So this week all of our dinners have been from my Rachael Ray 365 - No Repeats, 30 Minute Meal cookbook since that is what I was reading when it came time to make the grocery list. Normally I think her recipes have way too many ingredients, but decided to try them anyway since I had the book. Plus, I did have a lot of the ingredients on hand already.
This 30 minute meal took me 50 minutes to make and it seemed like just as long to clean up! Maybe not bad if I hadn't started at 8:15 p.m. I have only made plantains one other time and I made them caramelized, so I wasn't sure what it would taste like in this meal. I think they turned out really well. I only made 2 mashed plantains and we still had leftovers. I microwaved them for 4 minutes like the recipe said (4-5 min. for 3), but next time would probably go for 5 because they were soft, but probably could have mashed a little easier. Instead of the flank steak, I used chicken. Overall it was a good dish, but nothing I am excited to make again, mainly because of all the work. Aaron and I really liked the rice & beans (I think the thyme is what made it so good to me), which is a good thing because it made enough to feed a small army. I'll probably use the leftovers in wraps. As a side note, my cat was very interested in this dinner, so much that he hopped in my lap so fast and was ready to grab his own bite right off my plate.
Tidbit: This dinner is also delicious made with seasoned grilled thin cut chicken breast, seasoned in the same manner as steak. Gossip: Gloria Estefan's favorite album of hers is one she shares with many great guest artists. It's called "Unwrapped" and you might want to play it for mood music with this supper, as she did inspire its creation. It'll taste even better!
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus a little to drizzle
2 medium yellow skinned onions, 1 finely chopped, divided, 1 thinly sliced
3 cups chicken stock, divided
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
3 tablespoons fresh thyme, 5 or 6 sprigs, chopped
1 1/2 cups white rice
1 (14-ounce) can black beans
2 pounds flank steak
2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend ( recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
3 green plantains (like green bananas and are available in produce department)
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, cracked away from skin and finely chopped
1 pound small shrimp, peeled, deveined and coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves
Hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, and half of the finely chopped onion. Saute 3 minutes, then season with 2 teaspoons cumin, eyeball the measurement in the palm of your hand, and the thyme leaves. Pour in 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock and raise heat to bring to a boil. Add rice and lower heat to simmer when boil resumes. Cover pot tightly. After 12 minutes, stir in black beans and replace cover. Cook another 6 to 7 minutes. Turn off rice and beans, season with salt and stir to combine then let stand until ready to serve. While rice cooks, make plantains with shrimp and the meat.
Preheat a grill pan over high heat. The meat can also be prepared in a hot, large cast iron or nonstick skillet if you do not have a grill pan. Place flank steak in a shallow dish and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to coat – about 2 tablespoons. Mix grill seasoning with 1 tablespoon cumin, eyeball the measurement in your palm. Add the zest of 1 lime to the grill seasoning and cumin. Rub the mixture over the steak evenly. Wash up and cut lime into wedges and reserve.
Place the steak on hot grill or in hot pan and cook 4 to 5 minutes, turn and cook 3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and let juices redistribute 5 minutes.
Slit the skins of the plantains from end to end to vent them for microwave cooking. Wrap them each in wax paper, twisting up paper at ends. Microwave the plantains 4 to 5 minutes together or 90 seconds each individually on high.
While plantains and steak cook, place a medium nonstick skillet on the heat over a high flame. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and the sliced onions. Sear the onions up and heat through, but leave a bite to them. Place on a platter and cover with foil to reserve heat. Return pan to stove and reduce heat to between medium high and medium. Add 2 tablespoons extra, 2 turns of the pan, and the remaining finely chopped onion, the bell pepper, garlic and shrimp. Season with salt and pepper and add the zest of 1 lemon. Cook until shrimp are firm and peppers begin to soften, 4 minutes or so. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon, the tomato sauce and parsley. Turn off heat.
Peel and mash the steaming hot plantains with remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Season the plantains with salt and pile on platter or dinner plates then top with garlicky shrimp and tomatoes. Very thinly slice the cooked steak on an angle, working against the grain. Squeeze lime juice over the meat and arrange over the cooked sliced onions on serving platter. Fluff up rice and black beans a bit, transfer them to a bowl and pass at table.