If you’ve never had carne apache before, you can think of it as beef tartare meats ceviche. In other words, it’s a chopped raw beef dish—as classic steak tartare is—seasoned with just what you’d expect in a ceviche: lime, chile, tomato, onion and cilantro. And just like a classic ceviche, most cooks let the mixture marinade until the meat takes on “cooked” texture. I personally like texture best just a couple of minutes after everything is stirred together, more like the traditional tartare texture. This is typically bar food and seasoned highly with green chile. Because lime juice quickly turns meat gray, I prefer to replace green jalapeños with their dried red counterpart—chipotles—which keeps the preparation beautiful red. Plus the smokiness of chipotles is delicious here.
1poundbest-quality tender beef—tenderloin, ribeye, New York strip, sirloin
2/3cupfresh lime juice
3 to 5canned chipotle chiles en adobo
1/2small red onion, cut into ¼-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
1mediumripe tomato, cut into ¼-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1/2cuploosely packed chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
1ripe avocado, cut in half, pit removed, fleshed scooped from skin and cut into ¼-inch pieces
Tortillachips for serving
Chop the beef. Cut the beef into 1-inch pieces. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper and spread out the meat in a single layer. Freeze until very firm, but not frozen all the way through, about 45 minutes. With a meat grinder fitted with the coarse blade or in batches in a food processor, chop the beef (I like pieces that are a little smaller than ¼ inch). Scoop into a bowl.
Finish the carne apache. In a blender or food processor, combine the lime juice and chiles. Process until smooth and stir into the beef. If you want the meat to be lime-cured (like ceviche), cover and refrigerate for an hour or so; for a traditional tartare texture, continue on. Scoop the onion into a strainer, rinse under cold water, shake to remove excess water, then add to the bowl, along with the tomato and cilantro. Gently fold in the avocado. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 1/2 teaspoons.Serve piled on crispy tortilla chips, or molded on a plate or in a small bowl or glass with chips on the side. However you serve your carne apache, cilantro leaves make a nice garnish.