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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Fun Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

I love preparing and eating Mexican foods. Although I don’t normally need an excuse to make a batch of salsa or a tray of enchiladas, the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday gives us all a good reason to have some fun with Mexican flavors in the kitchen! Here are some recipes that would be perfect for the occasion:

(Scroll down for links to each recipe.)

Matt and I are going to celebrate the holiday a few days late with a “Diez de Mayo” potluck party. We’re going to provide margaritas along with rotisserie chicken and pork carnitas tacos for our friends and then they’ll bring additional dishes with them. I can’t wait!!

Our Fiesta invitation postcards for Diez de Mayo

Do you have any special party or food plans for Cinco de Mayo? Please tell me about them in the comments section! 🙂

Recipe Links for the Cinco de Mayo Dishes shown above:
Pork Tinga TacosMargaritas on the RocksChorizo-Bean Tortas
Rotisserie Chicken BurritosPoblano Sausage TacosFrozen Strawberry Margaritas
Salsa Verde EnchiladasPozole VerdeJalapeño Garlic Chicken Quesadillas

Pork Carnitas Tacos

Yesterday Matt and I had our Engagement Photo Session with our wonderful wedding photographer, Melissa Hassey. Prior to the shoot Melissa suggested that Matt and I just relax and do what we normally would be doing on a Tuesday afternoon so we embraced that advice and decided to cook a big meal. That’s pretty much a typical weeknight, after all!

Our “Engagement Session Meal” consisted of slow-cooked pork carnitas tacos with lots of yummy sides including jalapeño-lime slaw, avocado crema, and fresh cilantro. We also enjoyed a pitcher of mojito limeade and a few cold beers. Yum!

I can’t wait to see how Melissa’s photos turn out. She actually snapped some of me taking pictures of our food before dinner while Matt waited patiently for me to finish which, once again, is a pretty normal part of our daily life together!  (Update: You can view one of Melissa’s photos of me taking photos of our carnitas here.)

Slow-Cooked Pork Carnitas Tacos (serves 2 with LOTS of leftovers for 2-3 lunches each!)

For the Pork…
3 ½ – 4 lbs. Bone-In Pork Butt, fat mostly trimmed off and discarded
Salt and Pepper
3/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Cumin
1 teaspoon Chile Powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
3 teaspoons Mexican Oregano

Corn Tortillas (approx. 3 per person)

Toppings/Sides…
Jalapeño-Lime Slaw
Avocado Crema
Chopped White or Yellow Onion
Fresh Cilantro
Guacamole
Rice (or, better yet, Cilantro-Lime Rice!)
Lime Wedges
Tortilla Chips

Directions:
Generously salt and pepper both sides of the pork butt and place the meat into a slow cooker. Pour the vinegar into the slow cooker, cover, and cook on high for 8-10 hours.

When pork is finished cooking, remove the pork from the slower cooker and transfer to a large bowl. Pull the pork apart with two forks (or your fingers!) and discard the bone. Stir in the cumin, chile powder, cayenne pepper and more salt and pepper — feel free to adjust the seasonings to taste. Spread the seasoned meat out on a large baking pan and broil in the oven for 5-6 minutes until the edges start to get crispy.

Pour the cooking liquid from the slow cooker into a large measuring cup and then return the broiled pork to the slow cooker. Mix in the oregano, then pour some of the cooking liquid into the slow cooker and stir until the pork absorbs it. Keep adding more liquid and stirring until the pork reaches your desired moisture level. (We skipped this step yesterday and thought that our pork was a little dry but we’ll definitely do it next time!) Discard any leftover liquid and keep the pork warm until you are ready to serve it.

Meanwhile, prepare your toppings and sides as per their respective recipes. Just before serving, heat up the corn tortillas to make them pliable and yummy. Either microwave them in a damp paper towel for approx. 30 seconds or have fun with the grill and grill the tortillas over indirect high heat for 2-3 minutes.

To assemble your pork carnitas taco layer the pork, slaw, crema, onion, and cilantro onto a tortilla and enjoy!

Pork Carnitas Taco

Poblano Sausage Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Slaw and Avocado Crema

Most people visit their local Farmer’s Market for organic fruits and vegetables but here in Newtown Square, PA we are a little different: we go to our Farmer’s Market for freshly made sausage!  The sausage is made by Maiale in nearby Wilmington, Delaware and it’s available in mouth-watering flavors like Chicken Sausage with Spinach and Sharp Provolone, Wild Boar Sausage with Apples, Caramelized Onions, and Blue Cheese, and Thai Curry Sausage with coconut milk, curry powder and cilantro.  Yum!  (Check out the full offering here.)

We picked up some Fire-Roasted Poblano and Corn Sausage last week and decided to do something fun to play off of the sausage’s Southwest flavors.  After a little experimentation we ended up with a wonderful dinner of delicious tacos with a tangy slaw and creamy sauce that complemented the spiciness of the sausage perfectly.  Here’s the recipe!

Poblano Sausage Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Slaw and Avocado Crema  (serves 2)

You will need…
1 1/2 cups Bagged Cole Slaw Mix
2 tablespoons Cilantro, finely chopped
Juice from 1 Lime (for the slaw)
½ Jalapeño Pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
½ cup Guacamole*
1/2 cup Sour Cream
Oil Spray for the grill
2 Fire-Roasted Poblano and Corn Sausages, grilled
6 Corn Tortillas
½ Red Onion, chopped

Directions:
Make the lime-cilantro slaw first by mixing the cole slaw mix, cilantro, lime juice and jalapeño in a large bowl.  Cover the mixture and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  This will allow the flavors to develop while you are making the rest of the meal.

Create the avocado crema by combining the guacamole and sour cream.  If your guacamole is chunky or if you are making your own from scratch, you could try combining the guacamole and sour cream in a food processor.  We tried this and only succeeded in splattering the sour cream all over the inside of the food processor bowl so we ended up scraping the ingredients out of the food processor bowl and stirring the mixture together by hand instead.  If desired, thin the crema with a bit of water so that it will be easier to drizzle over the tacos.

Grill the sausages until they are cooked through and then slice them into bite-sized pieces.  While the sausages are grilling, oil the grill and heat the corn tortillas.  Be careful not to overcook them – you still want them to be soft and pliable, not crispy!  Place the heated tortillas on a warmed plate and cover with a towel to keep the heat and moisture in until you are ready to use them.

Assemble your Poblano Sausage Tacos by putting several pieces of sausage on a warmed tortilla and topping with the slaw and red onion.  Drizzle a generous amount of avocado crema over the taco.  Serve with a cold beer and enjoy!

*If you don’t have pre-made Guacamole you can make your own by mashing together 1 peeled avocado (pit removed), 1 clove of minced garlic, juice from ½ lime, 1 tablespoon of minced yellow onion (optional) and salt and pepper to taste.