Thursday, May 23, 2013

Carne asada stuffed potatoes

carne asada stuffed potatoes
In Southern California, there’s a dish called carne asada fries. It’s a pile of French fries topped with carne asada, cheese, and a variety of other toppings, such as sour cream and salsa. While I’ve sadly not had the pleasure of eating these, my friends who live in Southern California tell me that they’re good. Very, very good in fact. I’ve been eager to try them.

That said, since I have no immediate plans to travel to Southern California but do plan to visit Texas this summer, I began asking around to see if these fries were offered in our great state. Unfortunately, however, my search only turned up one place that had them—a California-style Mexican restaurant in Arlington. After that, I came up with nothing.

To me this seemed a little strange. Texans love meat and Texans love potatoes—why wasn’t this combination more common? Sure, in Texas you’ll often find chili cheese fries, of which I am a fan. But I had a craving for the combination of steak with guacamole, cheese, with potatoes, not chili and cheese.

Then, as I was trying to figure out why I couldn’t find the fries in Texas, I came across something even better: baked potatoes stuffed with carne asada. And this dish, often called simply papa asada, is found all over the state—from El Paso to the Valley, from San Antonio to Dallas.

carne asada marinade

The most common spots offering the carne asada stuffed baked potato are taquerias that specialize in grilled meats, such as the pollo asado joints like El Pollo Regio and/or taquerias that have roots in Northern Mexico, such as Taco Tote or Taco Palenque. Though the more I searched, the more I found it on a host of menus—clearly I just hadn’t been looking for the right dish.

Carne asada is typically a grilled beef dish, even though its literal translation from Spanish is roasted meat. To make carne asada, the beef, which is usually flank steak or skirt steak, spends some time in a lively marinade made with citrus, garlic, cilantro, and chiles. Then the steaks are usually grilled.

As I live in a small apartment without a yard and grill, to make my carne asada I had to make do with my cast-iron skillet and my broiler. That said my scorching skillet and broiler’s flames do make for a juicy, flavorful steak.

To complete the dish, I then split open some baked Russet potatoes and layered in some cheddar cheese so it would make contact with the steamy skin and melt. I topped that with slices of my carne asada and finished with generous helpings of guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo. I might be prone to exaggeration, but believe me when I say this carne asada stuffed potato was probably the best baked potato that I’d ever had.

carne asada stuffed potatoes

While I realize that some purists may take umbrage with my using my skillet and oven for carne asada, after taking a bite I didn’t hear one complaint. And of course, this marinade works just as well with steaks thrown on the grill. Though no matter how you cook your carne asada, I highly recommend adding it to a baked potato with all of these Tex-Mex fixings. It makes for a fine snack or starter if you have a large appetite, though it's also a very satisfying main dish.

Carne asada stuffed potatoes

For the carne asada:
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 jalapeƱos, seeded, stemmed, and chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of cayenne
1 (2-2 1/2 pounds) flank steak
1 teaspoon butter

For the potatoes:
4 Russet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
Guacamole, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
Pico de gallo, for serving

To make the carne asada marinade, place in a blender the garlic, jalapeƱos, lime juice, orange juice, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, cilantro, oregano, salt, allspice, and cayenne. Blend until well combined. Place the flank steak in a food-safe, non-reactive storage container and pour over it the marinade, evenly coating the meat. Let the meat marinate for at least 4 hours but no longer than 24.

To make the potatoes, preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Pierce the potatoes in several spots with a fork, and stir together the olive oil and salt, and then evenly spread over the potatoes. Place the potatoes on the sheet and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until they’re soft and can easily be pierced with a fork.

About 30 minutes into the potato-baking time, remove the flank steak from the refrigerator and the marinade, blot the surface of the steak with a paper towel to remove any excess liquid, and allow it to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Once the potatoes are done, remove from the oven and then turn on the broiler. To cook the steak, heat on high a large, ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron. When a dab of water dropped into the skillet sizzles, add the butter and as soon as it melts, add the steak. Cook the steak for 2 minutes and then flip it and cook for 2 more minutes on the other side. Remove the skillet from the stove and then slide it under the broiler, cooking the steak in the oven 1 minute for medium rare, 2-3 minutes for medium.

Take the steak out of the oven and then remover it from the skillet, allowing it to rest on a plate or platter for 10 minutes. To serve, slice the steak into thin, long slices against the grain of the meat, and then chop these into bite-sized pieces.

To assemble the carne asada potatoes, take a potato, slice it lengthwise across the top and open it, fill it with cheese, then top with the carne asada steak, guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo, serving with any additional guacamole or pico on the side.

Note: To cook this on the grill, after it comes to room temperature, cook for a few minutes on each side until it’s your preferred doneness. The potatoes can also be cooked on the grill, though I’d wrap them in foil first.

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29 comments:

Dan from Platter Talk said...

These look fantastic and I can't wait to give this recipe a try! Wonderful post!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Dan-Thanks, hope you enjoy them!

Esmer said...

Whoa! This looks DE-licious! Trying this very soon!

Tara said...

Holy crap. That looks delicious. Pretty sure I have to go to the grocery store RIGHT NOW so I can make it, well, tomorrow I guess, so the meat can marinate.

MaryAnn said...

That looks fabulous. How many servings would you say it would make as a main course? (I'm looking to cut it down to two.)

Queen of Dishing said...

Apparently there is a place in Vegas (a pretty authentic taco place-no one there spoke English) but they have the Asada Fries and they looked amazing! It's called Tacos el Gordo.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Esmer---Enjoy!

Tara--Get going!

MaryAnn--It makes four servings, but you could just bake two potatoes and then have some leftover meat for tacos or eggs.

Queen of Dishing--Thanks for the tip!

Celeste said...

Baked potatoes will keep hot for a long time if you want to feed these to a crowd. I think it sounds delicious. When I lived in Idaho one of the restaurants in the mall food court served all kinds of sauced meats on top of a baked potato. Here in Ohio a Greek place I like serves gyros on top of a baked potato. I love a baked potato meal; I always think of these meals when I hear "loaded baked potato" but of course those just have extra garnishes to fancy up a side dish. Anyhow, looks delicious!

Grandbabycakes said...

This dish is definitely calling my name!!!! Gosh this looks so delish!

Sarah said...

Oh man, is there anything better than the starchy fluffy carb fest of a baked potato? No ma'am. No there is not.

Ryan said...

Super Burrito here in Austin has a burrito called the "San Diego" with carne asada, french fries, pico de gallo, cheese, guacamole and sour cream. They will make you a pile of carne asada fries if you ask.

Michaela said...

My first encounter of this as a Texas native (now living in Davis, CA) was Barbeque Stuffed Potatoes, which I've been craving lately.

These look equally as good and I can't wait to try them.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Celeste--That Greek potato sounds wonderful!

Grandbabycakes--Glad to hear that this dish is saying howdy to you!

Sarah--I agree and I don't eat them often enough.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Ryan--Thanks for the tip! Next time I'm in Austin I'll have to pay Super Burrito a visit.

Michaela--I'm a big fan of barbecue stuffed potatoes.

Ali G said...

Going to get some flank or skirt if I can find it here. I NEED to make this. Thanks!

Kevin Lynch said...

What a great way to stuff potatoes!

awienerdoginthekitchen.com said...

Hey Lisa, I LOVE stuffed potatoes and Carne Asada, so I can just imagine how wonderfully these two pair together!! YUM! I'm in the Dallas area, so I'll have to look up that restaurant in Arlington you mentioned since that's just a short drive from home.

Sisker said...

Lisa: Congratulations on making the Wall Street Journal today. Article is on Cookbook Book Clubs.

Kay

Rooney said...

Congrats Lisa. Well-deserved, great publicity. Finally the Wall Street Journal wrote something I agree with!

Kelly said...

I often make potatoes stuffed with carnitas (with healthy doses of guacamole, cheddar cheese, and sour cream), so your take with the carne asada seems right up my alley! I recently had carne asada fries and they are truly a thing of beauty, but RICH. I suspect these are a better balance of savory meat to fluffy potato. Yum!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Oh those look wonderful! All my favs in one lovely package...

Rebecca said...

When I was growing up in Houston, the big thing at the barbeque joints was chopped barbeque beef brisket in largest baked potato you could find. I loved it so much because in true Texas style you got not only bbq brisket and potatoes, but also cheese, butter and sour cream. What more could a kid want. I think they have sort of faded out of popularity, but I make them at home still (minus the copious amounts of butter, and sour cream).

deceiverofmen said...

In San Francisco those fries are called california nachos (irish nachos sometimes on new york bar menus). They aren't limited to carne asada though. Also, a california burrito is a burrito with french fries inside.

southernspoonbelle said...

Made these these last weekend and they were amazing! That meat marinade is spot-on. We made kale and carne asada quesadillas the next night with the leftovers. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

Shelley said...

Best California chain cheese fries?

I'm starting to get hungry for them and I haven't even had breakfast....

{Ashley} said...

I love anything put on top of a potato. Especially spicy meat or beans! Comfort food at it's best.

Linda Texas said...

I live in San Antonio and we have a restaurant called Los Robertos Taco Shop that serves asada fries. Delicious!

V Stewart said...

We have Carne Asada Fries here in Utah, they are divine! :-D We love them so much we make them at home. It's really just your recipe with the steak chopped up when you cook it. Everything else is the same right down to the toppings. Off topic, just found your blog thanks so much, my godmother was from the south so this California girl grew up eating food from every where and chicken fried steak is the bomb! Thanks for a real recipe.

Anonymous said...

Next time you're in San Antonio, Texas, you can get Carne Asada Fries at Los Robertos! My boyfriend is a California transplant and he insists we go to this cali style taco shop once a week.

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