Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Steak a la Tampiquena, a La Hacienda

Please pretend that there is a "tilde" on the n in Tampiquena.  I can't figure out how to get it to type on this post.  But you should know that the word is pronounced "tampeekaynya" and it means "like the women from Tampico make it".  Which is really, really, good.
There is a long-closed restaurant in our town.  Whenever its name is invoked,  people who loved it get almost teary.  We miss the homey, dignified ambience of the old building right by the bend of the Rio Grande, we miss Manuel and Carlos and Jesus, who worked there when we were babies and when we took our babies.  I've run into those guys, in hospital elevators and in the line at Home Depot, and they ask about my folks.  And my children. God bless them.

This was my favorite dish. It's so wonderful because it's just beef and some natural ingredients, a cena made with what they had on hand.  Beautiful!

You start with thin little steaks.  Round steaks, sirloin steaks, it really doesn't matter too much.  Just as long as it's beef.  And very thin.
I used eye of round for these.  I seasoned them with Great American Land and Cattle Co. Steak seasoning.

Then I pounded them, and cut the tough silver skin on the outside edge so they wouldn't curl.

I browned them in olive oil on a very hot skillet.

Then put them in a pan to keep warm and  wait for the rest.

You will need to have roasted and peeled and seeded green chile,  1 for each steak, or have bought some green chile that was ready to be peeled and seeded, but unless you're desperate, don't use canned chile.  Just not the same and pretty much ruins the dish.  Canned chile is like taking a bath with your socks on.  What's the point?  No, no. no.

Heat up your beef cooking pan and put some oil in it.   Add the chile, onion, and let that brown up a little, then add tomato, oregano, garlic powder (a tiny bit, this isn't Italian) and let that cook a while, then add beef or chicken broth or stock, or, if you've really browned the pan well, just plain old water..  I like the stock (from a store) best, but you don't have to have it.

Oregano, fresh is good but dry is fine.

FYI, these are the best tomatoes for Mexican food.  Yes, I know, canned and what I said before not withstanding, I think these were the tomatoes the restaurant used.  That's why.

  Stir that up and add a some beef stock or broth.  Chicken would work just as well.  Or water, if you've browned the pan well.
Let it cook for abut 5 minutes and pour it over the cooked steaks.  Now they can just wait  until you're ready to serve.

Okay, now earlier you have cooked your beans, we've done that in a previous post, and you're going to make some Refritos.  Refried beans, and here's how that works.  Take some lard.  Yes, I just said lard.  Just a little, like a large tablespoon full.  That isn't enough to hurt anyone, and it gives beans the taste they should have.   Gotta do it.

Put beans in the hot lard and let it cook a few minutes, then start mashing them up.  Mash and smash, but I don't like to puree every bean.  Leave a few whole so people know what they're eating. When they are smashed to your liking, put some Monterrey Jack cheese on top.  Done!  No,.... wait.  Here's the last thing.  You must, must, must put avocado slices on top of the steaks and sauce when served.   And spoon plenty of juice over the steaks with the chile, tomato, etc.   This is actually a nice supper for entertaining.  You can do it all ahead and just serve when you're good and ready, maybe after a few copitas.

When you serve it you can add Sopa de Arroz or not, but for real La Hacienda style, you need some very good bollios.  Orale!

Steak a Tampiquena, a La Hacienda

Round  steak, eye of round, or any thin beef steak.
Roasted, peeled and cleaned  green chiles
sliced onion
canned tomatoes (SanBenito Whole Peeled)
beef stock
avocado slices 

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