If you find yourself craving tacos at some time – like in a major way – and don’t feel like picking up the usual quickie packet you can find on most any supermarket shelf, you might like to give this recipe a try. It comes from my time living in San Miguel de Allende, where I spent a year living in self-imposed exile from all things except tequila, tango and tacos. This particular dish comes from an old family recipe passed down for generations, or so I was told, and hails from the Bajio district of Central Mexico, north of Mexico City. The great grandmother whose original recipe this is came from Dolores Hidalgo. Give it a try next time you feel like something exotic and foreign. The marinade is perfect for these tacos, but would be great for just grilling the steaks as well.
Alongside of the steak tacos I also served regular ground beef tacos with a simple seasoning mix, some guacamole, and the corn tortillas.
3 pounds flank steak or chicken thighs (as preferred)
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 teaspoon paprika
1 white onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)
1 lime, juiced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 white onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 dried chile pods
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
1 (32 ounce) package corn tortillas
2 cups grated cotija cheese (optional)
2 limes, cut into wedges
- Lay the flank steak or chicken 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.