Recipe: Gaucho Steak & Roasted Poblanos


The page stared innocuously back at me from the book on the counter.  One would think a book would be innocent enough.  This, however, was different;  this was a cookbook.  The recipe was a trifecta:

  • Food I’ve never cooked with
  • Food I’ve been lead to believe tastes bad/weird
  • Required more than one pan to create
  • I gritted my teeth and creased the page.  The time was now.  I will become a better cook.  I will learn to cook outside of my comfort zone (my husband can only eat so much baked, crock-potted or fried chicken and pork chops), and I will brave the elements of foods I had previously thought as taboo.

Tonight’s meal consisted of the following ingredients:

  • 1 lb flank steak (I substituted a thin top round steak or something similar as the store was out of flank steaks)
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic (Cue the Dracula music, aside from Garlic Salt I never touch the stuff)
  • 3/4 tsp Cumin (Cumin, WHAT THE HELL IS CUMIN???)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt, separated (it’s salt, I can handle this)
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil (Extra Virgin for me, it’s really the only way to go, somehow I think it is the protector of recipes everywhere, if you use EVOO, your odds of success increase by 65%)
  • Juice from one lime (Maybe  a little white-trashy, but I used that lime juice in the green little lime-shaped bottle from the store, it’ll last hell-a longer than the regular lime)
  • 1/2 cup of Feta Cheese (This was the scary part for me, why should cheese crumble? It shouldn’t, unless it’s moldy, or being eaten by Tom (Tom & Jerry Reference) so I was really freaked out by this)
  • 4 Poblano Peppers (I only roasted 3, and only cut up 2 so easily could have halved this amount)
  • 1 Red Onion, Large (Who doesn’t know how to dice an onion?  Well, I might not know the proper way, but I get it done, none the less)

Next, ALL these things happen at the same time, although the book tries to get sneaky about it, breaking it down.  Apparently the editor didn’t realize the reader might be a writing instructor who recognizes phrases like “Meanwhile” are the same as “At the same time”… So, screw the order of things, let’s look at what has to get done, ultimately:

  1. Roast the Poblano peppers for 5 minutes in a broiler, 5″ from the heat source.  Once they’re roasted, take them out, “skin” them (vegetable with clear skin, it sounds like an alien movie), and then chop them.
  2. Chop the onion, throw it in a medium-heated skillet along with the olive oil, or rather, olive oil, then onion, and add one of the two garlic cloves, but it has to be minced, and 1/4 tsp of the salt (alright, I just used a sprinkle).  (This was another fun adventure for me, “mincing” a 3D shape of a flower petal from hell, which slides all over the place and mocks my pitiful attempts at cutting the pieces into 1/16″ squares).  Cook the onion and garlic together until the onion is “soft”.  Not caramelized.  Caramelized is bad, although it’s really good, but it’s bad.
  3. Now, go back to those poblanos you recently skinned.  Toss them in with the onion and let them toss around a bit, then add your lime juice and some fresh cilantro (I had no cilantro, my grocery shopping skills are so inept) and cook “to heat”.
  4. Heat up a “raised grill” skillet to “medium high”.  I’m poor and don’t have a fancy skillet that has the cool little grill lines on it, so I used an electric griddle, yes, like the one you use to make pancakes on Saturday mornings.  Mince the second garlic clove and rub it into the steak, followed by the cumin and 1/4 tsp of the salt.  Massage it like you wish someone would do to you, showing it some real TLC, then drop that baby on the skillet, er, griddle…er…you know what I mean.  3-4 minutes on each side or until the middle is a piping hot 145 degrees F and you are in business!  Oh wait, not done yet.  Flip it, flop it, and drop it on a plate.  Wait 5 minutes (as my tastebuds scream BUT IT IS GETTING COLD!) and the slice it across the fibers, so perpendicular to the lines of fat/tendons etc (as opposed to parallel, back to math class we go, eh?) into 12 strips and place it on a platter (or in my place, two dinner plates)
  5. Top the steak strips with the veggie mix, then polish it off with the cheese on top.
  6. Take a moment to admire the beauty, update your will, and proceed to devour the plate, serving size is 4 (3 pieces of meat + 1/2 cup veggies)

My review?  My preconceptions about Feta cheese were unwarranted.  Sure, it’s weird on a salad, but when combine as a layer of flavor, it’s amazing.  Poblano peppers, which I had never used before, are totally going to become a staple in my kitchen.  Cumin is NOT a weird spice, it seems to put the “Gaucho” in the steak.  And last, but not least, the trifecta did not defeat me.  Although I have not done the dishes yet, the other two points of the trifecta have bowed in defeat, and my mouth smiled in victory tonight.

Eat on, my friends, eat on.

WW Points Plus Value: 6 points / serving