Carne Asada, or How the Southwest Was Won

After last weekend’s blogathon, I must have done SOMETHING right. It appears I’m nominated for both ‘Best Blog’ and ‘Best Food Blog’. I’m honored, to be honest. As for the funds raised, I ended up raising $161 for the Aleph Institute! Mozel Tov!!! ^^ Now, next year I hope to raise even MORE!

As for my FINAL contest, one lucky blogger won an entire day’s or Shabbat’s meals prepared by me for them & their family. This lucky winner is: Liesl Cluff! Now, to contact them via e-mail to set up a date for this day of nummy meals for them & their family! Also, it seems I’m in the Top 50 over at JBlog Central! Wow, this has just been a week of amazement! In other news, for Mother’s Day the wife & I gave my mother a Cypress tree for her yard, so it can grow up well and always remind her of the love I feel for her. Well, we just got a picture of it, and its doing VERY well!

So, I admit to liking the anime & manga Yakitate!! Japan. I mean, it’s anime AND cooking in one! Of course I love it. Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I live in Southern California right now… This is both good and bad. Bad because its HOT!!! But good because I learn so many ethnic dishes! The one I learned the most is Carne Asada! This dish in Mexico is like barbecue in America: Every area has their own styles. Now, several articles have been written by those much more talented than I on USING Carne Asada, but what I want to look at is MAKING Carne Asada from scratch. True, gentile readers can buy it in the store, but what of those of us who must get kosher meat? We need a way to enjoy this truly authentic Mexican culinary delight!

First we need about 2 pounds of good flank steak. You want to get rather fatty steak, as it will hold flavors during the marinade and cooking, and keep the meat MOIST! Remember, fat CAN be trimmed off after cooking, and with Carne Asada it’s best. Talk with your butcher and you can likely get JUST the right cut of beef.

Now, next we need a GOOD acidic marinade. I like to start with a 1/2 cup each of lime and lemon juice and a 1/4 cup orange juice. The acid in the citrus fruits will dig deep into the meat, helping the steak to retain the rest of the marinade while adding in their own unique flavor. If you want AND its in season, you can substitute pomegranate juice for orange juice for a rather unique taste. As long as its an acidic fruit, you can use your best judgment here. But the lime and lemon juice is IMPERATIVE to the marinade!

Now, a good Carne Asada needs some other ingredients in its marinade. Next we add 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced up REALLY good! Then we need about 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ground directly into the marinade. Now, I just give my grinder a few twists to get about a teaspoon, myself. The pepper’s just there to help balance, and need not be exact. To this, we also want to add a dash to a teaspoon your favorite hot sauce. There are a lot of kosher hot sauces out there, so I’m sure you can find your favorite!

Now we come to the final marinade ingredient: Tequila. Now, to my understanding, any kind is theoretically kosher as long as there is no worm in the bottle. Now, the OU recommends ONLY clear (Also known as Silver) tequila, as its 100% agave juice -or- a mixture of agave juice and sugar cane. Some brands that they even certify is Don Bernardo G, Sol Dios Anejo, and Sol Dios Platinum & Blanco. No word on the blue tequila, though. I’ll have to keep looking into that. But, the final ingredient in this marinade is about 1/2 cup clear tequila. Don’t worry, folks, the alcohol WILL cook away. (And all the husbands and boyfriends curse loudly at this.)

Now, taking your marinate, stir it up really well in a large sealable container before COMPLETELY submerging the steak(s) into it. If you don’t have a big enough one, a bowl with tightly-fitted plastic wrap will also work in a pinch. The key is to just let the meat soak for about 4-5 hours in your fridge, and get all tenderized and flavored by your marinade. Trust me, the wait is worth it.

Next we fire up the ol’ grill. If you don’t HAVE a grill, even an indoor electric grill (I feel your pain), then you can use a cast iron skillet or griddle. But taking the steak(s) out of the marinade, put them on the grill to start cooking. DO NOT THROW OUT THE MARINADE! You’ll see why in a minute.

Now, we want to cook the steak to about medium well to well done, just to make sure there is no possible blood left in the meat. Kashrut law, folks! As this is the case, THIS is why I leave my fat ON the beef during cooking! It helps keep the meat juicy and tender, and let’s face it! It just tastes GOOD!!! Anyhoo, we’re cooking the steak(s) for about 9-10 minutes on one side before flipping. Right before flipping, take the remaining marinade and brush some all over the steak, flip it, then brush on the other side. This is just to give it some added taste, and to help even more in keeping it moist. Cook on this side for another 9-10 minutes, then check with a barbecue fork. If you pierce it and clear fluids come out, your steak is ready. If red juices, just keep flipping every 2 minutes and re-testing so neither side gets burned until done.

Taking your steaks off the grill, set them on a plate and let them REST for about 10 minutes. Resting is VERY important to beef! It helps lock in all the flavors, and makes the cutting MUCH easier! Now, as the beef rests, use a small skillet and take 1 small onion, diced up roughly; 1 green pepper, diced; and finally 1 small hot red pepper, diced and toss them into the griddle. If you want, you can leave out the hot pepper, but what’s the fun in life without a bi of a KICK! Anyhow, pan-fry these in the skillet with a little bit of olive oil. If you are feeling brave, this is a time to use my fire oil instead to REALLY add some spice! ^^ Now, I want you to just lightly saute the peppers and onion, just until the onions reach a nice golden color and start to curl & brown at the edges. The browning is carmelization, and is a GOOD thing in small doses! Once the onions and peppers reach this state, remove them from the heat.

Taking your rested steaks, you can trim the fat off, if you wish. I leave it on, just for the nummy taste, but if you want to trim… Do it NOW, and not before. It’s done its job in keeping your meat tender and juicy. From here, we want to trim the beef into thin strips, about 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick or so. Just use your best judgment, okay? Taking your strips, mix them with your onions and peppers, and you have Carne Asada!!!

Now, there’s several ways to enjoy this! You can eat it plain with some beans and red rice, roll it up in a tortilla or taco shell and serve it topped with salsa, guacamole, and dairy-free sour cream (Soy sour cream isn’t recommended, but if you HAVE to have sour cream…). You could also serve the steak strips separate from the onions and peppers, and have the guacamole, dairy-free sour cream, & salsa along with warmed tortillas to serve it as fajitas! No matter how you serve it, this is an excellent main course that brings a festive feeling to ANY dinner table! Anyhow, I hope you all enjoyed this article. I am experimenting with a new style of writing cooking articles, as you can see, with all the ingredients in bold. Tell me what you think? Anyhow, Shalom and Good Cooking!

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August 6, 2006. Blogathon 2006, main courses, recipes.

9 Comments

  1. Anonymous replied:

    This has nothing to do with Carne Asada, but it does (sort of) have to do with BBQ.

    Here at home, as a quick, tasty veggie dish on the BBQ, we like to toss some potatoes, carrots and onions in an aluminum packet on the BBQ, and when it’s done, add in some Cheez Whiz to melt and leave delicious flavour.

    Now, I can’t do this on nights when we’re grilling up a steak, or burgers, or even “Carne Asada” if I decide to try, given the obvious non-kosher-ness of it mixed with meat.

    So… have you managed to find a suitable non-dairy substitute for Cheez Whiz? Bonus points if it’s available in Canada!

  2. Utopia replied:

    I also like anime and manga. I really liked yakitate! as well. It was really silly, yet somehow addictive.

    That is an interesting recipe for Carne Asada. Most Carne Asada I’ve had was marinated in a lovely red chili made from a mixture of dried ground red chilies and fresh red and green chili. Very tasty. The fruity marinade is similar to a marinade used in many Cuban dishes.

  3. Renegade Kosher replied:

    Well, the problem with that is that Cheez Whiz, to my knowlege, is NOT kosher. But, as a substitute, I’d suggest shredding some kosher chedder over the veggies, and the heat from the coals will melt it nice and thick. In a pot, I usually use about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of milk, bring it to a simmer, and then add handfuls of shredded cheese while stirring to melt & thicken into a rich sauce. Then pour the cheese over steamed vegetables for a delicious side during a Dairy meal…

  4. Trisha replied:

    carne asada done kosher??? I really do need to read through here more…what you thought you were done with me??

  5. Anonymous replied:

    Aww but I need a non-dairy substitute for the darn stuff… I should campaign Yves Veggie to make some!

  6. Anonymous replied:

    On which note, what exactly makes Cheez Whiz not kosher? I just went to my fridge and checcked the ingredients, and there’s certainly nothing that strikes me as being a problem. No lard, no meat flavouring… mostly just cheese processign stuffs, preservatives, and interesting, ground mustard.

  7. Renegade Kosher replied:

    Well, I’d think it’d do with some of the chemicals they use, or mabye not asking a Rabbi to oversee its making. I’ve never seen it Kosher, but I suggest mabye asking a trained Mashgichim for futher clarification.

  8. crazyredheadedchick replied:

    Just wanted to show some love. I see you’re recovering nicely from Blogathon! And YAY you for being nominated!–>

  9. Maria Gatti replied:

    A friend of mine, Lesley Lutsky, does the “Jewish Digest” show on a local community radio station, and has done interviews about the Jewish community in Mexico.

    Obviously not as big as the huge Jewish community in Argentina, but with a long history.

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