Sunday, April 8, 2012

Carne Adobada (Grilled Adobo-Marinated Skirt Steak) and Corn Pudding

We made these dishes last weekend when we had friends over for dinner, but I didn't get around to posting about them until now.  I guess that's because I didn't find either dish to be super exciting.  They were both good.  I was happy to eat them.  But neither blew me away.  Alex was in the same boat.  With respect to the steak, think that the flavor was pretty good, but we were both hoping for a little more kick or pizazz from the adobo.  We tried eating the steak as tacos (with corn tortillas, jalapenos and cilantro) and then alone; I think I preferred it solo.  I thought that the flavor of the steak was muted enough that the corn tortilla masked it a little too much.  I wish we had made a salsa or something to go with it, but we ran out of time.  And I'm not really sure what kind of salsa I would had served.  The recipe was intended to be served as part of a taco party menu and there were two salsa recipes and one guacamole recipe on the menu.  I wish we had made one of them because I think that would have made a real difference and then the tacos would have been much more successful.  

As for the corn pudding, it was sweet and I thought the flavor of the roasted poblano pepper was really nice in it.  Even though the poblanos were just on top, the flavor really permeated the entire pudding.  And the texture was really nice - tender and creamy, but not as fluffy and airy as a souffle, or as dense as cornbread.  It was also nicely moist without being wet.  But it was fairly labor intensive to make (almost like a souffle since you had to separate the eggs and whip up egg whites).  To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure that the flavor of either dish was worth the time and effort.

Recipe after the jump!

Carne Adobada: Grilled Adobo-Marinated Skirt Steak
Available on Epicurious
Truly Mexican
By Roberto Santibanez with JJ Goode

For the pasilla-guajillo adobo:
2 ounces pasilla chiles (6), wiped clean, stemmed, slit open, seeded, and deveined
2 ounces guajillo chiles (8), wiped clean, stemmed, slit open, seeded, and deveined
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup light Mexican beer
1/2 cup chopped white onion
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon fine salt, or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 whole cloves
For the steak:
2 pounds skirt steak, cut into four 8- to 9-inch pieces
1 teaspoon fine salt, or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup pasilla-guajillo adobo (above)
About 1 tablespoon mild olive oil or vegetable oil

Heat a comal, griddle, or heavy skillet over medium-low heat, and toast the chiles 2 or 3 at a time, turning them over and pressing down on them with tongs frequently, until the chiles are fragrant, about 1 minute per batch. Soak the chiles in enough cold water to cover until they're soft, about 30 minutes. Drain and discard the soaking water.

Put the vinegar and beer in the blender jar with the chiles and the remaining adobo ingredients. Blend until smooth, at least 3 minutes, adding a little water if necessary to puree. If you like a silky, smooth texture, strain the adobo through a medium-mesh sieve. Set aside 1/2 cup of the adobo to marinate the steak, and keep the rest in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to one month.

Pat the steaks dry, season them with the salt, then coat them generously with adobo. Let them marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Lightly oil the grill or grill pan and cook the steaks, 3 to 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare, depending on their thickness. Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before slicing for tacos or serving as whole steaks.

Corn Pudding

2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed, plus 1/4 cup, separated
3/4 cup whole milk (use up to 1 cup if necessary)
6 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 poblano chili, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch strips
half of a small red bell pepper, cut into strips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking dish and set aside. In a food processor (or a blender), puree the corn with enough milk to make a smooth puree. With the machine running, add egg yolks, one at a time; process 30 seconds after each addition. With the machine running, add the sugar a little at a time and continue processing until mixture is lighter in color and sugar is dissolved. Add butter and process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup corn. 

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder; fold into corn mixture. 

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into corn mixture, alternating with the shredded cheese (beginning and ending with egg whites). Pour into the prepared baking dish and garnish with strips of poblano and red bell pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Serve warm.

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