Mexican Steak and Green Poblano Rice

Posted By Kerri

For a while now we have been cooking Mexican food on and off. We started with the usual fajitas, tacos, chill con carne, guacamole, etc, using recipes that friends had recommended or that we had found somewhere on the world wide internets. While some of these turned out really well, we eventually felt that we should explore more real Mexican cooking rather than sticking with these few “stereotypes” of Mexican food.

So we bought Rick Bayless’s “Mexican Kitchen” (which I am sure we have mentioned before) and cooked a number of dishes out of it. One of the biggest discoveries has been dried chillis of various varieties, particularly guajillo, pasilla and ancho. These need to be soaked before using (sometimes toasted before being soaked too) and when they are soaking give off a lovely fruity, tangy, sometimes smoky aroma that makes its way into the finished dish too.

We haven’t had steak for ages, and really fancied the idea of it this Friday. We thought we would check quicky to see if by some chance there was a Mexican steak recipe in the Mexican Kitchen and lo and behold there was. It had to be done. This required a bit of advance preparation – there was sauce to be made ahead of time so that some of it could be used as a marinade. We did this on Thursday night in order to have it ready for Friday. We managed to cook the steaks just right and the marinade and sauce were brilliant, really worth the effort. The recipe is really for barbecued steaks so we definitely need to remember this recipe for when summer comes around.

We served it with “green rice” which again turned out really well – a nuttiness from frying the rice, a bit of depth from onion and chilli and a lot of herby flavour from coriander.

Grilled Steak with Spicy Guajillo Sauce (the original recipe was for 6, have tried to take it down to 2 portions here):

2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
5 dried guajillo chillies, stemmed and seeded
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferable Mexican (we didn’t have either, so used Marjoram)
pinch freshly ground black pepper
pinch ground cumin
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 steaks (we had sirloin, which the recipe suggested)
few sprigs coriander for garnish

Roast the unpeeled garlic on a skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until it is soft and blacked in bits (about 15 minutes). Let them cool and peel them. While this is happening, open up the chillis and toast them in the same (or another) skillet, pressing them down firmly with a spatula until they crackle, even send up a wisp of smoke, then flip them over and do the same on the other side. When done, put the chillis into a bowl and cover them with hot water, letting them soak for 30 minutes, stirring now and then to ensure even soaking. Drain them and discard the water.

Put the oregano, pepper, cumin, garlic and chillies into a food processor or blender with about 1/4 cup of the stock. Blend to a puree, adding a little more stock if needed. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl (we didn’t do that bit actually, missed it). Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy saucepan over medium high. When the oil is hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle sharply, add the puree and stir constantly until it reduces to a thick paste, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the rest of the stock, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes. If necessary, stir in a little more stock to bring the sauce to a medium, saucy consistency. Tate and season with salt if needed (probably not needed due to the stock) and sugar.

Mix 1/8 cup of the sauce with the cider vinegar and pour into a dish large enough to accomodate both steaks. Coat the steaks well in the marinade and leave in the fridge for up to 4 hours. At this point the recipe tells you to get your fire going to barbecue the steaks, which we didn’t do because we were just griddling them. We did make our green rice though. Then barbecue / griddle your steaks and serve with heated sauce poured over them. The recipe also says to barbecue some red onion slices and serve them with the steaks, but we didn’t do that. Garnish with coriander (didn’t do that either…)

Green Poblano Rice (original recipe serves 4, we halved it here)

1 cup chicken stock
1 fresh poblano chilli, stemmed and seeded and roughly chopped (we just used a generic supermarket chilli here actually)
12 sprigs coriander (this is the whole amount of coriander rather than half, felt like it needed a lot)
1/4 teaspoon salt if using salted stock, or 1/2 teaspoon if unsalted stock
1/2 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1/2 cup rice preferably medium grain (we actually used basmati here)
1/2 small white onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan, then add the chopped chilli and let it simmer gently for about 10 minutes until the chilli is very soft. Pour this into a food processor, add the coriander (stems and all) and process to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl and add the salt (we didn’t do this strainer-pressing again…)

Clean the saucepan, add the oil and heat over medium heat. Add the rice and onion and cook, stirring regularly, until the rice is chalky looking and the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook a minute longer. Stir in the warm chilli liquid, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes until the rice is done. If the rice is almost done, leave the cover on the saucepan and turn off the heat and leave for 5 to 10 minutes longer to complete the cooking.

Jan 31st, 2010

13 Comments to 'Mexican Steak and Green Poblano Rice'

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  1. Baby Bro said,

    Next time you do this dish!!!! can you lay an extra place for me, and my cerveza please!

  2. Stephen said,

    Definitely! Remind us in the summer and we can do it on the barbecue…

  3. Lizzie said,

    This looks delicious. Where do you get the dried chillis from?
    .-= Lizzie´s last blog ..Terroirs Wine Bar =-.

  4. Stephen said,

    Thanks Lizzie. We got the chillies from Cool Chile who have a stall at Borough Market and also a shop / taqueria on Westbourne Grove

  5. Samuel B said,

    Hi, this looks great! Just stumbled across you re blog searching for Duck Breast recipes… I also live in SW London, Battersea and am a keen food photog! Will look forward to seeing/eating your future dishes!


  6. This rice is certainly different from what I’m used to. the entire meal looks lovely

  7. Mexican style steak – can’t say I have ever come across it before (even in Mexico!) but it looks delicious.

  8. Stephen said,

    Gourmet Chick, yes we were pleasantly surprised to find it in the cookbook! He probably mentions a particular town or region that it’s popular in, will have a look when I get home. And we’ll definitely do it again in the summer as a barbecue I think.

  9. Tommi Miers said,

    That looks amazing! Yes, Rick has some great recipes and his instructions are really easy to follow. Have you tried Zarela Martinez’s book on Veracruz though? Outrageously good recipes in it, including a chipotle, ancho and guajillo marinade that I used on octopus the other day…was so so delicious…you must get the book at once!

    tommi xxx

  10. Stephen said,

    Thanks Tommi! We actually bought the Rick Bayless book on your recommendation on Twitter a few months ago and have found it really good so far. We are getting to the point where it would be good to have another angle on Mexican cooking too, so will certainly track down the Zarela Martinez book.

    In fact we’ve been meaning to cook octopus for a while now after having a brilliant Spanish version at a friend’s place just after Christmas and this sounds like a very good excuse to get the book and try that recipe.

  11. Tommi Miers said,

    Yes, you must, its really yummy and also so easy to cook in advance. Just add a bit of vinegar to the recipe at the end to sharpen up the flavours. We are in Oaxaca with 12 of our chefs and managers being incredibly inspired by the incredible ingredients, the amazing chefs and the love of biodiversity and cooking found at such a broad level….we are all going to come back roly-poly!!!

  12. Stephen said,

    Tommi it sounds like you are having a brilliant time there, enjoy it! We will look out and see if we can find anything new and inspired by the visit on the menu in the near future.

  13. I agree – the biggest surprise when I bwent to Mexico and got my friend Iliana to teach me more abotu mexican cooking was that there is a range of different chiles and they are all used for differet dishes. My absolute favourite remains smoky chihpotles and poblanos (although I’m sure I’ve used guajillos for tinga de pollo too). The chile aisle in Mexican supermarkets is ASTONISHING – like our crip aisles in the UK but filled with every kind of dried chile in the world! Sad that the Mexgrocer UK site seems to have died a death – they were a great source of authentic mexican products too.
    .-= Jeanne @ Cooksister!´s last blog ..Cobblestone Bakery, Port Elizabeth =-.

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