Ancho and Cocoa Carne Asada

Ancho & Cocoa Carne Asada

I saw this unusual recipe in the March 2009 Gourmet Magazine. The combination of the ancho chili powder, cocoa and cinnamon intrigued me.  The surprising thing is that these flavors are really nice and don't overpower the meat at all. This recipe is a very quick and tasty and unusual weeknite dinner!

  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 (1-to 1 1/4-pounds) piece of flank steak
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 (7-to 8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 package of red cabbage (7 ounces)

* Accompaniments: sliced pickled jalapeños; sour cream; lime wedges

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together ancho powder, cocoa, and cinnamon.

Pat steak dry and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt, then coat with spice mixture. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then cook steak, turning once, 8 to 9 minutes for medium-rare.

While steak cooks, wrap tortillas in foil and warm in oven.

Let steak rest 5 minutes on a cutting board, then thinly slice across the grain at an angle.

Serve steak with warm tortillas and coleslaw mix.

Coleslaw (made this up myself but inspired by a Bobby Flay episode I saw recently):

  • 1 package of red cabbage
  • 4-6 TBSP rice wine vinegar
  • splash of orange juice
  • some honey
  • salt
  • cilantro

Chinese Oxtail Stew

Oxtail stew over rice

Wow! This is really good!  We loved it a lot.  Make you cook it long enough and marinate overnite. This makes the oxtails fall apart. If they don't fall apart, keep cooking longer until they do.

Adapted from Sunday Nite Dinner.

Prep and cook time: 5 hours, plus overnight marinating

Ingredients:

  • 5 to 6 pounds oxtails, cut into pieces, fat trimmed 
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper 
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • ½ cup Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry 
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef or chicken stock 
  • 1/3 cup dark or regular soy sauce 
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 2 star anise, broken into pieces 
  • 2 whole cloves 
  • 4 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and bruised 
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths, plus 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish 
  • 6 slices fresh ginger 
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled 
  • 3-4 Thai chili peppers, cut into 1/2-inch lengths 
  • 10 ounces fresh or dried whole shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, re-hydrated if dried 
  • 1 lime, zested and cut into small wedges 
  • Cooked jasmine rice, for serving.

Directions:  1) Heat oven to 300 degrees. Season oxtails with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, brown oxtail all over, removing each piece when done. Add oil as needed.

2) When done browning, pour off extra fat from bottom of empty pot and set pot over high heat. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. In a bowl, mix soy sauce and sugar with 2 cups stock and pour into pot. Add lemongrass, chili peppers, star anise, cloves, 2-inch pieces of scallions, ginger and garlic and bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Return oxtails to pot and add lime zest. Cover and transfer to oven. Cook 1½ hours.

3) Turn over pieces of oxtail, cover again and cook 1½ hours more, or until oxtail is very tender. Remove oxtails from pot and strain sauce into a separate saucepan; discard contents of strainer. Transfer oxtail pieces back to ovenproof pot. Cover oxtails and sauce and refrigerate overnight.

4) The next day, heat oven to 300 degrees; remove oxtails and sauce from refrigerator. Lift off any fat on surface of sauce and discard. Gently warm sauce until liquid, then pour over oxtails and stir in shiitake mushrooms. Cover with foil or a lid and bake 30 minutes.

5) Uncover, stir and raise oven temperature to 400 degrees. Cook, uncovered, 15 minutes. Stir again and cook another 15 minutes, until hot and glazed thickly with sauce. Remove oxtails from oven and serve over rice. Sprinkle each serving with thin scallion slices and squeeze lime juice over oxtails.

Makes 4 servings