My (Left) Flank Steak, as inspired by Alberta politics

I’m a political junkie, and I’m proud of it.  I’m a small c conservative who loves the banter, the arguments, the manipulations and the games played in the seats of power.  I always followed the Canadian and the American political scene intensely with glee and utter fascination.

But admittedly, I never did follow Alberta politics until the last election when Ralph Klein left, making one of the most interesting contests ever in recent memory.  Just like every other Albertan, I was engrossed with the personalities involved, such as PC Leader (now Premier) Alison Redford, the energetic if political neophyte Danielle Smith, the ever determined Raj Sherman of the Liberals, and the one who piqued my interest despite a losing cause, Brian Mason of the NDP.

When considering that the NDP probably will be elected in Alberta maybe sometime in my great grandchildren’s lifetime (when oil has turned to god knows what), I have to admit that Brian Mason, has been doing an especially good job campaigning and fighting in the opposition for someone who is representing a party that is perpetually perceived as an underdog.

When he spoke, he came across as knowledgeable, feisty, a little hot tempered, and forceful to me, all good qualities for a leader.  I do applaud his work and, last year, before the election vote, I was inspired to make a dish based on what I saw in him for my Kingsland Farmer’s Market blog in 2012.

I asked among my friends for their take on him.  Fortunately for me, quite a few of those friends are as equally passionate about food as they are about politics.  With that in mind, I took a small poll.  First and foremost, I needed some sort of protein to represent Mr. Mason.  I automatically disqualified chicken, turkey and lamb.  Chicken and turkey definitely didn’t suit Mr. Mason’s style and was too much a bad joke as well.  Pork?  Nope, Mr. Mason was not piggish whatsoever.  And then, my left-leaning foodie friend Tracey metaphysically slapped me across the head with a spiritual trout, and reminded me that only Canadian, particularly Alberta BEEF will do (hey take a look at their site for some awesome ideas! http://www.beefinfo.org).

Ok, that was that, but then what?  Was there a particular cut that would be right?  He just didn’t strike me as a Prime Rib kinda guy.  Ribs was a possibility, because as the leader of the 4th place party, I’m sure he had to have taken some political punches to the chest.  But   then it struck me, only FLANK steak will do.  Tough on the outside (before cooked of course), yet when treated well, becomes tender as well.  And in strategic terms, I like the notion that a leader, who debates from the left, maybe even the left FLANK (?), would be well represented.

Ok, now the cut was chosen.  How to pick the rest…. and with memories of the hot, passionate debates of the late NDP leader Jack Layton and the party colours, I decided that the orange Habanero pepper would be perfect.  But, I can’t have it TOO hot, or else I would roast those who would dare this recipe alive.  And with that, and also to complement the orange Habanero with the something sweet that would proudly show the NDP colours, roasted Orange bell peppers.  Perfect… and without further ado… may I introduce to you all, and to Mr. Brian Mason, honorable leader of the Alberta NDP, my homage dish to him.  The Brian Mason Hot Left-Flank Steak with a Grilled Orange Pepper Mix and White Rice.  To all of you Lefties, Righties, and hopefully the fun people at the http://www.eatwriteretreat.com will get a chance to enjoy it!

What you would need:

Serves about 3-4, takes about 12 min or so to prep, but at least 9 hours to prepare.

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¼  red onion, chopped
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 1 SMALL habanero chili pepper and dice it as best you can
  • 1 tbls fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup diced cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbls honey
  • ½ olive oil (I prefer extra-virgin)
  • 1 ¼ pounds flank steak (Hoven Meats have a wonderful flank steak btw, hint hint)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The night before, grab the Flank steak, and with a hammer or heavy flat object (I use my heavy iron frying pan, “Mr. Softee” personally because the larger surface can get all of the meat evenly) and pound it a few times on both sides.  Don’t do it TOO many times, because you just want to tenderize the meat, not break it apart, not unlike a coalition government.

Add the garlic, onion, lime juice, jalapeno, thyme, cilantro, oil, and honey and blend it in a bowl or a blender until everything is well mixed together, just like the left wing of the opposition.

Marinate the flank steak with 1/2 of the puree in a resealable plastic bag at least 9-10 in the refrigerator. Reserve the rest of the puree to use later as a sauce.  This MUST be done.  Not only will the meat absorb the flavor, but most importantly, the marinate will tenderize the steak even more.  Here’s some great tips on how to grill a marinated steak from Canadian Beef!


When ready to cook, take the steak out onto a plate, and let it rest an hour before serving.

Preheat a grill to a medium fire and cut the orange bell peppers into slices.

Just before you’re about to toss the steak into the fire, add some sea salt, and normally cook the flank to medium-rare.  I find that cooking this cut to well-done will pretty much turn the flank steak into a well marinated piece of leather.   A rule of thumb?  4 minutes per side is about right.  Add the bell peppers as well on the side (or wherever on your grill that you have enough space)

Let the meat rest for a few min just to let the juices flow.  Grill the peppers until it starts to char a little.  This will release the natural sugars in the peppers, and make them sweeter than just plain ol’ peppers.

Once all the blood has stopped, start to slice the steak against the grain into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices, and brush or pour the remaining marinade over the meat.

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