Food & Drink Tuesday, September 20th Words by: Adam Knight, pictures by: Adam Knight

Why steak shouldn't just be for birthdays: Reason #1 - it's always Taco Time

Food & Drink Tuesday, September 20th

Why steak shouldn't just be for birthdays: Reason #1 - it's always Taco Time

(Warning: this article may cause you to become hungry.)

Steak is by consensus, the noblest of meats. In this country especially, we put it up on a little meaty podium and only cook it on birthdays, anniversaries or when we’re trying to impress the father-in-law.

There are many reasons for this – one of the biggies being price. And while I’m not suggesting you switch out your lunchtime cheese and pickle sarnie for a Wagyu fillet, many countries around the world have found ways to get their steak intake up without breaking the bank.

You can sit down to a midday bavette steak with some frites in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, or grab a Philly cheesesteak before a 76ers game – so why isn’t steak part of your Monday-to-Friday rotation, right here in the spiritual home of Beef?

We asked that question of Clint Webbe, who heads up the kitchen for street food supremos Mad Snacks, currently in residence at Hereford’s Firefly.

And it turns out that it is.

Of course it is.

Clint spends hours of his day smoking meat, brazing meat doing whatever he does to the ‘fly’s brisket chilli burritos that leaves you willing to trade in your grandma in for seconds. In hindsight, we felt a little silly for asking.

So instead, we got Clint to show us how to knock up some of his World Famous steak tacos. A quick, easy – and cheap – way of cooking up some knock-your-socks off midweek steak.

Here’s his recipe*.

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(*although if you want to try the real deal, get down to the Firefly – especially on Taco Tuesdays)

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"I think people love the steak tacos because, let's face it, steak and chips is boring and has been done over and over. I also like that it's a way you can eat steak, and not pay loads for it! It's casual, it's easy and it's so good!"

Clint's method:

"Make up your marinade. Take the dark brown sugar, chilli flakes, half the coriander, 1 lime (squeezed) and your soy sauce and get it into a bowl or container. You're gonna put the steak in there so make sure there's room, nobody wants soy sauce all over the bottom of their fridge!

"Get that steak portioned evenly into 6. We are gonna chop this bad boy up afterwards, but it's a lot easier to cook it to the right temperature in bigger pieces. Once portioned, marinate it in (guess what?) our marinade we made earlier. Overnight is best but at least 2 hours in advance if you're in a pinch.

"Next we are gonna make our tacos, now there's tons of recipes for these, and here in the uk it's quite hard to find decent ingredients, so for ease we use soft wheat tortillas, and cut them to size. You can use a big cookie cutter, or just freestyle it, don't worry about it being perfectly round, hell, even do them square if you want!

"So now you've got your tortillas and your steak ready you're gonna want some salsa and guac, no taco is complete without them.

"You can buy your salsa and guac from a shop if you want, however we prefer to make our own, there's loads of great recipes for these, and it really depends on your taste so experiment and don't be scared, it's super easy to make both.

(To make Clint's own salsa and guac,  scroll down, both are at the bottom of the page)

"Okay so you've got everything ready and you have popped open a beer (if you haven't, then get one quick!) it's time to get this all together!

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"Get a pan on the stove, or a griddle if you have one and get it hot, a medium to hot temperature should be great. You want to sear these so they get a nice crispy texture on the outside but still stay nice and medium rare in the middle. Get your pieces of steak out, season them with salt and pepper and get them in the pan, do it in two batches if there's not enough room, you don't wanna put too many in there at a time otherwise they will start swimming and create too much moisture and won't get that nice crust on the outside I was talking about.

"Once they are cooked, take them off and set them aside, you don't want to cut into them straight away. If you do that all of those hot juices that are wooshing around inside the steak will just spill out everywhere and you end up with a limp grey piece of beef. Nobody wants that.

"Whilst you're resting your steak, get your tacos warmed, either in the microwave or the oven or even in a pan on the stove, you don't want them crispy, just warm.

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"Now it's just putting it all together! Chop your steak up into bitesize chunks, cram it into your tortillas, pile high with guac, salsa, sour cream or whatever your heart desires, and then finish it off with a nice squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of chopped coriander.

"We love to eat these with friends, beers and listening to Mariachi el Bronx, and we think you would like that too, so give it a go and let us know what you think!"

 
 

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To make Clint's Pico de Gallo (around 500g):

"Okay so die hard Pico De Gallo makers out there will tell you that this isn’t exactly classic pico,
as we are gonna cook some of it. However I think it makes it way better and gives it more of an
intense tomato flavour.

"So first of all you are going to take all of your tomatoes and chop them into quarter wedges.
Then take a knife and remove the seeds and pulp from the tomato leaving just the flesh and
skin, Don’t throw away that pulp!

"When you have all of your pulp, put those into a pan and get them simmering and reducing on
the stove on a low heat, keep an eye on it though, as I am forever burning them!

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"Next you are gonna want to dice those tomatoes up into about half a centimetre size, depending
on how you like it. Dice your red onions the same size and combine them in a bowl with all 3 of
your limes squeezed.

"Remove your coriander stalks and chuck them into your pan of tomatoes that should be
bubbling away nicely, then finely chop the leaves of your coriander with your garlic and get
those into your bowl.

"Once the tomato pulp has reduced to roughly half, add in your balsamic (just a little dash) and
season it well with salt and pepper. You’re gonna need to let that cool down off the stove, so
now's the perfect time to have a beer.

"Once cool, blend your pulp until smooth and add it into your diced tomatoes and other bits. Give
it a good mix around and your Pico De Gallo is done! Get it on some taco’s right away!"

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And Clint's guac (again, to make around 500g):

"First of all you are gonna want to get that avocado goodness out of the skin, simply cut around
your avocado completely, give it a twist, yank the seed out and scoop it out with a spoon. Get 3
scooped out and into a bowl, but set 3 aside.

"Next you need to roughly chop your garlic, chilli peppers, coriander and mint. Remember to take
the leaves from the stalks of your mint and coriander before you chop it, the stalks will add a
more bitter taste.

"Get all of your chopped ingredients into the bowl with the 3 avocados and blend with a stick
blender until smooth.

"Now you want to chop your tomatoes and your 3 remaining avocados into roughly 1cm size and
put them into your bowl. Give your pistachios a good crush up and add them into the bowl too,
with all 3 of your limes squeezed. The lime will prevent the guacamole from turning a brown
colour from oxidization.

"Give it all a good mix and get it put into some ‘Killa Tacos of your own!"

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 You can check out the full Mad Snacks menu at The Firefly on King Street in Hereford, or if you're in Worcester Clint also has a residency at The Firefly there.

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