Sunday, October 21, 2018

Slow Cooker Carne Asada

Image from Slow Cooker
I love any recipe that is Mexican inspired - especially if it is for flank steak.  This cut of beef has become a lot harder to find in recent years.  I have no idea why.  Fortunately my local Costco offers it in 2 steak packs (about 3 pounds total). You can separate them and freeze one for later or cook them both at the same time and freeze half of the cooked beef for use later.

Flank steak can be tough if not either cut across the grain into thin strips or slow cooked until very tender and shredded with 2 forks. I personally love to do the second, but in the image here from a blog site called Slow Cooker, they gently cross cut the very tender meat.  I love the look of this presentation, but after slow cooking, the meat really falls apart, so it couldn't have been easy. For now I'm sticking with shredding it.

Now for my feedback on the blog's recipe shared below (a few changes which I noted).  This is makes a very, very mild flavoured beef which my husband prefers.  It can be used in burritos, tacos, on rice (drizzled with some of the cooking juices), in taco salads, on top of fries like a poutine, or even in a Mexican inspired casserole. If sliced, you could serve as is.

The sides you choose to top it with can amp up the flavour and/or heat - cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, ripe olives, lime slices to squeeze, salsa of any heat, etc. Or you could adjust the recipe before cooking. I listed a few ideas at the bottom that could be added to the crockpot to bring more flavour or heat.  Enjoy!

Left - the beef shredded with 2 forks *** Right - cooked beef in the crockpot before shredding with 2 forks.

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Slow Cooker Carne Asada

Ingredients

3 lb.       Flank Steak
1/4 C     Olive oil
1/4 C     Orange juice
Juice of one lime about 2 tablespoons
2 tsps     Minced garlic
1 tsp      Chili powder
1/2 tsp   Cumin (original recipe uses 1 tsp)
1 T         Honey (might increase to 2 T next time)
Chopped Cilantro (original recipe was 1 tsp, but I love Cilantro so added about 1/3 C wo 1/2 C stirred the last 30 minutes of cooking) so it was fresher.
Green Onion (this was not in the original recipe, but I added about 1/3 C stirred in the last 30 minutes of cooking). Fresher added then and stays greener for a little colour.

Instructions

If you want to cut the steak into slices like in the photo at the top, add to them to the crockpot whole. If you want to shred the beef after like in the second photo, then cross cut the flank steak into thirds, then add to the crockpot. This will be the length of the beef when shredded so cut into smaller sections if you prefer, but 1/3 cuts work for me.

Whisk together the oil, orange juice, lime juice minced garlic, chili powder, cumin and honey.  Pour over the steak making sure all pieces are covered and cook on low 7-9 hours until tender. I actually mix the pieces of meat up about halfway through, moving those on the bottom to the top and those on the top to the bottom.  Then try to push them all down under the juice as much as possible.

Remove from slow cooker
and slice. Serve immediately or return to slow cooker on keep warm and let soak in juices. OR shred the meat with 2 forks right in the crockpot and leave in the juice until ready to use to keep it moist. I shredded it about 30 minutes before serving and then added the cilantro and green onion to warm them up and cook slightly.

NOTE - Possible additions to crockpot to amp up the flavour or heat include diced jalapenos, pickled jalapenos, a spicier chili powder such as Chipotle, crushed red peppers, a little more honey, maybe orange juice concentrate instead of fresh squeezed, and I even thought about playing around adding a little grated orange and lime grated in. It would help those citrus flavours pop a little more. So play around with this recipe at will. It's a great basic for those wanting a milder taste, but don't be afraid to make it your own. 

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