by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

2009 hasn’t been kind to the Dolphins, their record is a middle of the road 3-4 and the Wildcat is looking like a cougar after a long night hitting the bars.

It’s not all bad for the fish though, they have beaten the Jets twice. They can lose every game the rest of the season and it will still be a success. No matter how bad it gets in Miami at least they’re not the Jets.

What to eat?

This week we’re going with a Latin American marinade. Mojo criollo, or “Creole sauce”. It’s a citrus and garlic based sauce that goes well with pretty much any protein. It could go with any protein, but we’ll be using flank steak. Flank steak is most commonly used for fajitas. It’s a large, flat cut and has long muscle fibers that all run in the same direction. It is very low in fat and has a very meaty, beefy taste as is common with cuts from heavily used muscles.

It is easy to cook, and very tender and flavorful as long as marinaded, cooked, and cut correctly.

The cut is the most important part. Flank Steak has to be cut in small slices across the grain. For the best results it should be cut at about a 30 degree angle as well.

This cutting method turns what could be a tough stringy cut of beef into a tender almost falling apart meal. Cut it with the grain and you’ll be chewing all day long.

flank-steakMojo Criollo Flank Steak (serves 6)

  • 8 ounces orange juice
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic bulbs, smashed with flat of knife blade
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 pound flank steak

Prepare the marinade from all ingredients above.

Marinade the flank steak for about 2 hours. This isn’t a marinade that you should use overnight. The acid in the marinade will cook the meat if it is given enough time.

Grill over a medium heat, about 350 degrees. For medium rare cook for about 7 minutes on one side, flip and cook for another 5.

Allow the steak to rest, covered with foil for 5 minutes. Cut as directed above – turn the steak so that the grain is perpendicular to the knife, tilt the knife about 30 degrees and cut into 1/4″ strips.

Pile up onto a sandwich with optional roasted peppers and onions. Or use the cut steak to make fajitas.

What to drink?

This week we’re serving Stout on the buffet table. Stout is a style of beer that grew out of Porter. Originally named Stout Porter it was the strongest (stoutest) offering in the Porter brewers lineup.

Many of the stouts we have today are weaker than many porters. The shift in strength happened as the result of taxation issues. To help English brewers sell more beer inIreland, Parliament imposed taxes on Irish brewers based on how much malted barley they used in their beer.

One Arthur Guinness figured out that he could replace the dark malt in his stout porter with unmalted roasted barley. The color and taste would be similar, but as it was unmalted he wouldn’t be paying any taxes on that portion of his ingredients.

This new style of stout, Irish Dry Stout, became a best seller and was quickly driving older versions of stout such as English Sweet Stout and Milk Stout out of the market as demand for the new Dry Stout kept increasing. Not only in Ireland but in England as well. To this day the English consume the second highest percentage of their beer as stout. Three guesses as to who is first.

Irish Dry Stout will usually run from 4% to just over 5% ABV, although American versions may be stronger. Carbonation will be low. All will have a roasted character with some coffee or chocolate flavors and aromas. Bitterness is high for the alcohol level, because not only hops but the roasted grain contribute bitterness to this style. They are usually light in body, which can be hidden by the low carbonation, and finish dry.

Their roasted grain flavors match very well with grilled meat. The citrus in our marinade is also a somewhat surprising match, resulting in a chocolate covered orange type taste.

The most famous Irish Dry Stout is obviously Guinness. The typical Guinness is Guinness Draft (Draught), 4.2% ABV and available everywhere. Guinness also bottles Guinness Extra Stout, stronger at 6% and a very nice beer. Those who have traveled to Africa and the Caribbean may have been lucky enough to try Guinness Foreign Extra Stout. This beer is not in the Dry Irish Stout style, being far too strong at 7.5% but is worth the trouble trying to find on your next vacation.

The second of the big Irish Stouts is Murphy’s. Lower in alcohol from Guinness at 4%, sweeter and less bitter.

There used to be a third option, Beamish Irish Stout, that fit in between Guinness and Murphy’s. Heineken bought Murphy’s and Beamish, closing Beamish to concentrate on Murphy’s, so the Big 3 are now the Big 2.

A step above these mass produced stouts is O’Haras Celtic Stout from Carlow Brewing Company. This is my favorite Irish Stout from Ireland.

The Irish Dry Stout is popular with American craft brewers, with no shortage being available. However, these tend to be draft beers and not bottled. This allows them to be served on nitrogen mixed gas like
Guinness instead of being carbonated. You stand a very good chance of finding a Dry Irish Stout in any brewpub you visit.

Gritty McDuff’s from Portland, ME does put out their Black Fly Stout fits right in with the Irish originals, only being slightly stronger at 4.6% ABV.

Paper City from Holyoke, MA has Riley’s Stout. It is fairly similar to Gritty’s Black Fly Stout.

A pair from California are available in New England. North Coast Brewing has Old No. 38 Stout at 5.5% ABV and 53 IBUs it stretches the definition of the Irish Dry Stout style. Moylan’s Dragoons Irish Stout is more traditional at 5% ABV and 28 IBU.