I love recreating restaurant meals at home. Especially, quite frankly, when I think there’s 1 or 6 small changes that could make the dish even better in our eyes. This is one of those meals.
Recently, I had a dish called steak ranchero at a Mexican restaurant. It had all the potential in the world, but needed, in my opinion, 1 change: a thicker, higher-quality cut of beef. So, I took matter into my own hands.
Ingredients for steak ranchero
2 strip steaks, about 1 ½ inches thick (I used Certified Angus Beef brand from the butcher's case.)
1 cup hot green salsa (I got mine from a local restaurant, but you can also make your own or use store-bought.)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
Directions for steak ranchero
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heat an oven-safe skillet (I used cast iron) over medium-high heat. Melt butter.
Season steaks with salt and pepper.
Add steaks to skillet and cook 5 minutes per side, or until just seared.
Pour salsa over steaks and transfer to oven.
Cook another 10 minutes or until they reach desired doneness. Pour extra salsa from the skillet over the steaks or serve on the side. Serve with refried beans (recipe follows for homemade, or use store-bought) and flour tortillas.
Ingredients for refried beans
1 pound dried pinto beans
4 ounces salt pork, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
Salt to taste
½ cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
Directions for refried beans
The night before you want to cook your red beans, soak them in water. The next morning, drain and rinse.
Add beans, salt pork, garlic and chili powder to large pot. Cover with water.
Boil about 2 hours over medium heat or until tender.
Beans should always be completely covered with water so if you need to add a little while they cook, do so — but be sure you add hot water.
Add jalapeno, cilantro and salt, and then reduce heat to low and simmer another 30 minutes or even all day.
When you’re ready to refry them, heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Melt the butter.
Drain beans, removing broth, salt pork and jalapeno slices.
Add beans to hot skillet and mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. Cook about 3- to 5- minutes. If desired, you can sprinkle them with a little shredded cheese and allow it to melt.
*Red bean recipe courtesy Tom Perini and from “Cooking the Cowboy Way” by Grady Spears. Refrying goodness courtesy of Katrina and Google.