Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Bistec en Salsa Roja

Sometimes when I'm obsessively cooking, writing or talking about tacos, I feel like I'm such a faker to the world of Mexican food. After all, I am literally the WASP-iest Canadian who ever lived (sorry Anne Murray) and I don't even speak a lick of Spanish. Are my flavours that authentic? Would someone who grew up at the kitchen table of their Abuela scoff at my cooking attempts?

These are the thoughts that keep me up at night. Well, actually it's work stress. But taco stress is also no joke.

However, every once in a while I think I nail it. Like with this recipe for Salsa Roja, which I then stewed with flank steak. I used some dried peppers specially procured for the occasion and they made all the difference. This dish has some rich heat that's tempered by the crema and brings to mind all the Mexican food I've loved before.

So cook this up the next time you need to impress Rick Bayless (anybody? ...nobody)

Bistec en Salsa Roja

Serves: 20 tacos                 Prep Time: 1 hour                   Cook Time: 30 min

Salsa Roja Recipe 

5 tomatoes
1 cooking onion
3 garlic cloves
1 dried ancho chile
1 dried rojo chile
1 dried chipotle chile
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp Mexican oregano
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced

Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Broil It

Preheat the oven to broil. Cut the tomatoes and onions into quarters and place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet, along with garlic cloves. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Broil until charred, about 10 to 15 minutes (get it nice and black).

Chile It

At the same time, remove the steam and seeds from the chiles. Heat a skillet on medium and roast the dried chiles. Keep turning them until you can feel the heat in the air (it'll burn your eyes a little), about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and place in a small sauce pan with bay leaf. Cover chiles with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering for 10 minutes. Remove chiles from water.

Combine It 

Combine broiled ingredients and chiles, along with oregano, cumin, coriander and cilantro in a blender and puree until smooth.

Cook It

Transfer to a pot and heat on low. Stir in the lime juice and sugar, plus salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Bistec Recipe

2 flank steaks
1/2 lime, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste

Corn tortillas

Prep It

Place steaks between wax paper and pound with a meat tenderizer, twice over on each side. Season both sides with salt, pepper and lime juice. Set aside for 1 hour.

Grill It

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place steaks on grill and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Remove and let sit for 10 minutes. Thinly slice the steak into 1/2 inch strips, then rotate and slice into cubes of the same size.

Combine It

Take the pot of Salsa Roja and heat on medium. Throw the steaks into the sauce and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Serve It

With a slotted spoon, serve a helping of steak into a warm corn tortilla. Top with cilantro, onions and crema.

Bonus: you'll probably have some salsa left over to top other meats for the rest of the week!

1 comment:

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