Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Grilled chile-glazed tri-tip and green rice
I always have my eyes peeled for interesting things to stick on the grill. Chicken breasts slathered in barbecue sauce and ribeyes are great... once a summer. I need variety. I need seafood on my grill and strange complicated sausages and anything you can stab with a skewer. Variety! The spice of life and crap!
Admittedly, this isn't the wildest thing my grill has ever seen. It's just a hunk of beef. The tri-tip (also known as triangle, culotte, and bottom sirloin steak, and many others I'm sure) is one marvelous cut of cow. Well-marbled, but not fatty. Tender, but still extremely flavorful. And affordable to boot! They also come in a convenient array of sizes; you can get a huge whole tri-tip and feed a dozen people or a little 1 or 2 pounder to feed just a few. Apparently it's also the cut of choice for chili contest enthusiasts. Long story short, if you haven't grilled one before, pick one up. It's impossible to mess up. Well, don't burn it. But other than that you'll be fine.
This rice is outstanding. It only takes a smidgen more effort than just boiling plain rice. I adapted it (for simplicity) from a Rick Bayless recipe. I was accidentally short one poblano pepper when I went to make it, so I added two seeded jalapenos and actually think I like it better this way. It was certainly spicy but not exceedingly so, just the right amount of heat (of course, this all depends on your jalapenos. I like to test their hotness by rubbing my thumb on a cut side and licking it. If you can barely taste any heat, it's mild. If it's seriously spicy... I think you know where I'm going with this. And you'll be grateful you didn't lick the pepper directly. Now wash your hands!) It's a great recipe to make ahead and reheat before serving, since it's fairly sticky and gluey whether you serve it immediately or hours later.
So, Everyday Foods published this recipe for chile sauce in the June issue, with suggestions to paint steaks and ribs with it. It called for a couple of ancho chiles, but did not specify whether those should be of the dried or fresh kind (poblanos, which I love). I gambled and went fresh. Upon comparison of my sauce's rather green appearance and the picture in the magazine and a little googling, I think they're only called ancho chilis when they're dried. My sauce also seemed pretty loose, so I cooked it down for 20 minutes after pureeing. And then, it was pretty good! A little ketchup-y when I tasted it raw, but that wasn't noticeable at all once caramelized onto the meat. And you can really taste the fresh chiles, which I love. So, the choice is yours. I only used about half and froze the rest.
I served to a very happy carnivore with my favorite green beans.
2 poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped (do 3 peppers at once, because you need 1 for the rice)
2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped (do 4 of these, because you will use 2 for the rice)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp unsulfured molasses
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about half an orange worth)
1-2 lb tri-tip
1 poblano pepper, prepped above
2 jalapeno peppers, prepped above
1/2 a small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
big handful of cilantro
1/2 cup of white rice
low-sodium chicken stock
how to make the green beans
For the chile sauce, simmer the one poblano and two jalapeno peppers in a little bit of water until softened, which won't take more than 10 minutes. Drain and pop them into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients as well as a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and puree until smooth. If you use fresh peppers like I did, you'll probably want to pop it back into the saucepan in which you cooked the peppers to reduce for another 20 minutes or so, until thick and glossy. Set aside.
Get your grill on nice and high. Rinse and pat dry the meat, then rub with a drizzle of vegetable oil and a heavy sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on all sides. When the grill is hot, plop your tri-tip up on there and set a timer for 10 minutes. Obviously, this depends on the size of your cut - these are the times I used for my 1.5 lb roast, for medium doneness. Go a little longer for bigger ones, shorter for smaller.
In a small pot, begin to saute your peppers, onion, and garlic for the rice. Once softened, add the cilantro and about a cup of chicken stock. If you have an immersion blender, jam that sucker in there and puree everything (carefully). If you don't, you'll have to pour it out into your food processor, puree, and pour back into the pot (carefully). Once back to a boil, add the rice and a pinch of kosher salt. Now, I just keep stirring and adding chicken stock as I go until the rice is cooked - it seems to take somewhere in the realm of two cups of stock. Just keep adding a splash and tasting like you would with risotto. When it's done, take it off the heat and pop on a lid to keep warm.
Somewhere while you were doing that, the timer went off and you flipped your tri-tip. Then you reset the timer for another 10 minutes. When it goes off, slather the top side with sauce and flip it for a couple of minutes. Slather up the other side and turn back over one more time. You can do this a few times if you want as long as you start while the meat is more rare, or it'll overcook. Wouldn't that suck? I was hungry, so I only basted it once all around, but next time I'd like to make the flavor a little stronger with a few coats.
When your meat is done, make sure you let it rest in a plate on the counter covered in foil for 10 minutes before you slice to let the juices redistribute. Arrange artfully on plates as if you know what the hell you're doing.