Dinner Tonight: Chipotle Beef Tacos

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

After Nick praised Rick Bayless so thoroughly yesterday as the most reliable authority on Mexican cuisine, I hungrily went straight to my copy of Mexican Everyday in search of a recipe for dinner. It is his most accessible book, full of straightforward recipes that don't require too-unusual ingredients.

That's definitely the case with this lovely recipe, which calls for a can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce to be blended into a marinade for skirt steak (nothing else needs to be added). After brushing this on the steak, the steak is seared in a pan and served with caramelized onions, then doused in a quick salsa of blended charred tomatillos, garlic, and a couple of chipotle chiles. The acidity of the tomatillos lends the salsa a clean, bright flavor, while the smoky charred flavors mingle with the chipotle. Wrapped up in a warm tortilla, it's hard to beat a combination like this.

My only addition was a little chopped onion and cilantro, because I love a little crunch in my tacos.

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Dinner Tonight: Chipotle Beef Tacos

About This Recipe

Yield:4
This recipe appears in: What to Eat and Drink on Cinco de Mayo

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 7-ounce can chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 1 pound skirt or flank steak
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 medium onion, white or red, chopped
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • small handful cilantro, chopped

Procedures

  1. 1

    Halve the tomatillos and place in a dry non-stick skillet, cut side down, with the garlic cloves. Char over medium-high heat, turning once to cook the other side of the tomatillos, 5 to 7 minutes total. Transfer to a blender or food processor and add 1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles, plus salt to taste. Blend thoroughly and check for seasoning, then transfer to a bowl.

  2. 2

    Add the remaining chipotles in adobo into the food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Paint the steak with the adobo marinade and allow to rest for a few minutes. You'll have more than half the marinade leftover; reserve for another use.

  3. 3

    In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy (preferable cast-iron) skillet and cook the onions until golden but still somewhat crunchy. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

  4. 4

    Increase the heat to high and add the remaining oil. Cook the steak to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for skirt steak, a little longer for flank. Remove to a cutting board and slice thinly across the meat's natural grain.

  5. 5

    Wrap the tortillas in a kitchen towel with a splash of water and microwave at 50 percent power for 4 minutes to steam them warm. Serve the steak with the onions, salsa, and chopped raw onion with cilantro.

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