Steak & Poblanos

This is the steak technique for anyone who's ever tried to transform a less expensive cut like beef sirloin into tender, tasty steaks. It's totally simple and my go-to method for cooking steaks in a skillet (cast iron, of course!) and wow, when paired with simple sautéed poblano peppers and onion, is a definite feast and definite man food.

Steak & Poblanos ♥, how to cook a cheap steak, turning an inexpensive cut of meat into a tender, tasty steak.

Good Steaks, Cooked Fast at Home. Another Quick Supper, a Kitchen Parade Specialty. Hearty & Filling. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Low Carb. High Protein. Naturally Gluten Free.

  • "The absolutely great poblano-onion pairing made for a wonderful first-time cooking-steak-inside experience! I didn't even think to get the steak knives out and enjoyed it (a smaller piece :) myself." ~ Heather

Cooking Steaks At Home: MY BEFORE

Yes, ma'am, guilty as charged.

My name is Alanna and I've been known to buy steaks, hoping against hope that less expensive sirloin and round steaks will somehow turn out as sweet and tender as uber-pricey ribeyes and t-bones.

For the longest time, I have felt ham-handed about cooking steak. Steaks are pricey, the expectations are high.

But no matter the meat – how expensive, how marbled, how prime – my steaks failed to measure up.

We didn’t need steak knives. We needed chainsaws to cut through the toughness.

Cooking Steaks At Home: MY AFTER

Well, where there's a will, there's a way.

I kept experimenting with ways to turn inexpensive steak into something that tasted, well, like I’d invested big bucks and bathed these babies in butter.

Enter Steaks & Poblano, where the poblanos and onions simply pop-pop-pop with flavor – and a little heat too, mind you, like those little Mexican jumping beans from the dime store, you know?

Even so, the meat, even a relatively inexpensive but tender cut such as top sirloin, is the star of the plate. It turns out knife-tender and decidedly tasty.

The secret? Iron. Cast Iron, that is.

Yep, I cook Steak & Poblanos in a cast-iron skillet aka my "favorite non-stick skillet".

This is my way to cook a cheap steak and make it taste like I paid a bundle.

How Cast Iron Becomes "Non-Stick"

What great shape my skillet is in, thanks to a new technique to keep it cleaned and seasoned.

What a difference! In just a few weeks, the skillet’s seasoning gets better and better with each use. I use it so often now, some weeks it never leaves the top of the stove.

Here's what I do.

  • The purists say to never wash an iron skillet, just to wipe it clean. Instead, I wash (and if needed scrub) the skillet but never-ever-ever with soap, just hot tap water and a soft scrubbie.
  • Then I rub a splash of olive oil on the sides and bottom of the still-wet inside surface with a paper towel and let the skillet air-dry upside down. A light coating of vegetable oil will work too, just make sure it smells fresh.

About This Recipe

  • Instead of "meat and potatoes," this recipe is for "steak and poblanos". Do know, they're kin and cousins. The poblanos are cooked first with onion and seasoning in a cast-iron skillet. The steaks are cooked next, right before serving, using the same simple seasoning.
  • The steaks and poblanos are plated together, the poblanos on the side or beneath the steaks, the start of a rich, savory meal.
  • The distinctive ingredients are the poblanos (these are the dark green and glossy chiles that take on a smokiness when cooked); the steaks (less pricey cuts); and the seasoning, especially chili powder.
  • ingredients for the poblanos = 2 large poblanos + 1 large onion + garlic + cilantro + chili powder + olive oil + salt
  • ingredients for the steaks = 1 pound top sirloin + chili powder + olive oil + salt & pepper
  • You can put Steak & Poblanos on the table in about 40 minutes, start to finish, including all the chopping and seasoning and plenty of time for clean-up.
  • Both the steaks and the poblanos are dark in color, be sure to add color to the plate with other side dishes.

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

  • Are the poblanos "spicy"? Not really. Poblano chiles are quite mild, way milder than the heat of jalapeños, for example. When cooked, poblanos take on a smoky essence while becoming even milder. That said, if you're worried about "spicy heat," take heed on the prep instructions which specify removing both the inner ribs/membranes and the seeds, this is where the heat resides. Chili powder adds both "spice" and a small measure of "heat" so you might taste your chili powder and then gauge whether to use less than called for.
  • Just FYI, my husband is extra-sensitive to "spicy heat" (he likes it, it just makes him sweat) and he has no issues with the poblanos cooked this way.

  • What about cooking the steaks on the grill? Yes, of course. You Grill Guys? Go. For. It.
  • That said, please know that my meat-loving, meat-cooking husband might well put a little brown and wood smoke on steaks on the grill, but he then finishes them inside.

  • Aren't those kinda small steaks? Well, Yes. I write recipes on the assumption that a pound (450g) of uncooked meat will serve four. This makes the nutrition information and WW points for all my recipes apple-to-apples (or LOL steak-to-steak).
  • How much you eat? That's up to you, no question. People with bigger appetites may well want more, hello most of the men and teenage boys I cook for. People with smaller appetites may be happy with that a small, meaty steak or, sure, less, that's me plus most of the women I cook for.
  • For example, when I cook Steak & Poblanos, I follow the recipe exactly, even when I'm cooking for two. My husband eats two servings and I eat one, leaving leftovers for somebody's lunch or supper another day.

Hungry Yet?
Not Just a Menu, a Feast!

Steak & Poblanos have a "Mexican-ish" vibe so let's lean into that, shall we?

Jicama-Mango Salsa with Chipotle
with Tortilla Chips

Steak & Poblanos
(recipe below)
with something green and fresh like
Simple Skillet Green Beans or
Microwave Asparagus
and a starch, maybe small
(Sloooow) Baked Potatoes or
Beer-Soaked Crispy Baked Fries
and something with a little acidity like
Pinto Bean Salad

and if there's room for dessert
a splurge like
Easy Margarita Pie or
something lighter like the most wonderful
Mexican Fruit Salad

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How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe Steak & Poblanos hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Steak & Poblanos ♥, how to cook a cheap steak, turning an inexpensive cut of meat into a tasty steak.


Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 4 but easily adjusted to serve one or many
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 large onion (see TIPS), chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (see TIPS)
  • Water as needed, a tablespoon at a time
  • 2 large poblano peppers (225g), cored, membranes and seeds removed, cut into slices lengthwise, then crosswise
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound (450g) top sirloin, obvious fat sliced off, cut in four pieces

SAUTÉ THE POBLANOS (Unless you're quick-quick with a knife, you'll probably want to have at least the onion, garlic and cilantro prepped before starting.) Place a large cast-iron skillet on the stove and set the heat to medium high. When the skillet is hot, add the oil and salt, swirling the skillet to distribute the oil across the entire surface.

Add the onion and garlic, stirring well with a wood or metal spatula to coat them with the oil.

Stir in the cilantro, chili powder and a tablespoon of water. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed, for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the poblanos and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, until the poblanos are cooked but still quite firm and bright in color. Transfer to a dish and keep warm.

COOK THE STEAKS Meanwhile, in a large flat bowl, stir together the chili powder, salt and pepper. Pat the sirloin dry and cut it into four pieces. Rub the meat pieces in the spice mixture.

Once the poblanos are done, return the heat to medium high and heat the oil until it's shimmery. Add the steak pieces to the hot skillet. For medium rare (recommended), cook without moving for about 6 minutes on one side, turn over and cook for about 5 minutes on the other side. Cook the steaks longer for medium or medium well, or less time for rare.

TO SERVE Arrange a bed of the cooked poblanos on individual plates, top each plate with a steak. Serve immediately.

ALANNA’s TIPS Choose yellow or white onions, never sweet onions, for cooking. If you’re out of chili powder, the smoky Spanish paprika called pimenton is a good substitute, so is your favorite meat rub. If your meat rub includes salt, omit the salt in the ingredient list. Some times, I let the poblanos cook for a long time, up to an hour, until they turn dark and smoky and the heat of the pepper drops back several notches. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving (assumes 4): 249 Calories; 11g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 47mg Cholesterol; 377mg Sodium; 9g Carb; 3g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 27g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 6 & SmartPoints 6 & Freestyle 5 & myWW green 5 & blue 5 & purple 5 & future WW points CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = scant half serving (11g protein).

More Meals for Steak Lovers

~ Frozen Steaks ~
~ Steak & Tomatoes ~
~ Easy-Easy Marinated Flank Steak ~
~ more beef recipes ~
(scroll down for just the steak recipes)
from Kitchen Parade
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Green Chile Sauce (Salsa Verde) for Green Chile Burgers ♥ Budget Friendly Meal Prep. Vegan. Low Fat. Low Carb.

Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Poblano, Roasted Corn & Chipotle ♥, summery sweet potato salad. Vegan. Pure Summer. No Mayo. Great for Potlucks.

Grilled Steak with Tomato-Avocado Salad in a Warm Poblano-Bacon Vinaigrette ♥, grilled steak atop a wet and messy salad of tomatoes, avocado and lettuce, slightly wilted in an onion-bacon-poblano vinaigrette.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ poblano pepper recipes ~
~ beef recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2009, 2016 & 20222

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. A cheap steak is a good steak right now - all this recession talk is making my wallet hurt!

  2. Heather (Chef to the Family for 21 Years)1/24/2013

    I just wanted to say thank you! I came across the Pablano Steak Recipe yesterday and made it last night. It was a great, easy, successful recipe!

    I am a good cook, but not naturally a fan of red meat. My husband is The Meat Eater and does not get anything more than ground beef in tacos or soups most of the time. We will splurge on a 'good cut' of steak a couple times a year....always grilling them.

    The man had the flu a couple of weeks ago and since then has really craved meat. I had a moment of weakness and decided that though it may be 17 degrees out, I will give an attempt at making steak Inside.

    The absolutely great pablano-onion pairing made for a wonderful first-time cooking-steak-inside experience! I didn't even think to get the steak knives out and enjoyed it (a smaller piece :) myself.

    I have never written a thank you to any on line recipe author...but wanted to put my gratitude out there and hope it finds the proper recipient!

    1. Heather ~ I’ve just updated this recipe and am sure hoping I responded to your lovely, lovely note in person back then. I’m just thrilled to see your comment because your experience is *** exactly *** what I hope for when people make my recipes. Thank you so much for taking the time to write, your words mean the world, even all these years later.


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna