The first time I encountered this dish was while I was
looking through my copy of my Mexican Everyday cookbook. I must admit, I totally dismissed this recipe. I flipped past it to get to some other, more exciting dishes. Don't get me wrong...this recipe looked tasty enough; but I really did not have a sense of how the dish was supposed to come together. My initial impression was that it was just beef and beans...nothing more, nothing less.
Okay...fast forward to a few months later. I was excited to see Rick Bayless on one of my very favorite shows on PBS, called Chef's Story. I never know when it is on, and I don't think they are still airing new episodes; but I have my DVR set to record any of the old one's that pop up on the programming radar. Luckily, I did not miss the Rick Bayless episode. Rick talks about his career and then does a demo recipe at the end of the show. This dish was the recipe. Oh man, the husband and I were both drooling by the time he was finished with his cooking presentation. It looked awesome! Meat and beans...yes. BUT...meat and beans in a sumptuous, spicy, chile gravy. YUM! I had no idea gravy was involved!!!! Knowing that would have made this meal more of a priority, for sure.
I went back to my cookbook and looked at the ingredients list, and realized I had everything on hand to try it out myself. Score! So, tonight is the night. I am pretty excited to make this dish, to say the least. I think I will serve it with some warm tortillas, and a zucchini/yellow squash combo for a side item. I will let you know how it turns out.
Rick Bayless' Red Chile Steak with Beans
Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons pure olive oil
Two 10-ounce ribeye steaks, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
2 tablespoons ground ancho chile powder
1/2 tablespoon ground chipotle chile powder
2 garlic cloves, finally chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth, plus additional as needed
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
One 15-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes in their juice
One 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained or 1 3/4 cups home-cooked pinto beans, drained
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
One scallion, thinly sliced, for garnish
In a skillet or sauté pan large enough to hold the meat in a single layer, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the meat. Season with salt. Let the meat sear on each side, turning only after each side has browned. Be careful to keep the meat rare as it will cook more in the sauce. Stir in the onions. Once the onions have browned, using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the bacon fat, followed by both chili powders, garlic, and flour. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to make a thick roux-like mixture, about 1 minute. Whisk in half of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the remaining broth and sprinkle in the cumin and oregano. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil. Stir in the beans, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
If the sauce has thickened beyond the consistency of a light cream soup, thin with a little more broth. Add the meat and onions to the pan. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until the meat is heated through. Garnish with the cilantro and thinly sliced scallions. Serve immediately.
This is my new favorite Rick Bayless recipe! Yes, it's true. This was fan-freakin'-tastic! I don't even know how to put into words how much I loved this dish. Seriously, I was sad when my plate was empty. I considered licking it, but that is a little impolite. (After all, I am a mother and I don't want to teach my son that licking the dinner plate is okay.)
I served this dish over some white rice, because the gravy was too good to not have over rice. Ummmm....rice soaked with chile gravy. Awesome! This reminded me of almost a mole sauce, but it took way less time. I cannot stress how much I loved this meal! All I can say is try it for yourself, and you will see what I mean.
There is one thing I need to mention about the preparation, though. I goofed and added too much beef broth to the dish. My sauce wasn't thickening properly, at first. There was just too much liquid and not enough flour from the roux. However, I am happy to report that this was an easy fix. I just added a tablespoon of butter to a microwavable dish with 2 tablespoons of flour. I melted the butter into the flour in the microwave for 30 seconds and mixed it with a fork to combine. Then, I added a little of the too-thin pan liquid to my flour/butter. Once that was mixed, I dumped the whole concoction into the main pan and whisked. It worked like a charm...the sauce thickened perfectly and there was no uncooked flour flavor.
This dish is a definite keeper! I am sure you will see it on my table again soon.