Achiote-Grilled Shiro Maguro with Mango Salsa Fresca

Fresh Shiro Maguro (albacore tuna, sustainably pole-and-line caught in the Pacific Northwest) is marinated in a paste of ground achiote, coriander and cumin seeds, Mexican oregano, garlic, olive oil and Seville orange juice.  The inch-thick steaks are rare-grilled over a hot mesquite fire and served with a salsa of fresh mango, heirloom tomatoes, green onions, cilantro and fresh green cayenne peppers with a pinch of chipotle and a touch of piloncillo..

Achiote-Grilled Shiro Maguro with Mango Salsa Fresca

For the Tuna

2 very fresh tuna steaks, about 1 inch-thick
2 tablespoons organic achiote seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 scant teaspoon sea salt
3-4 oz Seville orange juice
1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup raw olive oil

Grind the achiote, cumin and coriander together in a spice or coffee grinder, pour into a bowl and combine with oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar until a thick paste is formed.  Thin with orange juice until it is of a spoonable consistency.  Set the tuna steak in the marinade and refrigerate 1 hour, turning once.

For the Salsa

1 ripe mango, diced
1 heirloom tomato, diced
1 4-inch green cayenne pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
2 green onions, slivered
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon Mexican piloncillo (substitute palm sugar)
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate 1-2 hours.

To prepare, sear cold tuna over a hot wood fire until rare, about 5 minutes total.  Move to the cool side of the grill, baste with additional marinade and let stand until almost medium rare, about 2 minutes more.  Serve straight from the grill with mango salsa and a wedge of lime.

Wood-Fired, Ancho-Rubbed Sirloin with Fried Plantains and Frijoles Charros

Grass-fed sirloin (Bastrop Cattle Co.) is rubbed in a mixture of ancho chilies, fresh garlic, Mexican oregano, comino and piloncillo, then quickly seared over a wood fire.  Served with salt & pepper-fried plantains and home-cooked frijoles charros (cowboy beans)..

Wood-Fired, Ancho-Rubbed Sirloin with Fried Plantains and Frijoles Charros


For the Rub (adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless)

2 cloves garlic, peeled
3-4 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 tablespoon piloncillo
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon half-sharp paprika
2 teaspoons sea salt

Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into a semi-fine powder.

For the Beans (adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless)

1 cup dried pinto beans
1 tablespoon leaf lard
1/2 yellow onion
1 small sprig epazote

2 thick slices bacon, diced and fried
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
1/2 fresh poblano pepper, charred and diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Rinse and pick over dried beans.  Cover with 1 quart of cool, filtered water, lard, onion and epazote.  Bring to a hard boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender, about 2 hours, adding the tomatoes and peppers about 30 minutes out.  Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary to keep from drying out.

Add bacon, salt and cilantro during the last 10 minutes of cooking, discarding the epazote before serving.

For the Plantains

1 plantain, very ripe but still firm
1 tablespoon peanut oil or butter
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Heat butter or oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Season plantain slices with salt and pepper then fry until golden brown. Set aside to drain.

For the Steaks

1 4oz breakfast sirloin per person
1 1/2 teaspoon spice rub per steak

Pat steak dry, then evenly coat on all sides with spice rub. Grill over a wood fire for about 2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing against the grain about 3/8 inch-thick.

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday!


Pork Stew with Chipotle and Plantains

Smokey braised pork with peppers, onions, piloncillo and plantains..

Chipotle Banana Pork Stew

Pork Stew with Chipotle and Plantains

Trim pork shoulder, removing any heavy fat.  Cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks, arrange on a foil-lined baking tray and broil, turning once, until golden brown.  Some pieces will be crisp, others less so.  This is a good thing.

Transfer meat to a Dutch oven and add minced fresh garlic, diced fresh peppers, red and/or yellow onions, sliced ripe plantains and 1-2 diced  chipotle peppers with 1-2 tablespoons adobo sauce.

Season with a little toasted cumin, a pinch of Mexican oregano and just enough shaved piloncillo (a traditional, unrefined sugar common to Central and South America) to balance the heat of the peppers.

Add enough dark beer (preferably a Munich-style beer such as Negra Modelo) to almost cover the contents of the pot.  Cover tightly and braise in a 300 degree oven until fork-tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

Serve with fresh tortillas.


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