Monday, June 24, 2013

Asada and Potato Tacos with Green Sriracha Sauce

In my family, one of the ways we express love is through making food for each other. Growing up, my mom was insistent that we had a homemade dinner every night, and that we all had to sit at the table and talk about what we had done that day.  I never really thought much about the effort that went into this ritual, but I see now that dinner time is an underrated opportunity for re-connection and  familial support. I always liked our daily tradition, but I didn't realize until I was older, because there were so many of us, how essential it was to keep us all on the same page. That being said, I really enjoy dinners, and making them for people is my way of showing appreciation and love.

To show my sister how much I appreciated her hosting me in DC, I wanted to make her and Victor a delicious "thank you" dinner.  The inspiration for the meal came from a Grilled Skirt Steak with Green Sriracha recipe in Food & Wine magazine.  "How amazing would that sauce be on steak and potato tacos?", we both thought, wheels in our minds rapidly turning. Anybody who knows me knows I love me some sriracha.

So, we got a little creative with the ingredients, and came up with a a few recipes ourselves. In an effort to avoid getting bogged down by both the rain and procrastination, we immediately ran out to the amazing Asian market around the corner from Katie's house, and then proceeded to pop over to the amazing Mexican market around the other corner to collect our ingredients.

The recipe for the sauce can be found here, and I'll post the steak marinade and potato recipes in the post below.

First, you'll want to pack the skirt steak with flavor by marinading it before you start anything else.

For this, you will need:

3/4 cup olive oil
juice from one lime
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a lipped pan.  Set steak in marinade, make sure meat is thoroughly covered, and allow to sit until ready to grill....

...which will look like this.  But this is the last step, so we won't do that till later, right?

Now for the sriracha! I know I provided the Food & Wine recipe above, but I wanted to give you a few visual aids.

Katie had many of the herbs we needed for the sauce growing in her home garden, which was great!

I'm sure many of you do not cook with poblano chiles regularly, so I want to make sure you know how to prepare them.

First, you will need to place the washed chiles in a stove top flame until they are completely blistered.

Kind of awful to look at, I know, but they taste darn delicious.

After the chiles have been blistered and placed in an airtight container, wait a good 20 minutes before attempting to peel the skins and de-vein them. The sealed container will allow them to "sweat", making the chiles more easy to peel.
 These little guys have a tendency to cause all sorts of problems.  Their specialty is getting their oils onto your fingers so that when you decide to get that pesky eyelash out of your eye by rubbing, their juices get in your eye too, causing lots of pain and cursing.  Moral of the story: wear gloves if possible while handling these sneaks.


This is what the chile should look like once it's been de-seeded and de-veined (the veins are the white fleshy parts on the inside).

Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until the sriracha has the same consistency as pesto sauce.

Finally, for the potato filling, you will need:

4 potatoes cut into eighths
1 large sweet potato cut into similarly sized pieces
1/2 white onion chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 poblano chile, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 stick butter
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

First, place butter, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions in large pot. Allow ingredients to steam and caramelize. Once potatoes start getting the slightest bit soft and crusty, add garlic, poblano, and cheese. Mix all ingredients together.  Be sure to test on of the potatoes before you finish cooking, just to male sure the consistency is both firm and tender; you want to be able to bite through the potato without having it fall apart on you. SO good.

We fried the taco shells (that's right) to make them a little more pliable, sprinkled them with sea salt, stuffed the shells with the potato mixture, and then placed them in a pan standing upright.  
To add a little extra crunch to the shells, we put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes. During this time, we cooked the meat on a stove top grill.  Once it was finished, we sliced it into small, bite-sized pieces.

Once the stuffed shells were finished, we took them out of the oven, and dressed them up with our additional toppings.

I can't say enough about this meal.  I'm not kidding when I say it might have been one of the best things I've ever tasted.  That sriracha sauce is so versatile, and would taste wonderful with so many different types of food.

Oh!  Lastly, we also made some tacos wrapped in lettuce, rather than a taco shell, and they were phenomenal as well! The flavors were more robust with the lettuce, and it's a great way to substitute for a fried shell.

Hope you're all having a great week!


  1. These look so scrumptious. How spicy are the poblano chiles?

    1. Hi Anon! The poblano chiles are actually not spicy at all if you de-vein and de-seed them as suggested. The little serrano chiles are the ones that have the kick! Try blending one into the mixture and testing the spice level before adding the second chile, just in case!

  2. Replies
    1. So good, I can't even tell you! Please, please try it! Xoxo