mayo… (also from A Lovin’ Forkful)
4 tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha
(Just use roughly an 8:1 ratio… adjust to taste!)

Other Ingredients…
1 English Cucumber, thinly sliced
2 Soft Baguettes or Sandwich Rolls, sliced in half lengthwise
Cilantro, to garnish

Banh Mi close up

Directions:
The steak needs to marinade so start this part of recipe ahead of time.  To make the marinade, combine the first six ingredients (fish sauce thru jalapeño) in a bowl.  Place your flank steak in a large resealable bag and pour the marinade over and around the steak.  Seal the bag, turn it to coat the steak evenly, then allow the steak to marinade for at least 30 minutes (up to overnight) before cooking.

The pickled carrots and radishes also need some time to soak in their flavors so make these ahead of time, too.  Combine the pickling ingredients (water thru red pepper flakes) in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Place the carrots and radishes in a bowl and pour the liquid over the vegetables.  Stir well to coat the veggies and arrange them so they are submerged in the liquid, then cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or ideally overnight.

When you are ready to make your meal take the steak out of the fridge and allow it to warm up to room temperature.  Pat both sides of the steak dry with paper towels,  then grill the steak over direct high heat, flipping once, until it reaches your desired level of doneness.  (Our cut of steak took about 5 minutes per side for medium/medium-rare.)  Once cooked, cover the steak with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Just before serving, thinly slice the steak against the grain.

While the steak cooks and rests, prepare your sriracha mayo by combining the mayonnaise and sriracha sauce.  Also, if desired, slightly toast the inside faces of the sliced baguettes on the grill.

To build your Vietnamese Banh Mi Steak Sandwiches, start by spreading a liberal amount of the sriracha mayo on the bottom face of each toasted baguette.  Layer the thinly sliced cucumbers on top of the mayo and then arrange a generous amount of the steak over the cucumbers.  Use tongs to transfer the drained carrots and radishes over the steak (don’t soak your sandwich with extra pickling liquid) and finish off your sandwich with a garnish of cilantro and the top half of the baguette.  Serve with a cold, light beer and enjoy!

Banh Mi Sandwich

Hot Pepper Beef

Who knew flank steak could be so delicious?!   I had heard of flank steak before but I’m embarrassed to say that I hadn’t actually ever cooked with it until a few months ago when we first tried this recipe.  Now we’re hooked!  In this stir fry, the flank steak takes center stage amidst a variety of green veggies in a sweet and spicy hoisin sauce.  The steak is juicy, tender, and flavorful and is light years beyond the rubbery, tasteless “steak strips” that you see pre-packaged in the supermarket.

This recipe comes from our awesome Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge cookbook by Grace Young.  We tweaked the original recipe to add the fresh green beans and garlic scapes that I picked in our garden earlier this week.  Enjoy!

Hot Pepper Beef Stir Fry with Green Beans and Scapes (serves 2)

You will need…
12 ounces Flank Steak, cut with the grain into 1/4″ thick x 2″ long slices
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
3/4 teaspoons Salt, divided
1/8 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
2 teaspoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Dry Sherry
1 tablespoon Ketchup
2 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
1/2 cup Red Onion, thinly sliced
3 quarter-sized slices of Ginger, smashed
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1 Handful Green Beans, trimmed
3 Garlic Scapes, cut into 3-4 inch pieces
Peanut Oil
1 Green Bell Pepper, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 10 ounce package Jasmine Rice from Trader Joe’s, cooked

Directions:
Combine the steak, garlic, cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, black pepper, soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the sherry, and 2 teaspoons cold water.  Stir well to coat the meat.  In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine the ketchup, hoisin sauce, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of sherry.  In yet another bowl, combine the red onion, ginger, and crushed red pepper.  Place the green beans and garlic scapes in (yes, another) bowl.

Green beans and garlic scapes from my garden made a nice addition to this recipe.

Heat a wok over high heat until a drop of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds.  Add a tablespoon of the peanut oil, swirl around the wok, and add the steak to the wok.  Spread the steak evenly over the bottom of the wok and let it sear undisturbed for 1 minute.  Then stir fry the steak for 1 minute and transfer it to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of peanut oil to the wok, swirl, and add the onion mixture.  Stir fry for 30 seconds, then add the green bean/scape mixture and continue to stir fry for 1 minute.  Add the green pepper, stir fry for 30 seconds, then add the steak and any accumulated juices back to the wok.  Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the ketchup mixture and stir fry for 30 seconds until the steak is just cooked through.  Remove from heat and serve over rice.