Puerto Rican Vinegar-Braised Flank Steak with Cabbage, Corn and Yucca Salad

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Popular in Latin America, braising creates tender, mouthwatering meat that complements this fresh, bright salad. Serve with beans, tropical fruit and fried plantains* for a colorful, complete meal.


Spice Rub
2 T garlic, minced
2 T cumin, ground
1 T red pepper flakes
1 1/2 T each kosher salt, black pepper and brown sugar

Beef and Braise
2 lb skirt steak**
3 T olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
3 whole cloves
1 c red wine vinegar
12 oz beer (lager)
salt and pepper to taste

Caribbean Salad
1 jicama, peeled & diced***
3 ears corn, husked
1/2 head white cabbage, cored and shredded
4 scallions (white and green parts), diced
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into strips
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin strips
1/4 c fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped


Preheat oven to 325. Pat meat dry, combine rub ingredients and massage into meat; marinate at least 4 hrs. In a large roasting pan or pot, heat olive oil until hot (not smoking) and sear meat well on both sides. Transfer to a platter to rest.

Leave 2 T oil in pot (add if needed). Add onions, celery and carrot. Cook until they have some color. Add beef, bay leaves, cloves, vinegar and beer. Bring to a simmer, cover tightly and place in oven. Braise until fork tender (approx. 2 hrs).

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add corn for 3 min, remove and shock under cold water. Cut kernels from corn and set aside.

When meat is done, remove from pot. Strain cooking liquid into a saucepan, discard solids and remove fat. Gently reduce sauce to a thin syrup, add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine corn, jicama, cabbage, scallion, bell pepper and carrot. Whisk 1/3 c of the reserved cooking liquid with olive oil, lime juice, cilantro and a pinch of salt and pepper. Combine with salad.

Shred beef and mix with remainder of the syrup. Arrange meat atop salad and serve with lime wedges.

* For plantains, simply peel, slice, fry in hot canola oil and season with salt to taste. Serve immediately.

** Skirt steak is the best cut of meat for this recipe. Flank steak, brisket or London broil may also be used.

*** Yucca may be substituted for jicama but must first be peeled, cored and blanched before using.