Weekly Winner: One Sensational Skirt Steak

skirt steakI dearly love skirt steak.  It is one of my all-time favorite cuts of steak.  I make a lot of skirt steak, not only for me and my husband, but also for my clients.  All around it’s a fan favorite.  I’ve made skirt steak numerous different ways — grilled, sautéed, broiled, and stir-fried.  It’s always good and the meat is always flavorful.  That’s what I like most about the cut.  It tastes like meat.  No matter how you season it, whether it has a marinade or a finishing sauce, the end product is juicy, steaky, meaty goodness.

Having said all that and sang all those praises to the glorious skirt steak, let it be said that I have never made a better skirt steak than I did this past Sunday.  This recipe surpassed all others. Truth be told, it was the relish that initially caught my eye.  I thought it sounded interesting and would make a nice addition to skirt steak which I knew would be fabulous.  The relish was delicious. It was really good.  But honestly, it was all about the steak – with or without the relish.

The recipe is Coffee and Ancho Chile Skirt Steak with Green Chile-Apple Relish and comes from Sunset Magazine.  I will definitely be making this again and I am anxious to try the rub on other cuts of steak as well.  There is something about the coffee, ancho and brown sugar mixture that totally amps up the beefiness without overpowering it.  It still tastes like steak … only better!

Coffee and Ancho Chile Skirt Steak with Green Chile-Apple Relish

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon finely ground coffee

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

2 tsp. kosher salt

1½ teaspoons packed light or dark brown sugar

1 skirt steak (1½ to 2 lbs.)

¼ pound mild green chiles, such as Anaheim or poblano, cut in half and seeded

½ tart apple, such as Granny Smith, quartered and cored

½ small onion, cut into thick slices

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Pepper

½ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves

½ teaspoon lime juice

Method:

1. Heat a grill to medium-high (350° to 450°). In a small bowl, combine coffee, chile powder, 2 tsp. salt, and the brown sugar. Rub all over steak and let sit. Rub green chiles, apple, and onion with oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Grill steak, turning once (dry rub on meat will be very dark), 8 to 10 minutes total for medium-rare. Meanwhile, grill chiles, apple, and onion until lightly charred all over, 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Transfer everything to a cutting board, tent steak with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop chiles, apple, and onion and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in oregano and lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Thinly slice steak against the grain and top with chile-apple relish.

Weekly Winner: Deconstructing and Dolling Up Dan Dan

I adore Dan Dan Noodles and I make a mighty fine version if I do say so myself.  (See: Dan Dan Noodles )But I’ve been making them quite a lot lately, both for myself and for others so I decided it was time to switch it up a bit.  Add to that fact that there has been one or two days when we could actually open up the grill and not freeze to death while using it and the choice for dinner was easy.

Asian chickenWe were going to try the deconstructed variation on the Dan Dan theme that I found in Cuisine at Home magazine: Grilled Asian Chicken. This is definitely a fancier take on the Dan Dan Noodles Recipe I have and would be much more “company friendly”.  It was easy, very tasty and a nice diversion.  But was it better?  No…. just different.  But sometimes different is good.

Grilled Asian Chicken with Peanut Noodles

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar, divided
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tsp peanut oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 oz dry spaghetti
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts

Instructions:

Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush grill grate with oil.

Combine 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp oil and ½ tsp salt in a bowl; toss with chicken. Grill chicken, covered, until cooked through, 5-6 minutes per side. Remove chicken from grill; tent with foil.

Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain and return to the pot. Meanwhile, heat broth, peanut butter, remaining 2 Tbsp brown sugar, vinegar, lime juice, remaining 1 Tbsp soy sauce, ginger, and chili garlic sauce in a saucepan over medium, whisking to combine; simmer 1-2 minutes. Off heat, season with salt, then pour sauce over pasta and toss to coat.

Top each chicken breast with pasta and Cucumber Sambal; garnish with peanuts.

Cucumber Sambal

Ingredients:

1 cup seeded and diced cucumber

½ cup thinly sliced scallions

¼ cup diced red bell pepper

3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon salt

Toss all ingredients in a bowl until combined. Chill until ready to serve.

Weekly Winner: Geographically Impaired Chicken

Panamanian chickenActually, truth be told it was not the chicken that was geographically impaired … it was the cook.  I had been going around thinking that on Saturday I was going to make Peruvian Garlic Chicken.  I told my husband that he was grilling Peruvian Garlic Chicken.  I wondered “what should I serve with the Peruvian Garlic Chicken?” I considered what wine would be best with Peruvian Garlic Chicken.  It wasn’t until said chicken had been quartered, marinated for half a day, and was being taken out to the grill that I actually re-read the recipe.  Apparently we weren’t traveling to Peru at all for dinner…. it was Panama!!  Panamanian Garlic Chicken or Pollo Al Ajillo to be exact.

Oh well, no worries.  It was garlicky.  It was citrusy.  It was luscious.  Panama….. Peru….. wherever.  It’s dang good chicken.  The recipe comes from Saveur Magazine and the grilled corn on the cob I decided to have with it went perfectly — regardless of country of origin.

PANAMANIAN GARLIC CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

1 (3-4-lb.) chicken, quartered
3 bay leaves
25 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 cup fresh orange juice
½ cup sherry vinegar
2 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. ground allspice

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place chicken and bay leaves in a bowl. Purée garlic, salt, and 2 tbsp. water in a food processor to a smooth paste. Add juice, vinegar, black pepper, Worcestershire, and allspice; purée until smooth. Rub mixture over chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

2. Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn burner off on one side. Remove chicken from marinade; grill on hottest part of grill, flipping once, until slightly charred and cooked through, 25-30 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reads 165°. If the outside starts to burn before the chicken is fully cooked, move to the cooler side of the grill until done.

Weekly Winner: Butterflied, Poked & Drunk!

I realize I have already posted a recipe for the best grilled chicken recipe ever.  And I know I said I would throw away all other recipes for any grilled chicken because there was no way they could compete.  Well, it’s not quite as good as the Best Ever Grilled Chicken, but it is very, very close.

This week’s Weekly Winner comes to us from Cook’s Country Magazine.  I swear if they had a recipe for sautéed cardboard, it would be good and I’d try it.  It’s Grilled Wine-and-Herb-Marinated Chicken, and regardless of what I claimed before … it’s a keeper!

Grilled Wine-and-Herb-Marinated Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 (4-pound) whole chicken, butterflied

Procedure:

  1. Process wine, lemon juice, oil, parsley, thyme, sugar, garlic and pepper in blender until emulsified, about 40 seconds.  Reserve 1/4 cup marinade.  Add salt to remaining mixture in blender and process to dissolve, about 20 seconds.
  2. Poke holes all over chicken with skewer.  Place chicken in large zippered storage bag, pour in salted marinade, seal bag, and turn to coat.  Set bag in baking dish, breast side down, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. For gas grill:  Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes.  Turn secondary burners to low and primary burner to medium. (Adjust primary burner as needed to maintain grill temperature between 350 and 375 degrees.)
  4. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels.  Discard used marinade.  Clean and oil cooking grate.  Place chicken skin side down over cooler part of grill with legs closest to hotter side. Cover and cook until chicken is well browned and thigh meat registers 160 degrees, 50 to 65 minutes.  Brush chicken with half of reserved marinade.  Flip chicken, move it to hot side of grill, and brush with remaining half of reserved marinade.  Cook, covered, until breasts register 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
  5. Transfer chicken to cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes.  Carve and serve.

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