Finding Carne Asada: a very short love story
I grew up about 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh, PA, and tacos came in 2 varieties, beef or chicken. The beef was browned ground beef with the packet seasoning (nothing wrong with that, still love it) and the chicken was shredded with the same packet of seasoning (again, has its place). While I enjoyed these growing up, as I started to learn more about actual Mexican culture and food and the amazing flavors it offers, I began to wonder if there was a bigger taco world out there just waiting for me to discover it. Well, I’m happy to report that there is a much larger world of tacos out there for Americans that grew up like I did, firmly placed in the middle of the American Rust Belt. Today I make everything from the tacos I grew up with to various types of fish tacos and even vegan tacos. It’s an amazing culinary world of tacos out there people. I have a friend that moved to Arizona a few years ago, and knowing my love of all Mexican foods, she took me to the best taco stands around when I visited her last year. Now, I had seen Carne Asada on menus at our local Mexican restaurants, but didn’t really know what it was, so I had never ordered it. While I was visiting my friend in Arizona, she ordered Carne Asada tacos and told me they were her favorite and how to eat them (what to put on them). It was love at first bite! When I got home, I searched Carne Asada recipes on Pinterest, and after a while, finally found this one. It is truly delicious and so simple to make. You will thank me for this one.
How to Make Carne Asada
This Carne Asada recipe is truly one of the simplest recipes I make. It only has a few ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes to actually cook. It’s perfect for any night of the week, especially Taco Tuesdays, or if you want to impress some guests with “gourmet” Mexican food. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1-2 pounds of flank steak (I use the stir fry beef that’s already cut for you)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic (or 2-3 tablespoons of minced garlic from a jar)
- 1-3 limes (depending on how much zing you want in them)
- 1/3 cup olive or avocado oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin, powdered
- salt and pepper to taste
Once you have all your ingredients together, place everything but the meat in a gallon size baggie, then place the meat on top.
Seal the baggie with some air in it and smoosh it around to mix the seasonings and meat well. Lay the bag flat on the counter and allow to marinade for about 1 hour. If you want to marinade the meat longer, I have left this to marinade up to 1 day in the refrigerator, but the 1 hour on the counter is plenty. After the meat has marinated, heat a skillet (I use cast iron of course) on medium-high.
Once the skillet is hot, dump the contents of the baggie in all at once. Yes, any extra marinade and all. Let it cook for about 3 minutes, then stir the meat and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the meat is fully cooked and the liquid in the pan has evaporated. Turn off the heat and plate it up with your favorite taco toppings. That’s it!
Variation to the recipe
If you want, you can add peppers and/or onions to the marinade with the meat. You can also add sliced pepper, onions and/or tomatoes to the meet after it is in the pan and cook as instructed above. We added tomatoes to this batch. It just adds a little something extra to the sauce that is made from the marinade and adds some color to the meat.
We served ours on white corn tortillas with creme, cheddar cheese and chipotle hot sauce. So fresh and yummy!