Sunday, July 22, 2012
Mexican beef - meltingly tender & perfect for tacos
I first tasted perfectly tender taco filling at Toledo's oldest Mexican restaurant El Tipico many years ago. I got my first inkling on how to make it from reading Ricky Bayless' "Rick & Lanie's Excellent Adventures." His recipe called for cooking stew meat for about an hour. I took it a step further and used pot roast, since the meat is already so wonderfully tender. You can use leftover pot roast, make a pot roast just for the occasion or use my pot roast recipe. I sometimes make a double batch and use half for a pot roast dinner and half for the Mexican meat. You can make any size batch you want here. I've made it with two big roasts or with half a small one depending on how much you want. This freezes wonderfully and stays moist cause there is a bit of fat in there, you are basically confiting beef with this. You can cook this in a Dutch oven in the oven set at 325 or in a slow cooker if it's more convenient. Either way, you start out by browing the boneless chuck roast that you have salted & peppered in a little olive oil. Use a skillet if it's going into the slow cooker, use the Dutch oven you plan to cook it in, if cooking in the oven.
Get a nice sear going on all sides and then, using tongs, set the beef aside on a plate while you do a little browning of aromatics. Drop some butter in the pan and let it melt.
Once that meat is tender, you'll pull it out and shred it. Then put it in a cast iron or some other kind of heavy duty metal pot that can take a bit of beating with a spoon without damaging the finish. Put the cooking liquid on top of it. (make sure you fish out that sprig of Thyme.)
Now we make the sauce, which is simply tomatoes, chilis and garlic.
tomato avocado salad & cheese. If you have a Mexican grocery where you can get fresh corn tortillas, please do. I get them at San Marcos in Toledo and freeze them wrapped in foil. Then I just heat them in a Zip Loc bag for about a minute in the microwave. Speaking of freezing, this meat freezes beautifully. I portion it out and put it in a freezer bag. It's great for chili, mexican pizzas, taco salad, burritos, nachos, tostadas and so many other delicious applications.
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