Dinner Tonight: Chipotle Beef Tacos

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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.

  • Yield:4

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

Directions

  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.