Holy Mole! Ancho & Cocoa Carne Asada

Taste: ****
Difficulty: Easy
Cleanup: Quick

I’ve been on a Mexican kick recently!  Last night we had ancho & cocoa carne asada tacos with an avocado slaw on the side.  The cocoa, chili powder, and cinnamon rub essentially mimics the flavor of mole poblano sauce.

I used skirt steak instead of flank steak because it cooks more quickly, I like the flavor better, and I thought it would be easier to eat in a tortilla.  I didn’t have ancho chili powder on hand but had something called Mexican chili powder that worked well.  I cooked the rub-coated skirt steak on my grill pan.

For the slaw, I made a lime vinaigrette by whisking together the juice of 1 lime, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  I then added 3 cups of the coleslaw mix, 2 chopped avocados, and several dashes of the green Tabasco sauce to the bowl and tossed all the ingedients together.  I made the slaw first so the flavors would have time to come together.

I served the carne asada with warmed tortillas, pickled jalapenos, and queso fresco.  Queso fresco is often used as a topping for spicy Mexican dishes and is crumbled over soups or salads.  Feta is a good substitute if you can’t find queso fresco.

Tim and I had both loved the meal.  I especially loved how quickly this flavorful meal came together!

Ancho and Cocoa Carne Asada
Gourmet Magazine, March 2009

  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 (1-to 1 1/4-pounds) piece of flank steak
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 (7-to 8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 3 cups packaged coleslaw mix (7 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together ancho powder, cocoa, and cinnamon.

Pat steak dry and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt, then coat with spice mixture. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then cook steak, turning once, 8 to 9 minutes for medium-rare.

While steak cooks, wrap tortillas in foil and warm in oven.

Let steak rest 5 minutes on a cutting board, then thinly slice across the grain at an angle.

Serve steak with warm tortillas and coleslaw mix.

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