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Beer-Marinated Flank Steak: For Spice and Sustenance

Beer-Marinated Flank Steak with Aji and Guacamole

I’m a meat girl. I am not always confident about my meat-eating ways–especially when I stop to think about the meat industry while reading books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Butcher and the Vegetarian by blogger Tara Austen Weaver (I’m still reading). But nevertheless, I grew up on red beets and red meat, and I like it that way. I try, whenever I can, to buy the highest quality meat that I can get my hands on, and I try to do my best to limit my meat consumption. In general, I almost always eat a vegetarian lunch, and I usually eat seafood at least once or twice a week.

So while I do love a good steak, I actually don’t cook a lot of red meat at home. Largely because I always feel that the best steak comes off of the grill and given that my grill until recently was a George Foreman, I just never felt too inspired. However, since acquiring my indoor grillpan, I’ve been finding that you don’t need to barbacue to enjoy a good piece of meat. I still try to be conscious of how much meat I’m eating, but now I know that when I do get a good quality piece of red meat from the store, it’s likely that it will turn out delicious.

I’ve been sitting on this particular recipe for months and I have no excuse for not sharing it sooner because it really is something special. Flank steak, while having the reputation for being tough and lacking in flavor, is transformed by the beer-and-herb marinade, spiced up by a Colombian Aji sauce, and then cooled down by my rendition of guacamole. I must warn you that the Aji sauce is SERIOUSLY spicy, so don’t pile it on right away. The best way to eat this steak is with a small dollop of Aji sauce and a medium dollop of guacamole all in one bite. The meat is tender, perfectly medium-rare, and oh-so-flavorful. It’s great regardless of the season and can be accompanied by a full-bodied red wine, or an ice-cold beer. We ate it with a side of steamed kale. I find that steak goes particularly well with really hearty greens (and something tells me that it might even be better for digestion, but that’s just speculation).

Flank steak is, in the steak world, a relatively affordable cut of meat, so this recipe can be doubled or tripled for a big group, and is quite elegant–not to mention colorful.

Beer-Marinated Flank Steak with Aji and Guacamole
Beer-Marinated Flank Steak with Aji and Guacamole
adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2009
*serves 2

about 1 pound of flank steak (enough for 2 people)
1/3 tablespoon of dried oregano
3/4 teaspoons of ground cumin
Kosher salt
extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup of thinly-sliced green onions
1/2 of a 12-ounce bottle of dark beer (we used Guinness)
1/8th cup of Worcestershire sauce

1. Use a paring knife to lightly score the the steaks in a crisscross pattern every 1/2 inch.
2. Place the steaks in a glass baking dish and sprinkle with herbs, and a generous amount of sea salt and pepper.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and rub spices and oil into both sides of the meat. Sprinkle green onion and drizzle with beer and Worcestershire sauce. Turn the steaks over a few times, making sure that the marinade ingredients are well-distributed, then cover and chill for 1 1/2- 3 hours (can be marinated overnight).
4. Prepare a barbecue (or indoor grill pan) and brush the rack lightly with oil. Grill the steaks about 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare and turn them about a 1/4 turn after every few minutes to develop grill marks. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for a few minutes before thinly slicing them across the grain. Serve with Aji Sauce and Guacamole (recipes below)

Aji Sauce
2 coarsely chopped, seeded jalapeño chiles
1/4 cup of coarsely chopped green onions
1/6 cup of coarsely chopped Vidalia onion
1/8 cup of coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
kosher salt and pepper.

1. Combine all of the ingredients (aside from the lime juice) in a food processor and puree to a paste. Add in the lime juice and pulse briefly. Season with salt and pepper and taste. Add more lime juice, salt and pepper, to taste.

Guacamole

1 large ripe avocado, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon of finely diced sweet onion
2-3 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Mash the avocado until it is slightly chunky, then mix in the onion, lime juice and salt and pepper. Mix well with a fork and/or spoon, adjusting for seasonings, to taste.

Musical Pairings: Modest Mouse – The Moon & Antarctica + Beer-Marinated Flank Steak with Aji Sauce

Kasey is featuring a little red meat for the food lover over on eating/sf. Literally. Today’s recipe is for beer-marinated flank steak with aji sauce. It’s substantial, spicy, tender and soooo satisfying. If you’re in the market for a good steak recipe – you can’t go wrong with this Colombian-inspired dish. And although I’m not pairing this with an Colombian album, I did want to pair the recipe with a substantial, spicy, tender and satisfying album. And for that reason, I think Modest Mouse’s 2000 masterpiece, The Moon & Antarctica, is the perfect pairing for this recipe. Head to Musical Pairings to read more. –Matthew

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