I’ve adjusted my workout and have started going to the gym more frequently. I swear this isn’t just a vapid stealth-bragging campaign. The weight circuit must do something, because when I come home, I’m starving. My schedule is somewhat polarized- either I’ll want to sit in front of an episode of Weeds with a mixing bowl full of cereal, or I’ll be compelled to make an elaborate, four course meal for myself that I’ll eat in a mixing bowl in front of an episode of Weeds. You see the trend.
Tonight’s meal was inspired by tacos. In fact, it is tacos, like 90% of my diet at this point. I received Omission beer in the mail a few days ago and have been looking for an excuse to use it in a recipe. Omission is all gluten-free, and tastes pretty decent. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a rauchbier or craft IPA, but if you’re partial to the flavor of most basic, hoppy beers on the market, it’s a decent substitute. I had a bottle of it while cooking and also used it to make lager-habanero rice (I used jasmine, but adapted the recipe for risotto) to go alongside my ribeye carne asada.
The beer was tough to cook with at first- the alcohol flavor didn’t burn off as quickly as I anticipated it would, and when concentrated, tasted very bitter. I balanced out the flavors with some fire-roasted tomatoes, habanero sauce, a little honey, and some cheddar cheese at the very end and spooned the risotto over some blistered corn tortillas. I still can’t figure out how to get good grill marks on them! Any good tips?
I wanted to give the dish a bit of autumnal flair- I know, I’m the only person in New England still hanging onto dreams of a chilly October. I saw people doing Christmas shopping today, and I just can’t handle it. I added cranberry-studded Wensleydale to the rice and scattered it atop the tacos, along with my quickly-dwindling Frontera cranberry-chipotle salsa. Definitely one I’ll be making again, autumn or not. Next time, I might toss some microgreens or cilantro on there. I always feel like such an asshole when I don’t have any green on my plate, no matter how minute.
Ribeye and habanero-lager risotto tacos
Makes 12 tacos for 4 people and plenty of leftover rice!
12 corn tortillas
2 1/2 lb. ribeye steaks, boneless
3/4 cup of arborio rice
16 oz. Omission lager (or your favorite beer)
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons of butter or bacon fat
4 tablespoons of habanero sauce
1/2 cup of fire-roasted tomatoes (canned is fine)
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 cup shredded cheddar or other cheese
1/4 cup cream or milk
1 teaspoon of honey
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Start the rice in a large saucepan. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter or bacon fat. Once melted and sizzling, toss the rice and garlic in until toasted. Pour in the beer, tomatoes, and habanero sauce.
2. On high heat, allow the rice and beer to simmer until the beer is reduced, roughly 15 minutes. Add the chicken stock in intervals until absorbed. The rice will take roughly 30-45 minutes. It’s finished when it is creamy and toothsome in texture. Take the rice off the heat and add the cheddar, honey, and cream. Stir until combined and heat on low or put in a warm oven to keep warm until serving.
3. On high heat, cook the ribeye steaks as you please- I like to sear mine in a grill pan with butter until they develop a nice crust, then slice them thinly on the bias. No need for anything other than salt and pepper. Blister the tortillas on the same pan you cooked the steaks on until bubbling and pliable, then serve with a heaping pile of rice, salsa, and slices of steak.