(Picture courtesy of jumbledpile at flickr.com.)
Cinco de Mayo is a holiday in neighboring Mexico, celebrating freedom from European rule. Celebrating the event with a basic dish is great practice, especially since it’s all healthy.
We think of tacos as probably our best known food derived from Mexican cuisine, and most of us have it as a tortilla with a filling made from meat, usually beef. I love several varieties of taco filling, including fish. Topping the taco with shredded lettuce, chopped onions and tomatoes, and grated cheese is our usual practice, and pouring hot sauce over it makes this our national celebration of Mexican food.
Here’s a recipe that assures us it’s delicious, hope it’s as good as claimed. I prefer a crispy corn tortilla base, myself.
- 3 pounds flank steak
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
- 1 white onion, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 dried New Mexico chile pods
- 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
- 1 (32 ounce) package corn tortillas
- 2 cups grated cotija cheese(optional)
- Lay the flank steak in a large glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, 4 cloves of garlic, juice of two limes, and olive oil. Season with salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, cumin and paprika. Whisk until well blended, then pour over the steak in the dish. Turn over once to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for 1 to 8 hours.
- In a small bowl, stir together 1 chopped white onion, cilantro, and the juice of 1 lime. Set aside to use as a relish for the tacos.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Toast chile pods in the skillet for a few minutes, then remove to a bowl of water to soak for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
- Place the tomatoes, 1 onion, jalapenos, and 4 cloves of garlic onto a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until toasted but not burnt. Place the roasted vegetables, and soaked chile pods into a blender or food processor, along with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the marinated flank steak into cubes or strips. Cook, stirring constantly, until the meat is cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Warm the tortillas in a skillet for about a minute on each side to make them pliable. Tortillas may also be warmed in a microwave oven. Arrange two or three tortillas on a plate, and lay a generous amount of beef over them. Top with a sprinkle of the onion relish and a large spoonful of the pureed salsa. Add as much cheese as you like. Garnish with lime wedges, and serve.
However you celebrate, be sure you have the healthiest snack I know, the taco.