Mike's Recipe, April 2012 - Aaron Sanchez
For some reason Heather and I have been leaning toward Mexican-style food in a lot of our meal brainstorming as of late. We aren't really sure why but I knew it was a focus I wanted to have for my April new recipe. Aaron Sanchez is probably my favorite Chopped judge so I focused my search around his recipes.
The first one I found that look enticing was Argentinean Steak with Parsley Sauce. It's almost grilling season and I've been wanting to try my hand at cooking a steak. The parsley/chimichurri sauce sounded really interesting to me as well. The inclusion of raw jalepenos was equal parts intriguing and scary. The steak alone didn't feel like quite enough food so I went looking for a side dish as well. I ending up deciding to make his Chorizo and Cornbread Stuffing. There wasn't anything to not like about that recipe. It sounded straightforward and who doesn't like chorizo?
As with all of the recipes I tackle I always stress about time management. When do I start cooking things? Do I prep everything beforehand? It's always hard because I don't want to keep Heather waiting for hours while I make something that would only take her 20 minutes. For these recipes I came up with a pretty basic plan. Cook chorizo while prepping other veggies for the stuffing. Make chimichurri sauce while the veggies saute for stuffing. Grill and rest steak while stuffing is baking. Serve all at once. I think it was a pretty good plan but I couldn't quite stick to it.
The first screw-up happened very early. I couldn't chop all the veggies fast enough and I was worried that I was going to burn the chorizo. It was remedied by turning the heat down while I caught up. Everything smelled amazing while the stuffing ingredients were sizzling away. It made us both anxious to get eating.
After adding the crumbled cornbread to the mixture I called Heather in to help me add the stock. The recipe has the not-very-helpful directive of "pour in enough of the stock so the stuffing is not too dry but at the same time not too wet." This made me uncomfortable but after Heather helped me I realized I could have handled it fine on my own. Just pour it in until it looks like stuffing!
The chimichurri sauce was easy to make. I used our food processor instead of a blender and just put all the ingredients right inside and whirred away. It comes together like any vinaigrette would.
The steak was pretty easy as well. The recipe calls for a very straightforward seasoning of salt, pepper, and olive oil. I rubbed these on and threw it on the grill. I ended up modifying the instructions a bit. They called for 2-3 minutes per side for a medium-rare. I knew we'd be a bit happier with a medium so I ended up doing 4 minutes, flip, 4 minutes, flip, 1 minute, flip, 1 minute (or so). I did so many flips because I wanted to get the crossed grill marks on each side just for fun, and it worked!
We let it rest for 5-7 minutes. I'm not sure if that was quite long enough because some juices still came out as I cut. However, the meat was a bit on the cold side when we ate it so who knows. Resting is a complicated thing to figure out! Based on the color inside, I think the thickest part of the steak was pretty dang close to a medium, which was my goal. The thinner parts were definitely a bit past. It was still all really good though.
In the end, the overall meal was very strong. The chimichurri sauce was great and it honestly wasn't overly hot. We will definitely be using it on meals in the future (especially with some homegrown jalepenos this summer). The stuffing was amazing on its own and the fresh cotija cheese sprinkled on top made it even better. Overall, I think it was a very successful meal. Heather even got seconds!
You just read one of Upstate Crumbs' monthly New Recipe posts. Every month, Mike and Heather will each make a post about a new recipe. For Mike, it will usually be an adventure in trying to learn to cook. For Heather, she'll pick something that is outside of her comfort zone in some way.
Mike on May 14, 2012 at 7:23pm EDT