There are probably as many family recipes for Bistec Ranchero (country-style beef steak) as there are families that love Mexican food. So who can say which of those recipes are authentic/traditional?
There are a few givens to go by, though. Americans, who love their steaks, often like to use whole steaks, but in Mexico the steaks are almost always sliced thin before being cooked. And ingredients universally must include onions, garlic, tomatoes (usually Romas) and chile peppers (choose your favorite variety). Other ingredients are added according to personal preference.
This simple dish is great for breakfast (with a couple of eggs on top!), lunch or dinner, is universally loved and is very easy to make. Here's MY recipe:
- 1 lb skirt steak (or steak of your choice)
- 4 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 white onion sliced thinly
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tomatillo, sliced thinly
- 2 jalapenos, seeds and membranes removed and sliced thinly
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
Slice skirt steak across the grain into 1/2-inch-wide strips, then cut the strips into 2-inch lengths. Set aside.
In a heavy skillet over medium high heat, heat oil until it begins to shimmer. Add the beef and saute quickly until slightly browned. Remove beef from the pan and set aside.
Add the onions, chiles, and garlic to the pan and saute until translucent. Put the beef back into the pan, reduce heat to medium, and add tomatillo and tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes begin to give up their juices (2 or 3 minutes). Cover pan, and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
This is good served with rice and beans, as a filling for burritos or tacos, or just about any way you can conceive. (I love it with sliced avocado or a heaping helping of guacamole and a dollop of Mexican crema on top.)
By the way, you can increase/decrease the number/type of chile peppers to taste. If you don't want it spicy at all (or just a little bit), this is excellent with half a mild poblano pepper, diced.
If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email firstname.lastname@example.org (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)