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Braised Beef Steak with Tequila, Tomato and Orange
Serves 4, with leftovers
This decidedly Mexican-influenced braised steak has a subtle tropical flavor from the tequila and fresh orange and lime juices. You can make it even more tropical by replacing the orange juice with pineapple juice. The recipe makes a superb pot roast: Simply double the size of the chunk of meat and the amount of seasonings in the rub.
The recipe uses the oven for braising, but it can also be done on the stove top at a low simmer. It’s also ideal for slow cookers.
Once the meat is cooked, serve it with lots of warm tortillas and Mexican rice. Any leftovers can be shredded to make a great filling for burritos or enchiladas.
New Mexico Chile Spice Rub
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons New Mexico or California chile powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle all over the meat; reserve any leftover rub to add to the braising liquid.
1 1-inch-thick boneless chuck steak (1½ pounds), 7-bone chuck steak (about 2 pounds), or round-bone steak (1½–2 pounds)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced onions
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup tequila
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen), drained
3 chipotle chiles in adobo (I use Herdez brand), chopped
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
1 cup homemade beef stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh cilantro
finely chopped red onions
Pico de Gallo
Preheat the oven to 325F. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the meat until all sides are nicely browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a platter. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pot and add the onions. Cover and cook until the onions are soft and just beginning to color, about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the tequila and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce the tequila by about half, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chipotle chiles, orange juice, lime juice, stock, bay leaves, and any leftover spice rub and bring to a boil. Add the steak, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the oven. Braise until the meat is fork-tender, 1 1/ 2 to 2 hours, turning every 45 minutes. Transfer the pot to the stove top. Remove the meat and discard the bay leaf. Degrease the liquid, then boil until it just becomes syrupy, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lime juice. Return the meat to the pot and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more to reheat. Slice or cut into chunks and serve with the garnishes.
Alternative Cuts: Any chuck steak cut, rump steak, sirloin tip steak, top round steak (London broil), or well-marbled bottom round steak.
If you replace the orange juice with fresh pineapple juice, instead of garnishing with orange slices, garnish with half-slices of fresh pineapple.
This dish is great made a day ahead, but wait to adjust the lime juice until just before serving. Let cool and refrigerate overnight, then remove any congealed surface fat before gently rewarming the dish.