Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hmmm...this doesn't act like a sour orange

On a trip to Cancun last week we scouted out some beef at Sam's Club. I am not a great lover of beef, especially in Mexico, but Miguel really likes it so I buy it when I can; otherwise he threatens to start clucking because of all the chicken I've been feeding him.

Sam's doesn't have any of the cuts I like to cook, and I didn't feel like buying two huge hunks of meat (club-sized packaging). So I bought a package of thinly sliced beef, like skinny steaks. (I'm sure there's a name but I can't think of it at the moment, per my earlier post about memory issues).

I often make chicken adobo at home. I tried to add a link here so you could see what I'm talking about, but none of the links use the same ingredients I use, so either my recipe is one I made up, or I didn't google long enough.

Anyway, one of the basic ingredients is the adobo paste that I buy at the mercado. When asked how much I want, I cup my hand and tell them 'enough for one chicken'. That gets me a blob about the size that fits into a closed fist, plopped into a plastic bag. Along with the adobo I buy an onion, and two sour oranges (the juice is used to mix with the other marinade ingredients). Add cumin, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper, and that is Sue's adobo recipe.

I was thinking that the beef I'd bought in Cancun would taste good if I used the same adobo marinade and we cooked it on the BBQ. So I bought the ingredients for the adobo at the local mercado. I prepared the meat and started to put together the marinade, but then I encountered a problem.

When I cut into the oranges, they were the color of sweet oranges, not sour. I went ahead and squeezed them by hand with my little plastic squeezer. A lot of pulp came out, and that does not happen with sour oranges. I tasted - yup, I'd bought sweet oranges. Darn! The mercado was closed by now so I decided to go ahead and make the adobo marinade with the sweet orange juice. Maybe it would taste oriental? Like sweet and sour orange beef?

The beef marinated overnight, and the next day it was a nice red color. Miguel started up the BBQ and we cooked some potatoes and peppers, and some sausages, and then put on the beef. Miguel has a tendency to turn beef into shoe leather, but this day he was on, and the beef was cooked perfectly.

It wasn't until we sat down to eat that I confessed to Miguel about using the wrong type of oranges. But we dug in, and it tasted ok. Miguel really liked it - maybe he was just really hungry?

The next day I slivered the beef and sauteed it along with multiple colors of peppers, an onion, some hot chili, and at the end I threw in a bunch of manchego cheese and made a gooey mess. We had barras (buns) so fresh from the store down the road that they were still warm, and I cut them open and slapped the goop inside.

You know what? Those were about the best sandwiches we've ever tasted!

(Mexico Cooks! - if you're reading this, please don't cringe). :-)


IslaZina said...

It's hard to mess up a marinade! I add vinegar when confounded by sweet oranges. That works really well, too. I think you may have had a skirt steak, falda de rez. Or a thin cut sirloin. All those cuts we can't identify can be tough!

Nancy said...

Both meals sound wonderful! I was wondering if I could get the adobo in bulk like you did instead of in those little packs, and you answered that question for me. I'm coming in February; do they sell it that way at the Super Express, or do I need to go to the neighborhood markets?

Sue said...

Zina - I will have to check the next time I'm at Sam's to see what is actually called.

Nancy - I'm not sure if you can buy it in Super Express and if so, if it would have the same taste. Miguel says some of the small tiendas might sell it in town - one around the corner from Captain Tony's house, on Juarez. You can ask for recado rojo if they don't understand adobo. Good luck!

Islagringo said...

I agree, it was probably skirt or flank steak. Sometimes they call it res milanesa. And you better marinade it somehow! You can spread hot mustard or hot paste on it, wrap it around a dill pickle and fry it in a pan for a nice German like meal too!

Scottozoid said...

I would take those little milanesa steaks and pound the heck out of them with the fat end of a beer bottle and then marinate them and your adobo sounds great...

I have seen several different recados in the big mercado in El Centro hmmm it might be fun to have a "Recodo Cookoff" someday and contrast and compare...

Remember my (in)famous "Magical Mexican Marinade" which is equal parts salsa, beer and bottled Italian dressing...

The "Magical Mexican Marinade" works equally great on beef, pork, chicken and seafood (especially shrimp) You can use whatever salsa beer or Italian dressing you like and be as simple or fancy as your mood strikes...

That time in Baja, we had alambres (shish kabobs in Baja) of beef with poblano peppers grilled on a open hearth and it was memorable

I got the "recipe" in Baja California years ago...when I asked "que tipo adrezado Italiano?" the waitperson answered "oh, tipo KRAFT" and that memory has always made me smile!