Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bistec Adobado Tacos with Grilled Green Onions

Men's Journal strikes again - in the latest issue (July 2013), an entire article is devoted to the elevation of the taco from humble street food to serious dining fodder, including recipes for 5 different varieties (beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, and vegetarian) from famous taquerias across America. Chef Joe Hargrave of Tacolicious in San Francisco provided the beef taco recipe, a bistec adobado (flank steak marinated in a chile paste) served with grilled green onions, that caught my eye and inspired me to fire up the ol' Canteen grill. Up first, however, a trip to my local Latino grocery was in order to source the dried chile peppers (ancho, guajillo, and cascabel) needed for the marinade. El Grande Supermarket is located not too far from Hackknifette's preschool (near the intersection of Waters and Hanley, about 15 minutes from the homestead) and, while it doesn't exactly live up to its name (the store is about a quarter of the size of our usual Publix), I was able to find both the ancho and guajillo chiles I needed, plus some pineapple wafers for good measure (most of the store's activity was concentrated around the butcher counter, with scores of hungry patrons calling out orders in Spanish for lamb, goat, and tripe). Back home, I reconstituted the peppers in a warm bath of apple cider vinegar and water, shredded them in a food processor with browned onions/garlic and cumin to make a paste, then slathered the paste on my beautiful 2-lb. flank steak (courtesy of Publix) to marinate for a few hours. After that, the steak went on a hot grill for about 6 minutes each side, and, voila, I had the very tasty (and very pink) bistec adobado that you see in the photo on top, along with some surplus juices and grilled green onions. The family all seemed to enjoy the meat, except the corn tortillas I bought didn't hold up very well under the weight of the steak, onions, and all of our side toppings - in fact, Mrs. Hackknife suggested that we just eat the steak separately in the future (as sort of a carne asada) and put everything else on the side, which I did for lunch the remainder of the week. When paired with a little shredded cheese, sour cream, raw diced onion, lime juice, and a dollop of pureed chipotle pepper, you end up with a tasty dish that hits all the flavor receptors of the palate (sweet, salt, heat, fat, tart, and crunch). I'm now quite anxious to try the other 4 taco recipes in the coming months.

Bistec Adobado with Grilled Green Onions

1 tsp. cumin seeds (or 2 tsp. ground cumin)
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and deseeded
2 dried guajillo or New Mexico chiles, stemmed and deseeded
1 dried cascabel chile, stemmed and deseeded (note - I omitted this)
1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 lb. flank steak, skirt steak, or tri-tip
1 large bunch green onions, root ends trimmed
Lime wedges, chopped onions, and cilantro for garnish
12 tortillas

1. Toast cumin seeds in a skillet over medium heat for 1 minute, then grind in a spice grinder (note - skip this step if you are using ground cumin)
2. Heat vinegar and water in a pan until hot. Pour into a bowl with dried chile peppers and let stand for 15 minutes.
3. Put 3 tbsp. canola oil in a pan over medium heat, add onions and garlic, saute until browned, and place in a food processor. Add chiles, soaking liquid, cumin, black pepper, and salt. Puree into a thick, smooth paste.
4. Place steak and adobo paste in a large ziploc bag, massage to coat all sides, and refrigerate from 2 to 12 hours.
5. Remove steak from refrigerator 1-2 hours before cooking. Grill over medium-high heat 5-7 minutes per side. Set aside to rest covered for 10 minutes.
6. Rub green onions with 1 tbsp. canola or olive oil, grill until soft and slightly charred (about 2 minutes), and season with salt.
7. Cut steak into small pieces against the grain and season with salt/pepper. Serve with green onions, cilantro, chopped onions, and lime wedges.

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