Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Southwestern Grilled Steak and Peppers with Easy Cheese Nachos

Tender grilled beef, sweet peppers, spicy chiles—all loaded with smoky southwestern flavor, and a side of the easiest cheese nachos platter you’ll ever prepare.

I cooked both the beef and the vegetables on the grill—steak directly on the rack and the veggies in a cast-iron skillet. Once the steak is rested and sliced, toss it into the skillet with the peppers and give everything a quick stir-fry to finish.

You can also prepare everything indoors. Simply sear the steak in the skillet, then remove it and cook the vegetables in the same skillet—great flavor either way.

Skip the store-bought bag of tortilla chips and make your own easy nachos with nothing but corn tortillas and shredded cheese. (And sliced jalapenos for a little kick.) You don’t need to create a cheese sauce—just let the cheddar melt on top of the baking tortillas and you’re done.

I used ranchero sauce to bring the beef and peppers together. Once you’ve made your own, you’ll want to make it again and again. It’s simple to prepare and you can save any leftovers to top grilled chicken or pork chops, or even drizzle over baked potatoes. That said, you can also use your favorite bottled sauce in this recipe, if you choose.

Serves 4-5

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chile flakes
  • 3/4 lb flank steak, about 3/4-inch thick
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 large poblano chile, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 4 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 recipe ranchero sauce (or other hot sauce), warmed
  • 8 5-1/2-inch corn tortillas, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 1-1/2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 large jalapeno, very thinly sliced crosswise (seeds removed, if desired)
  • cooked white rice, for serving (optional)
Flank Steak 
Peppers and Scallions 
Prepared Vegetables 
Ready to Grill
Tortilla Slices
  1. Combine the garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, and chile flakes in a heavy, sealable plastic bag. Add the steak, seal, and turn several times to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. (May be made a day ahead.)
  2. Light a grill for direct-heat cooking. Preheat the oven to 400° F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Remove the steak from the marinade, letting excess drip off. Season with salt and pepper and grill until lightly charred on the outside and still pink inside, 5-6 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Slice the steak very thinly across the grain. 
Steak in Marinade
Steak Beginning to Grill 
Grilled Steak
Thinly Slice the Steaks
  1. Place a cast-iron skillet on the grill and heat 5 minutes. Brush with oil and add the bell peppers, poblano chile, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender, 5-6 minutes.
  2. Add the sliced steak to the skillet and add 3/4 cup of the ranchero sauce (reserve remainder). Cook 2 minutes.
Vegetables Beginning to Grill 
Grilled Vegetables 
Steak and Sauce Added
  1. Meanwhile, spread the tortilla wedges on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 4-5 minutes, until beginning to crisp.
  2. Use a large spatula to turn the tortillas over and push them toward the middle of the pan to form a low stack. Scatter the cheese evenly over them. 
  3. Bake until the cheese has melted, 3-4 minutes. Use the spatula to slide the nachos onto a platter. Scatter the jalapeno slices on top.
Tortillas Ready to Bake 
Push Toward the Middle of the Pan
Ready to Bake
To serve, divide the rice (if using) among 4-5 plates and divide the steak mixture on top. Place the remaining ranchero sauce in a bowl to pass at the table. Serve with the cheese nacho platter.

Southwestern Grilled Steak and Peppers with Easy Cheese Nachos

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