Broiled Ancho Flank Steak Tacos with Charred Chiles and Onions

Bill writes: I’ve grilled steaks and I’ve pan-seared steaks, but I’ve never broiled them. Any tricks to the process? I already have flank steak and peppers and was kind of hoping to make them into tacos. Thoughts?

Tony’s take: Thanks for writing, Bill! Broiling’s quick searing heat is kinda like indoor grilling, especially when you’re house-bound and desperate in the dead of winter (It’s -1F in Boston today). There are a couple of tricks to broiling meat – like making sure the steak is completely dry so it properly browns and positioning the broil pan relatively close to the broiler – about 4 inches – so it sears quickly), but these steps are easy enough. And your plan is perfect: hit the steak with a spice rub before broiling and then thinly slice the seared beef and roll it up with browned peppers and onion in tortillas with some guacamole or salsa (or both). Here’s how:

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The Recipe: Serves 4; Prep time: 15 minutes  Cook time: 15 minutes

What you need: Ingredients: Steak (either flank or skirt works; about 1 1/2 lb for 4 people), spices (ancho chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, chipotle powder or pimenton de la Vera), granulated sugar, olive oil, bell peppers (2 or 3; whatever colors you got or like), onion (preferably a large Spanish or red onion); corn tortillas, salsa, cheese, etc… for serving.

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1. Get prepped:  Heat the broiler to high and position an oven rack about 4 inches away from the heating element. Make a spice rub and prep the vegetables: In a small bowl, mix 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt with about 1 tsp. each granulated sugar, ancho chili powder (or regular), black pepper, and cumin, and 1/4 tsp. each garlic powder and chipotle powder. Pat the steak dry with paper towels and then rub the spice mix all over the steak along with a drizzle of olive oil, about 1 Tbs. Transfer to a broiler pan or a large rimmed baking sheet topped with a rack and let sit at room temperature while the broiler heats. Quarter, core, and seed the peppers and set on another baking sheet along with a Spanish or red onion, cored and cut in 1/2-inch wedges. Toss the vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, about 3/4 tsp. and 1/2 tsp. each.

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2. Broil the steak and then vegetables: Set the broil pan with the steak under the broiler and cook without touching until the top of the steak browns, about 2 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side of the steak until it, too, browns and the steak starts to firm up to your desired level of doneness (make a nick into a thicker piece to check its level of pinkness – pull out the rack a bit while you’re doing so, so you don’t singe your arm hairs ), 2 to 4 more minutes. If the steak is browned on both sides but still not cooked through, transfer it to a lower rack and continue broiling and flipping until done. Once cooked, transfer the steak to a carving board to cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Meanwhile, broil the vegetables, flipping every couple of minutes until they brown on both sides and start to become tender (the tips of the onions may char a bit – this is fine), about 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a cutting board.

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3. Slice and serve: Thinly slice the steak (once it’s cooled – the cooling allows the juices a chance to recirculate) and coarsely chop the vegetables. Serve in warm corn tortillas with guacamole, salsa, and a squirt of fresh lime juice.

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