Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bistec Picado en Cazuela (Chopped Steak in Pan?)

My Tata used to sometimes make a very simple dish that she simply called "Bistec Picado en Salsa" (chopped steak in sauce), she simply made a basic Cuban tomato based sauce (olive oil or lard, garlic, onion, bell pepper, can of tomato sauce, water to thin out sauce, seasoned with salt and cumin nothing more nothing less) to this boiling sauce she would add chopped steak and let it simmer until tender. My grandmother does the same procedure when she makes "Bistec en Cazuela" (steak in a pan) she'll simply submerge whole thin cut steaks to boil in the sauce. I prefer it chopped though because it's easier to eat.

So that's my Tata's version but I have my own way of making it that I prefer both are delicous but I prefer mine ;) today I'm showing you my version. The difference between mine and hers is that I brown the meat first seasoned with salt and pepper,then make the same tomato based sauce my Tata makes but with the addition of red wine, oregano, and teh optional sweet smoked spanish paprika from La Vera region of Spain.

Haha I wasn't very traditional when I made this my mother made fresh homemade flour tortillas and we used this dish as a filling, I also had a huge batch of "Potaje de Frijoles Colorados" (Cuban Red Bean and Pork Stew) which I pureed and refried to a thick paste to use as a filling to. So we basically had a meal that was Cuban, Spaniard, and Mexican fusion. Still delicious.

-1 1/2 lbs. thin cut steak cut into squares or small strips
-1 large onion julienned
-1 large green bell pepper julienned
-1/2 a head of garlic peeled mashed to a paste or pressed through a garlic press
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce or 3 ripe tomatoes pureed
-1/2 cup red wine (to taste)
-1 cups water or beef broth
-1/2 teaspoon oregano
-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1 teaspoon sweet smoked spanish paprika (optional)
-salt to taste
-1/4 cup- 1/2 cup lard or extra-virgin olive oil (as needed I used lard, some dishes are just fabulous with it this is one of them)
-chopped cilantro or parsley to garnish (optional)

(1) Season meat liberally with salt and pepper, heat lard on high heat until melted and hot. Add steaks in one layer and let brown about 5-10 minutes all around, stir occasionally, it is normal for the steaks to release liquid, let it all evaporate and stir occasionally until well browned, you may lower heat to medium high if you feel it's too hot.

(2) While steak is browning you can do all your prep work (chopping etc.) after browning steaks add onions and bell peppers cook down for about 5-7 minutes, add garlic and cook until fragrant about 1-2 minutes, add red wine and higher heat so it bubbles and reduces by half, scrape the bottom of the pan so it deglazes everything off. Add tomato simmer another 3-5 minutes, finally thin sauce out with water or beef broth bring to a rolling boil, season with cumin, sweet smoked paprika, and salt to taste (taste it and see if it needs more I add about 1/2 teaspoon salt but of course its eyeballed), if you feel it needs more black pepper feel free to add it.

(3) Simmer covered on low or medium low until meat is tender about 20-30 minutes.

(4) When ready you may garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro which is optional (I didn't have any on hand) mmmm.... enlarge the picture below by clicking on it to see how delicous it came out :D
-You may mince the onions and bell peppers if you wish, in which it would go better with the meat cut into squares, if you cut the meat into strips then everything julienned would look better, me I forgot and wasn't thinking so I ended up cutting the meat into squares and everything julienned, but still equally tastey.

Buñuelos Mexicanos (Mexican Buñuelos)

Buñuelos generally speaking it is sometype of fried dough, that can be stuffed, is either sweet or savory, and can be doused in syurp or sugar depending on the preparation (yes I know that is a very broad definition but buñuelos vary so much from culture to culture that I believe there is no solid definition of what a buñuelo should be).

For example in Cuba, there is Buñuelos de Yuca (it's a fried dough made from Cassava root shaped as an 8 that is then dunked in syrup) and there is also different varieties of within a country like in one of my Salvadorian cook book there's a recipe for buñuelos it's made from rice flour and fried in the shape of a ball then dunked in a cinnamon infused syrup made from unrefined solid cane sugar. Some are even savory I've seen mixes sold at store to make "Buñuelos de Espinaca" (Spinach Bunuelos) and some Spaniards prepare Buñuelos de Manzana (apple bunuelos in which apple slices arre dunked in batter, fried then dusted with sugar) so I think by now we get point it can vary A LOT.

Anyways today I present to you the Mexican version of Buñuelos that I am familiar with here in the states. It is extremely popular on Christmas among the Mexican community here. They are extremely simple, they are simply round, flat, thin fried flour tortillas dusted in cinnamon sugar (literally that's it I don't even know if a recipe is needed for that)

-Already made, cooked flour tortillas (amount depends on how many your making)
-oil to deep-fry
-cinnamon sugar as needed (for every 1/4 cup sugar use 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon)

(1)In a large frying pan add about 1 inch worth of oil, heat it on medium high until it's sizzling (test with a wooden spoon if it bubbles it's ready) now add flour tortilla and push down as it floats up, when golden on one side flip and cook on the other side. When golden brown remove and drain.

(2)Coat in cinnamon sugar.

(4)Repeat process and keep stacking them up until ready to serve, they can last several day's and are delicious even when not freshly made. They get crunchier as they cool. You can enjoy them as dessert, I simply ate them for breakfast with a cup of Mexican hot chocolate (which I'll show you guys someday)
* I don't agree with wikipedia's description of Mexican Buñuelos I have never seen or had the version they describe but who knows maybe it's some regional thing;
* My mother makes her own flour tortillas, if you are interested in making flour tortillas from scratch check out my blog post for it in which my mother makes her own from scratch. In my household we usually do not buy already made flour tortillas since we do not like that it uses hydrogenated oils and a bunch of junk in most of them so we make it at home with real butter or lard:


*They remind me of the Spaniard "Tortas de Aciete" they are round flat type of fried dough, fried in olive oil, dusted in sugar.