" Guarding Tess" Shirley's Reincarne Asada

This dish takes some work to put together, but it is worth it. You can live a hundred lives (like Shirley MacLaine apparently has) and you still won't be able to find a match for this succulent Mexican dish.

You will need:

For reincarne asada:

  • 4 6-ounce pieces beef filet
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
For rajas:
  • 5 large pasilla peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cream
For guacamole:
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 small onion, very finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno or serrano peppers
  • 2 ripe avocados, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 lb. panela cheese, cut in 1/2" slices (panela available in Mexican markets)
  • 1 past life insurance policy naming your next incarnation as the sole beneficiary.


  1. Butterfly each piece of meat by slicing horizontally through the middle without cutting all the way through. Open up and pound a few times to end up with long, thin pieces.
  2. Place the meat in a bowl and toss with the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes, or until use.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the sliced pasilla peppers, onion, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt. Cook until the onions begin to turn translucent, then add the water and vinegar and cook 15 minutes. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, add the cream and continue cooking at a low heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Combine the salt and half of the cilantro, onion, and jalapeno pepper in a bowl and crush with the back of a wooden spoon. (Or better yet, use a mortar and pestle.)
  5. Add the avocado and lime juice and mash roughly, then add the remaining cilantro, onion, and jalapeno and stir together. Adjust seasonings, cover with plastic and refrigerate until use.
  6. Heat a lightly greased cast iron skillet or charcoal grill until very hot. Season the filet with salt and pepper; sear 45-seconds on each side for rare, a minute and a half for medium rare, and 2 minutes for well done. Once the meat is finished, grill the fresh Mexican cheese for 30 seconds on each side.
  7. Serve immediately with hot tortillas and cold beer. Then attempt to persuade your bloated guests to work off their past-life Karma by doing the dishes while you go into a very deep trance that may indeed resemble sleep. (If they don?t fall for it then convene all your past lives and force them to do the dishes.)

Serves 4 people (or 1 person over 4 lifetimes)

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