On Taco Tuesdays we are going to be featuring varieties of tacos and authentic Mexican foods, using locally grown ingredients/produce when possible. Today we are featuring Carne Asada, a tender, grilled meat is full of authentic flavors.
What makes Carne Asada special is the marinade. Typically skirt or flank steak is used, marinated and grilled outdoors or you can use an indoor grill. You can put Carne Asada in tacos, burritos or other Mexican recipes, including a few I’m including here.
Many local meat markets (as always we encourage you to shop local – Franks Meat Market, Double J’s, Sonoras, El Rodeo, Bay’s and Gagliano’s below) carry skirt, sirloin or flank steak. You can marinate the steak in a plastic bag or a glass bowl/cooking pan, covered.
CARNE ASADA – Ingredients: 2-3 limes juiced4 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 to 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro1/4 cup olive oil2 tablespoons white vinegar2 pounds of flank steak 1 tsp cumin powder1/2 tsp chili powderSalt and pepper to taste1 jalapeno minced (optional)
In a gallon size ziplock bag, combine olive oil, freshly squeezed lime juice, freshly minced garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper, jalapeno, and vinegar. Seal bag, squeeze and mix it up. Add the steak and mix to coat. Or if you wish, use a glass bowl or baking dish and whisk the marinade before coating steak on both sides (use a tong to flip over). Marinade for at least two hours, or overnight.
Carne Asada is best on an outdoor grill but you can also cook it inside on an indoor grill on your stove top. Heat an outdoor grill to high heat and cook it on the outdoor grill for 7 to 10 minutes per side. Cook indoors about 5-7 minutes on each side for medium rare, but you can cook longer to your liking. Once done, remove from heat and let rest 5-10 minutes before you slice into it on a cutting board. Slice in narrow slices against the grain. Makes 4-6 servings.
CARNE ASADA FRIES – Carne Asada Fries are a cross between cheesy fries and nachos. But this version is healthier because they use homemade oven baked fries that are golden and crispy with paprika, garlic and healthier cheese. You can substitute frozen sweet potato fries or make your own.
They are served at a number of locally owned Pueblo restaurants but you can easily make them at home with oven baked fries, grilled carne asada and some fresh ingredients. These fries are great for parties and game days, or when you are craving a tasty appetizer. If you have kids, they love them.
Ingredients: 1/2 recipe carne asada, 4 russet potatoes, 2 tbsp avocado or olive oil, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper, 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated (for more authentic fries use white rather than orange) 3 tbsp guacamole.
Marinate the meat ahead of time, or you can grill it while your baking the fries. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. Cut the meat into small bite sized pieces. Slice each russet potato in half, then half again. Slice each quarter into strips, then slice the strips into equally sized fries.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and add the fries. You may need two baking trays to keep the fries on a single layer. Add the avocado or olive oil and spices and toss to coat.
Bake the fries for 25-30 minutes and use a spatula to flip the fries halfway through. To serve, place the fries on a plate, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and add the carne asada. Top with a dollop of guacamole and sour cream side by side. You can also add Pico De Gallo on top.
PICO DE GALLO – 2 Roma tomatoes, diced1/4 cup diced red onion2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves1 lime, juiced1 Serrano chile, minced (optional)3 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
Combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro and lime juice in a medium bowl. You can add a serrano chile and garlic to spice it up. Put Pico De Gallo on top of all. To pretty up the plate, garnish with a cut lime and fresh cilantro to the side. Serves 4-6.
CARNE ASADA STREET STYLE TACOS – Carne asada is the main ingredient in these street style tacos that you can make at home using any type of tortilla you wish (or make your own. Slather each tortilla with some avocado by slicing an avocado in half and using a spoon to mash it up inside the skin to spread easily. Add a good helping of chopped Carne asada on top of the avocados. Then add crumbled queso fresco cheese, chopped onion and fresh cilantro. Don’t forget to squeeze some fresh lime on top before enjoying your tacos.
EASY HOMEMADE GUACAMOLE – 3 avocados (ripe)1/2 small onion, finely diced2 Roma tomatoes, diced3 tbsp, fresh cilantro, chopped1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and finely diced2 garlic cloves, minced1 lime, juiced1/2 tsp sea salt. Slice the avocados in half, removed the pit and skin and place flesh in a glass mixing bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork and make it as chunky or smooth as you’d like. Add the juice of one fresh lime and mash together with a serving sized fork. Dice onions and pepper. Mince garlic. Chop fresh cilantro. Remove seeds from roma tomatoes and dice (simply, you can use your finger to scrape them out). Add and stir together. To store, place in a glass storage container, pat down with a spoon, put a little water on top and keep in fridge. Pour water off and serve.
LOW CARB CARNE ASADA – Carne asada is traditionally served with a side of rice and beans. If you are on a keto or low carb diet, skip the potatoes and tortillas and grill fresh vegetables to serve on the side of the steak, such as onions, peppers, and jalapenos for a super simple grilled carne asada fajitas recipe you will love. Or serve it as a salad with a large, ripe avocado, ¼ large red onion, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp cider vinegar and a touch of salt and pepper. Or as a wrap, grilling 1/2 cup red onion chopped, 3 garlic cloves chopped, 1/2 medium green pepper sliced into thin pieces, 1/2 medium red pepper sliced into thin pieces, 1/4 medium orange pepper sliced into thin pieces, 1/4 medium yellow pepper sliced into thin pieces, with a side of Sriracha, on top of romaine lettuce to wrap it.
LOCAL MEXICAN MARKETS AND GROCERIES:
Sonora’s Meat Market and Restaurant – where you can purchase meats, cheese and other Mexican food and try their small restaurant – 1334 E 21st St and 1327 S. Prairie Avenue
El Rodeo Meat Market – On the southside, try this market for meats, cheeses and more – 2905, 1200 E Evans Ave
Story by Jenny Paulson / If you enjoy reading stories like this and want to learn about cooking, gardening here in Pueblo, local restaurants and specials – join our group Pueblo Eats and Entertains!