Another fine Summer weekend, and I was in the mood for meat. And not just any meat - ribeye. Grilled ribeye. But I didn't want to just grill the ribeye. I wanted to expand my ribeye horizons...to elevate my ribeye range to new heights. A quick email to the Java Junkie solved my dilemma. With lightning speed, she dashed off a recipe for poblano stuffed ribeyes. And she included a decadent bonus bacon studded veggie side dish of her own design to boot!
Time to shop. Ribeye is not cheap, but you do have options if your funds are limited. I just happened to be at the "Big Box Warehouse Store" buying the "Big Bag" of dog food for my canine companions when I remembered there was a "Big Meat" department. As a rule, I don't buy meat there - I just don't consume that much beef. The prices, however, convinced me that putting some steaks in the freezer would be "thrifty" as opposed to spending a big hunk of change at my favorite "Whole Foods Grocery & Pay Check Depository". I even toyed with the idea of buying a rib roast and cutting the steaks myself, but having never attempted to efficiently cut an expensive hunk of beef into smaller slabs of beef, I decided that this would be better suited for a future project. Dog food and steaks in hand, I was off to the preparation stage of my mood fulfillment.
The Java Junkie enjoys a certain friskiness in her cooking, and the recipe she suggested (courtesy of Dave Dewitt of New Mexico) is a prime example. It starts by rubbing a mix of coarsely crushed black, green and white peppercorns into the tender meat. A subsequent bath in a marinade made with a liberal dose of habanero sauce bumps the heat meter up another notch. Not content with just spicing the outside of the meat, she delights in the hiding of a plump, roasted poblano pepper within a little "pocket" cut in the side of the steak. I'm not big on spicy food or, frankly, most of the members of the pepper family, but the Junkie knows my weakness...You guessed it - this fiery little package was wrapped in BACON! I was sold.
Poblano Stuffed Ribeyes
4 bonelesss rib-eye steaks, cut 1 to 2 inches thick
4 green New Mexican chiles, (poblano) roasted, peeled, stemmed, and seeded
4 strips uncooked bacon
2 tablespoons red peppercorns
2 tablespoons white peppercorns
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons habanero sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Slice the steaks horizontally to create a pocket, but do not cut all the way through the steak. Place a green chile into each of the pockets. Wrap a strip of bacon around each steak in the same direction as the pocket and secure with a toothpick.
Wrap the peppercorns in a kitchen towel and with a meat pounder or rolling pin gently pound the peppercorns until coarsely crushed. Press the crushed peppercorns into the sides of each steak. Place the steaks into a non-metallic pan.
To make the marinade: combine the habanero sauce, Worcestershire, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic powder in a bowl. Pour the marinade over the meat, and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.
Preheat the grill and bring the steaks up to room temperature before placing on the grill. Grill the steaks over medium heat for about 12 to 16 minutes for medium-rare or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F.
Place the steaks on individual plates and serve.
Frankly, she's lucky I didn't just fix up a mess of the bonus dish that she didn't even name - she just called it "The Side". My name for it? "Bacon That Deigns To Allow Vegetables To Share The Same Pan". There's really no easier dish. Cook bacon, slice and add veggies, fry until done. Watch even the most ardent veggie hater ask for more. Why is this dish such a winner? Of course, bacon is the easy answer but really it's the bacon in a decadent marriage with sweet Walla Walla onions and sweet corn. The zucchini and yellow squash are just filler, a resourceful cook's strategy to use cheap and plentiful veggies from their gardens. It's the almost caramelized onions with the sweet corn enveloped in the loving embrace of bacon sweat. Don't cheat it though, get the good sweet onions. You'll taste the difference.
6 medium green and yellow zucchini, washed, quartered and then cut diagonally into medium sized chunks
2 red jalapenos, seeded, deveined and finely diced
1 small sweet onion (Walla Walla or Vidalia), diced small
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
12 thick slices pancetta or lean bacon, cut into chunky pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A small bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped, (if you can get flowering thyme, reserve the flowers for garnish)
Heat a very large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a good splash of olive oil and fry the pancetta or bacon until brown and crisp. Add the zucchini, jalapeno, onion and corn and two big pinches of black pepper, not just to season but to give it a bit of a kick. Sprinkle in the thyme leaves, give everything a stir, so the vegetables are coated with the bacon-flavored oil, and fry until zucchini starts to turn lightly golden and has softened slightly, and onions are translucent. Garnish with sprigs of thyme and thyme flowers.
I was sad I was the only one to enjoy this fine meal - but not too sad. Being the guinea pig myself only encourages me to make and share with others to...Enjoy!