I would like to apologize for my unhealthy obsession with tacos. Here was yet another interesting twist with a Picadillo-type steak filling topped with feta cheese, fresh cilantro and lime. It is quite a fusion. Picadillo is traditional to various countries and cultures. It is has of often beef with various chopped veggies with a tomato base. This combination seems to be sort of a Cuban version with peppers, tomatoes, green olives, raisins spiced with allspice and cumin.
The recipe calls for skirt steak, but you really can use any marbled cut that you like. One of the wonderful butchers at Whole Foods recommended that I try what is called "beef sirloin flap meat". It is a more affordable cut of meat but still had plenty of fat to keep it from drying out while grilling it. It was about $10.99/lb rather than the $16.99-$18.99/lb new york strip steak or skirt steak. As I was talking with him and he was trying to find something else that could work rather than the traditional steaks, he actually said, "I can tell you aren't afraid of fat". My first reaction was true pride. And then I thought, "wait a minute..." Jk. I didn't really think that. But it a funny thing to just come out and say. That is why I love butchers. Especially the ones at my Boulder store.
And btw, the beef sirloin flap meat is amazing. It isn't as fancy of a cut. So, if you are serving it to guests or simply having a steak and potatoes meal, it isn't super pretty. But chopped up in tacos, it is perfect. He mentioned it has a buttery flavor and I have to agree. A deliciously tender cut of meat.
If you are wondering how these Cuban flavors with the feta and lime and cilantro all go together? I wondered the same thing. And it totally works.
Steak Picadillo Soft Tacos
adapted from bon appétit, April 2011
1 tablespoons of canola oil
1 12 ounce strip of skirt steak or beef sirloin flap meat
1/2 cup 1/4 inch squares green bell pepper
3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes with green chiles
1/3 cup halved drained pimento-stuffed green olives
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
8 corn tortillas
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper. Add to skillet; cook 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to plate and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Add bell peppers to skillet. Sauté 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with green chiles, olives, raisins, tomato paste, cumin and allspice. Simmer until sauce is thick, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cut steak in thin slices diagonal across the grain. Cut slices into smaller pieces or leave whole. Add steak and any juices to sauce in skillet; toss to blend.
Char tortillas over gas flame or in broiler until blackened in spots, 15 to 20 seconds per side. Divide filling among tortillas. Sprinkle with cilantro and feta and serve.
(Servings: 3-4, Cook time: 35 min., Difficulty: Easy)
Shanon (taste): 8/10
Scot (taste): 8/10
Dishwashing Effort: 2/5