“How is your stomachache? Take this shot of tequila. It will disinfect whatever virus you have in your stomach and you’ll feel better.”, said a Mexican man in the small coastal town of La Paz in Baja California. I took the shot and immediately felt the 40% alcohol content from this spirit of the agave plant in my body. From my throat to my chest to my stomach, I felt the warm liquid running down and making me smile. I don’t know if the tequila really was the remedy or if its high alcohol content made me forget about my stomachache, but it surely made me feel better. The next morning I told my home-stay Mom, Vicki, about the incidence of curing my stomachache with the shot of tequila. She smiled and told me what other magic tequila can perform in the kitchen. Apparently, this earthy, smooth spirit with its herbaceous notes and the complex flavors soaked in from wood casks makes a Mexican flank steak melt in your mouth. Holding that magical bottle in my right hand, I’m making Vicki’s Tequila steak made with ancho chili, orange and lime in my California Kitchen today.
To start, I mix 3 Tablespoons tequila, 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons freshly ground ancho chili pepper, juice from 1 orange, 1 Tablespoon lime juice, 3 cloves garlic (crushed), 2 teaspoons freshly ground ancho chili pepper, 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 2 teaspoons sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper in a shallow pan. Then, I thinly slice 1.5 lb flank steak into 4 pieces and marinade them in the tequila mixture for 30-45 minutes at a room temperature. Next, I preheat the pan with some extra virgin olive oil and grill the meat on each side for 5 minutes over medium heat. Before serving, I garnish the meat plate with slices of orange and lime.
I am pairing this flavor-packed Mexican steak with a 2010 Gaucho Andino Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. Loaded with dense fruit flavors of black plums, blackberries and blueberries with “approachable” tannin, this full-flavored dry red wine pairs nicely with the grilled tequila flank steak. How perfectly this wine brings out flavors of smoky ancho pepper, herbaceous tequila, liquorish cumin seeds and the refreshing citrus flavor of the juicy Mexican flank steak. Malbec’s “not-too-bitter” tannin along with the jammy character makes this pairing absolutely rich & flavorful without overpowering it. Yum.
Hope you enjoy mama Vicki’s tequila flank steak recipe and the pairing it with Malbec. Happy cooking.