Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Steak Tacos with Tomatillo and Mixed Pepper Salsa

It's been a few days since my last post. Work has been busy. Life has been busy. Luckily I'm going on vacation tomorrow. Viva Las Vegas!

I made this dish two weekends ago, on a day when I had lots of time to cook. The prep for the meal and the salsa making took place on Saturday, then I was left with a relatively easy meal to finish on Sunday.

I started with a marinade for the steak. I used skirt steak because I was in experimental mode and I haven't used skirt steak a lot. Flank steak or flat-iron steak would also work.

Here's the ingredients:

1 lime, juiced
2 Tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
4 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoon cumin
1 pound skirt steak cut across the grain into 1-inch strips

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

I combined all the marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag, added the steak and tossed the bag in the fridge overnight.

Next I started on the salsa. I had a half-pound of tomatillos still stashed in the crisper from the box two weeks previous (along with three green bell peppers). The next box had three-quarters pound of hatch chilies. I decided to use all of these peppers in my salsa.

Here's the ingredients:

2 clove garlic
.5 pound tomatillos

2 pounds mixed chilies and green bell peppers (pick peppers based on how hot you want the salsa, mine was pretty mild)

1/2 onion, diced
1 lime juiced

fresh cilantro

I started by heating up the grill. When it was quite hot I added the chilies and green peppers and left them to char, turning them as each side of the pepper was blackened.

As soon as each pepper was charred on all sides I removed it to a bowl (and then covered the bowl so the peppers could steam).

Once the peppers had cooled a bit, I donned some rubber gloves (this is very important if you don't want to be in massive pain every time you touch your eyes for the next day) and peeled off the charred skin and removed the stems and seeds.

It is important that, no matter how much easier it would make the process, you not run the peppers under water. This removes too much of the charred, yummy taste. Once I was done, I chopped all the peppers.

Next I got out the food processor. I turned on the blades and tossed in the garlic while it was running (this helps to chop it up). Next I added the tomatillos and processed until the they were ground completely. I put this mixture into a bowl then added the onion, the chopped peppers, lime and a bit of salt.

At this point I set aside some of the salsa for the cilantro-hating husband, then added fresh cilantro to the rest. Then, this went into the fridge so the flavors could marry overnight.

When I was ready to eat the next day, I removed the steak from the marinade and threaded the strips onto several skewers, then grilled them over high heat.

In addition I grilled some green beans (then added a squeeze of lime) and made Cumin-Scented Rice Pilaf (white rice cooked with onion and a bit of cumin).

For the tacos, I set out warm corn tortillas, sour cream, diced avocado and the salsa (and the steak). That way, the husband and I could each put only what we wanted on our own tacos (he doesn't like avocado on his, I like my rice on the side, not in, the taco).

I loved, loved, loved this salsa. I usually like my salsa more towards the warm side, but, as this was quite mild, I was able to heap lots of it on my tacos, yum. The husband liked it too (but he didn't rave about it like me). However, on matters of salsa, I tend to discount his opinion a bit because, in general, he doesn't like salsa.

A couple of days later, I used the rest of the salsa to top scrambled eggs. Also delicious.

All in all the salsa took about 2 1/2 hours to make (the peppers took a long time to peel). Totally worth it for a special occasion, but a little for work than I like to spend on a weeknight meal. I'll make this again, but only when I've got time on my hands...

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