Dehydrating seasoned beef to make jerky (carne seca) is a traditional, low tech way to preserve food. But it's easy to use your (relatively) high tech microwave to quickly accomplish the same thing. Thin slices of flank steak or skirt steak are marinated with garlic, aji panca chile peppers, vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper, just like Peruvian anticuchos (grilled beef skewers).Besides being an excellent snack, carne seca is used in many traditional South American recipes, especially reconstituted into stews like the Chilean stew charquican and Brazilian feijoada.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4-6 ounces of beef jerky
- 1- 1 1/2 pounds flank steak or skirt steak
- 6-8 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup aji panca chile pepper paste (or dried aji panca peppers, reconstituted in water and puréed)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoon cumin
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Peel and chop the garlic, then mash chopped garlic into a paste using a mortar and pestle (or mince as finely as possible). Place garlic in a non reactive bowl.
- Add aji panca paste, vinegar, and cumin to garlic. Mix well, and season with salt and pepper to taste (be generous with the salt).
- Slice the meat across the grain into thin (1/4 inch) thick slices. Pound each slice with a meat tenderizer/hammer until very thin.
- Place slices into the marinade and mix to ensure that the meat is well coated with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Line a microwave-safe dish with paper towels. Lay several slices of the meat side by side on the paper towels. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, then open the microwave door to let the steam escape. Microwave on high another minute, stopping to let the moisture escape. Repeat until beef strips are dry and leathery, and dark brown. Remove from plate and repeat, working in batches, with remaining marinated beef.
- Store beef jerky in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.