Rich and Meaty Mexican Alambre
This tasty Mexican dish is quick and easy to prepare, and features beef or chicken, along with bacon, bell peppers, onions and cheese. It is served with freshly made flour or corn tortillas in Mexico, but you can use readymade ones. Although beef is the most common variant, chicken can be used instead, or even pork. Sometimes chorizo or ham is used instead of bacon. Mexico City and Oaxaca are well known for their alambres, although this dish is found in many Mexican cities as well as in the US where there are large Mexican populations.
Alambre means wire in Spanish and it is thought the dish is named because the ingredients are sometimes skewered while cooking, although that is not always the cooking method used. This is a good recipe if you have leftover beef or chicken to use up, along with some bacon or ham. You will also need bell pepper, onion and some cayenne pepper. If you want it really spicy, add a minced fresh chili too, or leave it out if not. You can make this as mild or as spicy as you want. If you are making this for a group of people, make it mild and offer hot sauce on the side.
We recommend shredded Oaxaca cheese on top as the most authentic topping, but you can use mozzarella instead of Oaxaca is not available. Either add it just before serving so it melts a little or add it to the mixture in the skillet and keep heating the mixture so it melts more. You can make any tweaks you like to this recipe. Some people will leave out the bell pepper while others will use chicken instead of beef, or even add some grilled pineapple to add a contrasting touch of sweetness to the otherwise savory dish. Alambre is a gorgeous dish, and well worth making.
Because this is so quick and easy to put together, and you can have it on the table in as few as 20 minutes, it would be a good meal if you want easy weeknight recipes because nobody is going to be hungry for hours while you are standing over a hot stove. Prepare your ingredients, throw them in the skillet and you will find 10 minutes is probably enough to cook the dish through. This depends how large or small you have chopped the meat, and the type of meat you are using. If the mixture seems to be drying out you could add a little stock or broth, just a spoonful. Serve the tortillas and alambre separately for people to assemble their own, or spoon the hot meat mixture on to the tortillas, as you prefer.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 lbs chopped steak or chicken breast
- 4 oz chopped slab bacon
- 1 lb chopped red or green bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1 chopped red onion
- 2 oz shredded Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese
- 8 flour tortillas, to serve
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 minced fresh chili pepper (optional)
- Chicken stock or broth, if needed (optional)
- Lime wedges, to serve (optional)
- Heat the oil in a skillet.
- Sauté the steak or chicken with the bacon for 3 minutes in the oil.
- Add the bell pepper, cayenne, onion, and fresh chili if using.
- Keep cooking, stirring often, until the meat is cooked and the vegetables are al dente.
- If the mixture gets too dry, add a little stock or broth.
- Grind in some salt and black pepper to taste.
- Divide the mixture between the flour tortillas and top with the cheese.
- Serve these right away while they are hot, perhaps with some lime wedges.
Alambre is one of the quickest and easiest Mexican recipes you can make. Originating from Central Mexico, alambre is a mixture of meat and bacon, bell pepper and onion, chili and Mexican cheese, served on soft tortillas. The joy of this dish stems from how simple it is to prepare, how you can use any kind of meat in there, and how the flavors work perfectly. You will be able to taste every single ingredient in this dish and for sure you will want to add alambre to your regular meal rotation. This is a quick and easy dinner which is meaty, spicy and oh so satisfying!
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