If you have a teenage boy in the family, you may understand the following. If not, please enjoy this researched, significantly adapted and tested recipe of Hispanic origin.
Son: I have an assignment due tomorrow in Spanish. I have to bring in a prepared recipe of hispanic origin.
Me: When are you making it?
Son: I have 2 finals I have to study for tonight after presenting a research project to the sophomore class and faculty before sailing practice after school.
Me: When are you helping me make it?
Son: After my homework and before bed, probably not before 11 pm – if I haven’t fallen asleep.
Me: What am I making?
Son: I found this recipe on the internet for Cuban Carne Asada with Oranges that sounds good.
Me: Yes it sounds good. In fact what makes it so good is that it requires at least 3 hours to marinate and another 3 hours to slow-cook.
Son: Is there a quick version?
Me: That is the quick version. It tastes better if it marinates overnight.
Son: I will help you as much as I can. I promise. This recipe sounds really good.
Me: (Saying) Please learn to manage your time more efficiently – you are lucky that cooking is part of my job description. (Thinking) I am so happy you can spot a great recipe worth making.
Epilogue: A double batch was prepared with a healthy dose of adaptation and improvisation. My son chopped the garnishes and washed the dishes. Everyone in the class loved the recipe, and we enjoyed it for dinner.
Cuban Inspired Braised Beef with Oranges
For the beef marinade:
3 pounds beef chuck, cut in 3 inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, grated with juices
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Juice and zest of one orange
For the braise:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
Juice of 2 oranges
Soft tortillas, warmed
Garnishes: salsa, sliced avocado, sliced jalapeno peppers, black beans, chopped fresh cilantro, lime wedges
Marinate the beef:
Cut beef chuck in 3 inch pieces. Salt and pepper on all sides. Place in a bowl or container. Add garlic, onion, olive oil, cumin, orange juice and zest. Turn the beef to coat with marinade ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.
Prepare the braise:
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a deep skillet or pot. Add beef in batches in one layer without overcrowding. Brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining beef. Pour wine into the pan to deglaze. Return beef. Add orange juice. Cover and simmer, occasionally basting with juices, until beef is very tender and easily falls apart, about 3 hours.
Transfer beef to a plate. Boil pan juices over medium-high heat until reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Shred beef and return to pot; keep warm.
To serve, spoon some of the beef over a warmed tortilla. Top with optional garnishes, such as salsa, fresh avocado, jalapeno peppers, black beans, cilantro and freshly squeezed lime juice.