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Friday, May 13, 2011

Chimichurri Marinated Flank Steak with Cumin Garlic Home Fries

MAN OH MAN what a couple of weeks it has been!  Start with waking up to a little girl who had a 102 fever and finding out she had a double ear infection.  Flash forward to three hours later and Huntsville gets hit with the worst tornadoes in history and we lose power (for the next week in some places).   A little further to being displaced to south Alabama at my mom's house because of the loss of power.  On forward four days later to coming with power but myself coming down with the worst sickness I've ever had in my life (the doctor thinks it might have been viral meningitis but I didn't go get the spinal tap done so who's to say?).  Flash forward another week to figuring out what's going on at school with finals being canceled and now here we are, another week later, my little girl with two MORE ear infections and the croup.  Like I said, it's been a couple of weeks but I'm still standing!  And now back to cooking!

During the whole storm incident we had to move most of our deep freezer to my mom's so we wouldn't lose it.  I mean, the frozen veggies and odds and ends weren't a big deal, but all of the meat and all of the fresh veg we got from my families garden last summer, that's the stuff I didn't want to lose.  I came across these flank steaks that I had bought a month or so ago and thought what better way to reintroduce myself into the blogging world than to whip up something in two parts?  Chimichurri is a parsley / garlic marinade that is Argentinian in origin and is out of this world.  I first had it at a place in one of the casinos in Biloxi, MS.  I can't remember the name of the place but they walk around with huge chunks of rotisserie meat and slice it off right there at your table.  You have a card that's green on one side and red on the other.  Want more meat?  Show the green side.  Stuffed to the brim?  Show the red side.  Really cool and well worth every penny.  But I digress.

The chimichurri marinade is pretty simple.  This is what I used:
1 cup of parsley
1 cup of cilantro
6 cloves of garlic
2 shallots
1/3 cup of red wine vinegar
3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil
pinch of red pepper flake
zest of one lime plus juice of half
salt and pepper to taste

I'll tell you to start with, this is not a traditional chimichurri marinade.  This is my version.  The original doesn't have the lime but I felt like it added a freshness with the citrus to the vinegar and oil, almost like a salad dressing.  That being said, first take the garlic and shallots (peeled of course) and run them through a food processor until chunky.  Do the same with the parsley and cilantro (you can also just run your knife through the leaves, making sure to get the stems out).  In a separate bowl, whisk the oil and vinegar together, then add the everything else.  Add salt and pepper to your own taste.  Add the marinade to a Ziploc bag along with the steaks and let them sit for anywhere from 8 to 24 hours.  These were in the fridge for 24 hours.  Of course, the longer they sit, the more time the flavors have to develop.  Plus, if you do the marinade the day before, you don't have to do everything in one sitting which is even better.

When I got home from work tonight, I pulled these bad boys out and fired up the grill.  Depending on how big they are and how you like your meat, you want to cook them for 7 to 10 minutes on each side over medium heat for a nice medium rare / medium.  Again, you know how your grill works and everyone's grill is different and you know how you like your meat right?  So, after you pull them off the grill, let them rest. 

The smell on these once you pull them off the grill is out of sight!  These look a little charred but I prefer my meat a little on the medium well side, especially for what I had planned for them.  At this point, you're done!  You can do with them what ever you please.  I sliced them thinly with the grain and set them aside.  On to the home fries!

Home fries are supposed to be chunked potatoes with onions and anything else you want to throw in there.  I had a left over shallot and some more garlic so that's what I used.  I've cooked home fries before but never got them to that right crispiness that I like, until now.  Thanks to the guys over at The Smitten Kitchen the problem is now solved! Here's how they do it:

1 pound of new red potatoes, cleaned and diced (skin on)
1 shallot
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of chipotle powder
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons of butter

Once you have the potatoes cleaned and diced, put them in a microwave safe bowl with two tablespoons of butter.  Cover the bowl tightly with saran wrap and microwave for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking process.  After that's done, set them aside.  Run the garlic and shallot through a food processor just like before.  In a saute pan, add one teaspoon of butter then add the garlic and shallots.  Cook until you get a nice brown color.  Set these aside.  Add the last of your butter into a clean nonstick pan over medium to medium high heat.  Once the butter is melted, add your potatoes and pack down tight in the bottom of the pan.  Let these cook for 10 minutes or until they start to get that nice crispiness that you're looking for.  While they are cooking, sprinkle the cumin, chili powder, and chipotle on the top.  Once they start to get crisp, flip the on the other side and do the same thing.  After they begin to brown on the bottom, add your browned garlic and shallots.  Continue cooking until the potatoes are crispy.  And that's it for the potatoes!  They turned out great with just a little spice and that nice cumin flavor (could have used some more salt and pepper during the cooking process though).

This is how I assembled it up.  I warmed a flour tortilla in the same pan with all the left over cumin butter residue and threw my flank steak in that.  I also added some tomatillo salsa that I had and it was awesome!  The home fries I took a little mayo and added some chili flakes and chipotle powder and threw it on top.  Pretty awesome if I do say so myself.  And if you're thinking, "Mayonnaise on fries?  Gross!", you are dead wrong my friend!  The only thing that would have made them better is some fresh cilantro on top (which I didn't have unfortunately).

So there you go!  It's almost like the Argentinian version of steak and potatoes which is kind of what I was going for.  You don't have to buy a ribeye and bake potatoes in the oven like a schmoe all the time!  Try something different.  We still had steak and potatoes tonight and everyone wins:  I got my Spanish flavors that I like so much and my wife got a home cooked meal which she only gets once a week right now.  The only thing that would make this meal better?  A big ol' fat margarita!

On a side note, Happy First Birthday to my wonderful and beautiful daughter!  It has been my pleasure getting to be your daddy for the past year.  I love you very much!

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