Garlic and White Habanero Marinated Skirt Steak over Dirty Rice


This week’s recipe features the small yet mighty white habanero which was a new pepper in my garden this summer. I really enjoyed the garlicky undertones however it was very mild which is why the ratio of garlic to pepper in the ingredients list below is so dramatic.

I first used the marinade as a spicy salad dressing, mixing in some olive oil, minced shallots, honey, salt, and pepper, then, decided to try it as a marinade to tenderize a tough cut of meat like a skirt steak. It was an excellent choice. The meat picked up just enough heat from the marinade to taste, but it was very subtle, and the acid in the vinegar helped to break down the meat’s tissue, allowing the steak to absorb a lot of the liquid, hence making the meat very tender and juicy.

When I considered what to pair with the steak, I wanted something that could stand up to the heat, so I made a dirty rice with more of the white habanero to continue the heat trend. Again it was subtle and tasted delicious with the accompanying tender onions, sweet bell peppers, and crispy bacon.


For the Marinade:
20 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
6-8 white habanero peppers stemmed and halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups white vinegar
1 small yellow onion, chopped
8 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ cup lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt

For the Steak:
2 lbs. skirt steak
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

For the Rice:
4 slices of bacon, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 white habanero peppers, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper


For the Marinade:
1) Preheat oven to 425°.

2) Set the peppers on a baking sheet and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons olive oil.

3) Roast the peppers in the oven 15-20 minutes or until soft and skins begin to blister.

4) Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes, or until the onion and garlic soften.

5) Add the roasted peppers and simmer about 5 minutes.

6) Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Alternatively, use an immersion blender and puree directly in the pot.

7) Simmer another 5-10 minutes.

8) Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool thoroughly.

For the Steak:
1) Place the meat in a heavy-duty re-sealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade, coating it well. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

2) Heat a grill to medium-high heat.

3) Remove the steak from the marinade and season it with salt and pepper. Discard the marinade.

4) Grill the steak, for 5 to 8 minutes on each side, depending on thickness.

5) Remove the steak from the heat and place it on a platter. Allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes then slice it thinly across the grain.

For the Rice:
1) Cook the rice according to the package instructions, using the broth instead of water.

2) In a large sauté pan, add the bacon and cook over medium heat until the bacon is crispy, 5-8 minutes.

3) Add the olive oil, garlic, yellow onions and peppers, and cook them until they are soft, 5-8 minutes.

4) Season the bacon and vegetables with the paprika, salt, and pepper, and then stir in the cooked rice until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

To serve the dish, place a few slices of the meat onto a dinner plate, along with a side of the dirty rice. Garnish with sliced green onions.

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