TV chef Rick Bayless, whose love for Yucatan is well documented, recently posted a video that combines a current pressure-cooker craze with a traditional Yucatecan taco filling.
Tacos de Dzik is basically a shredded beef salad on a tortilla. It begins with two heavily salted skirt steaks that he browns in a non-stick frying pan. He likes the way skirt steak shreds for the salad. He then wraps them in a banana leaf and steams them on a rack with onion, garlic and water. Normally it would take 90 minutes of steaming for the beef to be tender, but in the Instant Pot, it’s more like 20 minutes.
Then he makes the a Xnipec Salsa, beginning with unseeded, unpeeled tomatoes, cut into small pieces. Red onion, chopped and rinsed, chopped radish, chopped cilantro (retaining the stems) and finely minced habanero. Cut out the seed pod and veins if you want to make the habanero less hot. Chef Bayless keeps the mixture hot, however.
In Yucatan, sour orange would be added to the mix. But since he’s broadcasting from Chicago, he uses regular orange juice mixed with lime juice, which is his best attempt at matching the sour orange’s flavor.
In his video, he shows his technique for shredding the beef. You could also use chuck, or any other strongly flavored beef to stand up to the habanero.
“Delicious, unusual flavor, spicy and I think a very satisfying cool taco filling,” is how Bayless describes Tacos de Dzik.
Here’s the recipe:
- 1pound beef skirt steak
- 2tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1small (4-ounce) white onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- A 12-inch-piece banana leaf, defrosted if frozen (optional)
- 16 to 18 corn tortillas
For the salsa:
- 1/2 small (2-ounce) red onion, minced
- 5 tablespoons fresh sour orange juice OR 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 medium (8-ounce) red ripe tomato, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3 radishes, chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 to 1 fresh habanero chile (depending on your preference for heat), seed pod removed, flesh chopped finely
- 6 large sprigs cilantro, chopped (stems and all)
Although this recipe is written for the Instant Pot-style pressure cooker, it can be made by setting up a collapsible steamer in a 4-quart pot. Add the aromatics to 1 inch of water underneath the steamer and steam the meat for an hour or so, until tender. Check the water often; dribble in more if it gets low.
1. The shredded beef. Dry the meat on paper towels and generously season with salt. In a medium-size (8- to 9-inch) heavy skillet set over medium, heat the oil. When very hot, add the meat and brown it thoroughly on all sides, about 10 minutes.
Set up the Instant Pot with about a half inch of water in the bottom and set the steamer rack in place. Add the onion, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt. Loosely wrap the browned meat in the banana leaf (if you have it), place on the steamer rack, secure the lid and set to pressure cook for a 20 minute cycle. Release the steam from the Instant Pot, remove the meat and cool until handleable. Unwrap if shrouded in banana leaf, then use forks or fingers to shred into thin strands. You will have 2 1/2 to 3 cups of meat.
2. Making the Xnipec. Scoop the red onion into a strainer, rinse under cold water, then shake off the excess. Transfer to a large bowl along with the tomatoes, radishes, habanero and cilantro. Add the citrus juice and stir to combine.
3. Finishing the filling. Stir the beef into the xnipec salsa mixture. Taste and season with salt, usually a scant teaspoon.
4. Serving the dzik. Scoop filling on warm tortillas to make soft tacos. If you’d like, garnish with whole leaves of cilantro.