Summer Gatherings and Skirt Steak Tacos

Deck (1 of 1)

Glancing into the backyard all that remained from our barbecue was a full heart and a deck scattered with tables and chairs like a restaurant patio. Few leftovers marked the occasion of friends gathered around tables under a stormy sky. Yes, rain. Ugh. I’m not even sure how many times we hauled cushions back and forth. Finally, we just left them piled inside and pulled bare metal chairs into a tight circle, reluctant to trust the sun-rain-sun-wind-sun-rain-sun pattern. It’s Colorado, we’re used to unpredictable weather.

Breaking bread (or tacos) out on our deck with people we hold dear is the best of summer for me.  

Ordinarily these casual summer gatherings are pot-luck affairs, everyone brings a favorite dish to share saving the host a few steps and I’m good with that. This barbecue was different, a personal celebration of being able to host and cook for my friends without feeling overwhelmed by all the gardening, cleaning, planning, shopping, cooking and clean-up. It was a confirmation of health and healing—relishing energy I hadn’t had in so long I’d almost forgotten what it was like. Of course, it wasn’t something to announce or make a big deal about, but I knew, like finding money in an old coat pocket.

It’s normal practice in the days just before a party to find a quiet restaurant to review our list, count our accomplishments, and finalize the menu—a glass of wine and someone else’s menu was a nice reprieve. I asked Matt if he was good with everything, his list as long as mine with yard work and heavy lifting, so really it was more of an “are you okay I drug you into this” question.

“Our friends are worth it,” he says to me. I agreed and turned to the menu …

Chile-Lime Skirt Steak and Buttermilk-Cilantro Skirt Steak Tacos (recipes below)
Guacamole
Chips & Primo Salsa
Mango Salsa
Habanero-Cilantro Sauce
Hummus & Veg Tray
Grilled Vidalia Onions (didn’t end up happening)
Southwest Cauliflower Salad
Spring Greens with Orange-Dijon Vinaigrette
Sliced Watermelon
Apple Pie w/ Vanilla Ice Cream
Ghirardelli Brownies

Most of this menu was prepped in advance and skirt steak takes just minutes to cook, which means we enjoyed lots of time with our guests instead of fussing over the food. I broke my ‘don’t do new’ motto (it’s risky making untested recipes for a crowd), but everything turned out fabulous and now I can share them with you. The Mango Salsa and Southwest Cauliflower Salad recipes will be along shortly, today it’s all about the meat—skirt steak tacos for a crowd.

Chile-Lime Skirt Steak Tacos |Savoring Today

Chile-Lime Skirt Steak Tacos


Chile-Lime Skirt Steak Tacos
is a tried and true recipe adapted from a Test Kitchen Tuesday series we did years ago, and love. The ancho and chipotle chile powders create a balanced, mid-level spice, suitable for most palates. Keep the spice in the medium range by topping it with pico de gallo, or boost the heat with Habanero-Cilantro Sauce like we do. Palm sugar brings harmony to assertive lime juice and liquid smoke, all of which works beautifully with the beefiness of skirt steak. Really, who wants ground beef tacos when you can shove chile-spiced steak in a tortilla?!

4.6 from 5 reviews
Chile-Lime Skirt Steak Tacos
 
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Grilled chile-lime marinated skirt steak with a medium heat spice ideal for stuffing tacos.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish, Beef
Cuisine: Southwest
Serves / Yields: 4-5
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons garlic -- minced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar -- or brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke flavoring
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil -- or avocado oil
  • 1½ pounds skirt steak
Garnishes:
  • 2 cups cabbage -- shaved or thinly sliced on a mandoline -or- Rainbow Slaw (below)
  • 2 whole avocado -- sliced for garnish
  • 1 whole lime -- sliced into wedges for garnish
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Habanero-Cilantro Taco Sauce
  • Corn Tortillas
Instructions
  1. In a gallon-sized Ziploc® bag combine all the dry spices, sugar, salt and pepper. Add the lime juice, liquid smoke, oil, and fresh garlic and shake or massage the bag with your hands until well blended and sugar is mostly dissolved. Add the steak to the bag making sure the marinade covers all of the steak. Seal the bag and let the steak marinate in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours, or up to 24 hours. An hour before grilling, remove the steak from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
  2. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Grill the steak over med-high heat until seared on the outside and medium-rare within, about 5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the steak (thinner steak will take less time). Transfer the steak to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Thinly slice the steak, cutting across the grain--you may need to rotate the steak and cut from another edge if the strips get too long (it's okay if the pieces aren't exactly the same size). Serve in warm tortillas and garnish with cabbage, fresh avocado, Pico de Gallo, Habanero-Cilantro Taco Sauce, and fresh lime wedges.
Notes & Suggestions
The steak is medium spiced to allow for added heat with the pico or habanero sauce. For spicier steak, increase chipotle chile powder or add cayenne for intense heat.

*Prep time includes marinating time.

 

Buttermilk-Cilantro Skirt Steak Tacos | Savoring Today

Buttermilk-Cilantro Skirt Steak Tacos


Buttermilk-Cilantro Skirt Steak Tacos
 was well received by our “black pepper is too spicy” friends, as well as everyone else who tried it (here’s the recipe as promised). This recipe is also ideal for kids, though most of our friends are past that stage in life. As much as everyone liked it, I do wish I had made it at least once prior to this party so I would have known not to add the cilantro in with the rest of the ingredients in the blender as the original recipe video indicated. It turned the meat sort of green, which was not appealing to me even though it boasted a great flavor.

I was pleased to find the recipe works just as well adding the cilantro after the blending is done. As you can see in the photos, the cilantro continued to cling to the meat all the way through grilling, slicing, and serving. The garlic and green onion are reminiscent of buttermilk ranch dressing, yet hints of fresh cilantro and earthy cumin will remind you it belongs in a tortilla.

Adapted from: Cilantro-Buttermilk Skirt Steak – Everyday Food with Sarah Carey

4.6 from 5 reviews
Buttermilk-Cilantro Skirt Steak Tacos
 
Prep time
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A mildly seasoned, flavorful skirt steak to please the non-spicy crowd and safe for kids.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish, Beef
Cuisine: American
Serves / Yields: 4-5
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup green onions -- coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup cilantro -- chopped
  • 1½ - 2 pounds skirt steak -- cut into managable pieces, 6-8 inches long
  • 12 tortillas
  • Rainbow Slaw (recipe below)
  • Habanero-Cilantro Taco Sauce
  • Primo Salsa
  • lime wedges -- for garnish
  • sliced avocado -- for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a blender, combine buttermilk, onion, garlic, oregano, corander, cumin, cardamom, salt, and pepper -- blend well. Pour buttermilk mixture into a gallon-sized Ziploc® bag with the cilantro and massage bag to mix.
  2. Add skirt steak to the marinade in the bag making sure to coat steak. Remove as much air from bag as possible and lay in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours, or up to 24 hours, rotating bag occasionally to be sure steak is well covered.
  3. An hour before grilling, remove the steak from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Grill the steak over med-high heat until seared on the outside and medium-rare within, about 5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the steak (thinner steak will take less time). Transfer the steak to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Thinly slice the steak, cutting across the grain--you may need to rotate the steak and cut from another edge if the strips get too long (it's okay if the pieces aren't exactly the same size). Serve in warm tortillas and garnish with cabbage, fresh avocado, salsa, Habanero-Cilantro Taco Sauce, and fresh lime wedges.
Notes & Suggestions
*Prep time includes marinating time.
Skirt steak cooks quickly, so it is best to have the garnishes and side dishes done before cooking the steak.

 

Rainbow Slaw for Tacos

Rainbow Slaw for Tacos

4.6 from 5 reviews
Rainbow Slaw
 
Prep time
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Colorful slaw to use as a garnish for steak tacos or mix with a dressing as a side dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves / Yields: 2½ cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup green cabbage -- thinly sliced
  • 1 cup purple cabbage -- thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot -- grated
  • ⅓ cup cilantro -- chopped
  • ¼ cup scallions -- green tops only
  • ½ lime -- or about 2 teaspoons lime juice
Instructions
  1. Hand toss the ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed. Squeeze lime over the slaw a couple of times as you mix again to coat slaw. Serve right away.

Buttermilk-Cilantro Skirt Steak Tacos | Savoring TodayButtermilk-Cilantro Skirt Steak -- Tablescape |Savoring Today

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22 Responses to Summer Gatherings and Skirt Steak Tacos

  1. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef July 3, 2014 at 2:07 am #

    WHAT a party! Too bad about the rain/no-rain but you certainly made it a festive occasion.
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef recently posted..Baked Alaska for the 4th of JulyMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 4, 2014 at 8:14 am #

      Thanks Maureen, it was a great party even with the rain — crowding inside just got everyone closer to the food. ;)

  2. mimi July 3, 2014 at 6:57 am #

    This is exactly what I like to make for summer get-togethers. I think I love it best because people can make up their own tacos from the taco “bar.” Beautiful pics!
    mimi recently posted..A Chopped SaladMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 4, 2014 at 8:16 am #

      Hi Mimi, you are right, taco bar parties are quite simple and everyone gets exactly what they want. :)

  3. Colline July 3, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Those look like no other tacos I have seen. Looks delicious.
    Colline recently posted..Airport AnglesMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 4, 2014 at 8:17 am #

      Hi Colline, thanks for stopping by and commenting, I do hope you try these! :)

  4. A Canadian Foodie July 3, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    I am so IN!
    This is a fantastic recipe and your menu looks quite simple. But the yard work – and that yard… it is stunning! I love gardening. Next time, remember to take a photo JUST before the guests arrive… that is always my favourite moment.
    I usually sousvide my flank steak (or skirt steak) and it is almost too delicious to share! (wicked laugh). We are actually cooking Mexican on Sunday with a Mexican cheffing friend – just for fun – but can’t add this to the menu now – that is a learn to cook traditional Mexican Food Day.
    This recipe, however – is ON THE LIST.
    :)
    Valerie
    A Canadian Foodie recently posted..Eureka Black Garlic Butter on Alberta BeefMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 4, 2014 at 8:23 am #

      Aw, thanks Valerie! You are right about getting photos just before guests arrive, it is an ideal moment. I have always wanted to try sousvide (I don’t have a sousvide machine, though I understand you can do it without one), but it is so hard to put down my grilling tongs long enough — maybe this winter. It sounds like you are going to have a super fun Sunday! I can’t wait to read all about it. :)

  5. John@Kitchen Riffs July 3, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    The only downside to our house is it doesn’t really have a good spot for outdoor entertaining. The upside is the rain/no rain problem never happens to us. The downside, of course, is all of our entertaining is indoors. But we manage. ;-) Sounds like a great party, and you had some great dishes (love that slaw).
    John@Kitchen Riffs recently posted..The Sherry Cobbler CocktailMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 4, 2014 at 8:28 am #

      Hi John, yes we’ve been there too. When we lived in CA our backyard was way at the back of house, far from the kitchen, which made it awkward to take the party outside. The important thing is to party-on, make good use of what you have and enjoy great food with friends — I’m sure they are delighted to pull a chair up to your table no matter where it is. :)

  6. Ingrid July 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    Looks delicious. Good thing I don’t know where you live or I would have been so there to imbibe in the festivities and food. I’ll definitely be giving these marinades a try :-)
    Ingrid recently posted..Isn’t romance wonderful?My Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 4, 2014 at 8:30 am #

      Ha! That made me laugh, though we always have room for one more! Hope you enjoy the marinades. :)

  7. Greg July 5, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    Those looks awesome. Hope you had a great fourth.
    Greg recently posted..Black Bean Salad with Cucumber and TomatoMy Profile

  8. Carol at Wild Goose Tea July 5, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    The menu was awesome of course, but the thrust of the post of your energy level etc was the heart of it. Entertaining is a big job. I am trying to let go of some of what I consider ‘have to’s’ and just be more casual. Some of the tasks I feel I must accomplish are items I don’t even notice at other people’s homes. I only care about the joy and fun of being together. I love having people over in my back garden—sharing natures beauty as well as her bounty.
    Carol at Wild Goose Tea recently posted..Making the Moves with a Cocoa Mambo Carrot CakeMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 5, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

      Hi Carol, you are right, it takes a lot of effort. It took me years to let go of perfectionism that made it even harder to relax and enjoy (something I think everyone deals with in some way). The joy of being together is what matters anyway. Any effort we put into the garden we enjoy while serving friends and every other day of summer — so worth it.

  9. karen (Back Road Journal) July 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    Your outdoor celebration must have been a huge hit with your friends. The food would certainly make me happy.
    karen (Back Road Journal) recently posted..Maine, Where Memories Are MadeMy Profile

  10. Pat July 7, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    It all looks delicious! I am in the Puget Sound, WA area and we are used to getting a little or a lot of rain here. Sounds like you had a great party anyway. Nice job with the photos! That hunk of beef on the grill looks awfully good!

  11. Raymund July 8, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    Glad to see skirt steak here, I love this cut they are so flavourful and if done right they are tender. Very underrated cut of meat.
    Raymund recently posted..Mapo TofuMy Profile

  12. Raymund July 8, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    By the way FYI the rating on mobile looks like its not working correctly, it prevents me in giving a 5 :(
    Raymund recently posted..Mapo TofuMy Profile

  13. mjskit July 9, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    What a fun time and great menu! Love both of these skirt steak recipes! I do flank steak a lot, but have never tried skirt steak. I don’t see it around her much. Need to find it and see the difference. Love the tacos you made with it.
    mjskit recently posted..Spicy Mint Pesto with Grilled Lamb ChopsMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

      Hi MJ, I think you’d love skirt steak — great beefy flavor and quick to cook.

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