Thursday, June 07, 2012

White House Recipes: Grilled Skirt Steak With Poblano Sauce And Sauteed Spinach

A Presidential favorite for First Family dinners from Assistant Chef Sam Kass...
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are America's most famous steak lovers. Glorious cuts of beef were chosen as the entree for every high-profile White House dinner the First Couple hosted in 2011, and steak was the entree for four of the President's six State Dinners.

"I love steak," Mrs. Obama announced last year as she toured an organic vegetable farm. During the holidays, she said that steak is a favorite for the First Family's Christmas dinner. And of course there are the famous Presidential burger runs. But over the last three years, the White House chefs have never released a steak recipe--until now. Sam Kass, assistant chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, has the honor of cooking the First Family's dinner each night, and says his recipe for Grilled Skirt Steak with Poblano Sauce, served atop a bed of Sauteed Spinach, is a Presidential favorite.

Kass (l) appeared on ABC cooking/chat show The Chew this week and showed the gang his relatively easy and flavorful dish. The meat is cooked quickly on a hot grill, and the spicy sauce is a fast concoction.

"It's a really simple dish, and delicious," Kass said. "Easy to make and very versatile."

Unlike the fancy Wagyus and Tenderloins that are served at the Obamas' formal dinners, Skirt Steak is a "great" choice that's affordable, Kass said.

"It's not expensive, very tender, it's got a great flavor," Kass said. "Chefs love this cut."

For the record, President Obama likes his steak medium well, he announced during a White House cookout in 2009.

Kass' Poblano Sauce uses popping spices, including Ancho chili powder, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika. His recipe calls for the peppers to be charred black before the skin is removed and the sauce is pureed in a blender.

"The way I do this at the White House is I'll literally take five or six Poblanos and put them straight on the flame," Kass said.

He also uses the Poblano Sauce on fish, chicken and on catfish "all the time" when making dinner for the First Family, Kass said.

As for the Sauteed Spinach: It's also simple and quick, and Kass uses "a touch of honey" to cut acidity.

"You don't want to taste honey," Kass said. "It's just to round it out."

Watch Kass cook the dishes with The Chew crew in the video below the recipe. It serves 4-6 people, depending on portion size. Check the sidebar of the blog for all White House recipes, including another spinach recipe, the now-famous No Cream Creamed Spinach.

White House Grilled Skirt Steak with Poblano Sauce
and Sauteed Spinach

2 pounds of Skirt Steak

5-6 Poblano Peppers

2 Tablespoon red onion (finely diced)

1-2 lemons (juice and zest)

1/2 Teaspoon honey

4 Tablespoon cilantro (roughly chopped)

4 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper (to taste)

1 Teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 Teaspoon Ancho chili powder

For the Sauteed Spinach:
1 pound fresh spinach

1 clove garlic (minced)

1 lemon (juice and zest)

Touch of honey

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1. Place Poblanos directly on stove burner to char peppers until completely black, remove and cool.

2. Cut peppers lengthwise and remove charred skin with the back of a knife, and remove seeds. Dice small and place half of the pepper in a blender with olive oil and half of the lemon juice and puree for 20 seconds and place in a bowl. Add remaining diced poblanos, red onion, lemon zest and remaining juice (if desired), honey, cilantro and salt and pepper. Mix to combine and taste for seasoning. Set aside for finished plate.

3. Lightly coat steak with olive oil. Season each side with smoked paprika, cayenne, chili powder, salt and pepper. Sear on hot grill until there is good color on the meat, about 3-4 minutes per side.

4. Once cooked remove from heat and let rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting.

5. For the Spinach: Heat olive oil in large saute pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add spinach and toss. Cook until spinach is wilted, about 1 minutes. Finish spinach with lemon juice and zest and honey.

To serve: Place sauteed spinach on plate and top with sliced steak. Top steak with Poblano Sauce.

Serves 4-6, depending on portion size.

Watch the video:

*ABC video; top photo by Pete Souza/White House; Kass photo by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama