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Steak Tacos with Jamaica and Jalapeño Syrup

8 generous servings
Tacos de Carne con Jarabe de Jamaica y Jalapeño


For the Jamaica Concentrate (makes about 5 cups):

  • 8 cups water
  • 6 oz, about 2 cups, dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, or to taste

For the tacos:

  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 2 cups jamaica/hibiscus flower concentrate
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • A pinch black pepper, freshly ground
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • safflower or corn oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 serrano or jalapeño chile, halved and seeded
  • 1 ripe Mexican avocado, halved, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 16 corn tortillas

To Prepare

To make the concentrate:
  • In a saucepan, pour 8 cups of water and place over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, add the jamaica flowers, simmer at medium heat for 10 minutes and turn off the heat. Let it cool down and strain into a heat proof glass or plastic water jar. Add the sugar and lime juice, mix well, cover and refrigerate.
To make the tacos:
  • Pour the jamaica concentrate, bay leaves, whole cloves, black pepper and salt into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it reduces to half the original amount.
  • Let the marinade cool and pour over the flank steak in a baking dish or container. Cover and let it marinade anywhere from 1 to 24 hours.
  • Set grill pan, grill or saute pan over medium-high heat. Brush with a light coat of oil. Sprinkle meat with a bit more salt. Grill meat anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes per side, depending on how cooked you want it.
  • Meanwhile, pour the marinade into a saucepan set over medium heat and drop in the halved serrano or jalapeño chile. Let the sauce reduce for 15 minutes, or until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. The syrup will thicken considerably as it cools. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • When the meat is ready, slice it thin and if you want, cut it into chunks. Heat corn tortillas over a comal or skillet over medium heat, it will take about a minute per side. For each taco, add a couple tablespoons or slices of meat in the center of each tortillas, a slice of avocado, some crumbled queso fresco and drizzle some of the jamaica and syrup on top. Enjoy your tacos!