Tacos de Carne Ranchero con Papas Fritas… Steak Ranchero Tacos with Fried Potatoes.
Well, here I go again with another Tex-Mex recipe. I never knew just how often I go to Tex-Mex until I started a food blog. Mexican cuisine is just so versatile that it’s hard to resist.
Growing up in Texas meant that I was surrounded by Tex-Mex. It was only natural that I gravitated to Tex-Mex when I started cooking. Now that I live in Mississippi, I suppose I could refer to my Mexican dishes as Miss-Mex, but it just doesn’t sound as cool as Tex-Mex.
When I cook Mexican food I don’t aim to achieve “authenticity” in a recipe. I have to laugh when I see Mexican restaurants that claim to serve “authentic Mexican food”. I’m sure that those restaurants mean well but, if you want authentic Mexican cuisine, go to Mexico.
Consider everything that goes into a meal…the vegetables, the fruit, the meats, the spices. They are a product of the sunlight, rain and soil of the region that they come from. Anyone who has moved from one place to another usually recognizes a difference in the taste of the local water. Every aspect of our natural world is unique to specific regions and even though those differences may seem subtle, they play a major part in authenticity.
The point is, it doesn’t matter what you call it. It just needs to be good. Learn cooking methods from other cultures and apply them to what you want to make.
This recipe was intended for two to four people.
1 ½ lbs top round beef roast
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs red chili powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp chili piquin powder (or cayenne)
3 green onions, separate white from green parts
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 ripe tomatoes
¼ cup prepared picante sauce
1 medium yellow onion (chop half and slice the other half)
12 corn tortillas
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 cup shredded lettuce
1/2 cup cotija cheese
12 corn tortillas
2 russet potatoes (or 1 very large potato)
1 cup prepared guacamole
On a clean cutting board, cut the beef into ½” steaks.
Remove the tough connective tissue. Look at the white strips and feel them with your fingers. If they feel tough, cut them out.
Combine the garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and chili piquin in a small bowl.
Sprinkle the spices over each side of the steaks. Set aside.
Wash and scrub the potatoes. Dice potatoes into ½” pieces.
Heat a skillet to medium/low and add about ¼ cup of vegetable oil. Add the potatoes and fry until golden brown and crispy.
Strain the potatoes and keep them warm until ready to serve. I usually keep them in a bowl on top of the stove, with the oven set to 250°.
Chop the other vegetables and slice the lime into quarters. Set aside.
Prepare the ranchero sauce:
Heat a skillet to medium and add 1 tsp cooking oil. Add garlic and chopped white parts of the green onions and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add about half of the chopped tomatoes, half of the chopped yellow onion and the picante sauce. Simmer for several minutes until the vegetables are fully cooked and soft. Remove the sauce and keep warm.
Prepare the tortillas
Heat a skillet to medium. Add ¼ cup of cooking oil. When oil is hot, prepare the tortillas by cooking on each side until the tortillas are firm, but not crisp.
Store the tortillas in a warm place. The stove top works for me.
Heat a skillet to high heat. Add 1 Tbs cooking oil. Once the oil is hot, add the steaks to the skillet. Leave the steaks alone…don’t mess with them. Once you see a char developing on the bottom of the steaks, turn them over and cook for another minute, or so. Total cook time should be about 2 or 2 ½ minutes. Don’t overcook them!
Remove the steaks to a clean cutting board.
Slice into ½” strips.
Heat a skillet to low/medium heat and add the steak and ranchero sauce. Cook for a minute, just to warm everything.
Prepare the tacos
I like to use two tortillas per taco.
Add strips of steak to each taco.
Add chopped lettuce, cilantro, diced tomato, sliced yellow onion and chopped green onion. Squirt some lime juice onto the tacos.
Top with guacamole and cotija cheese.
Serve with fried potatoes.