Monday, August 1, 2011

Beef Tacos

My Grandfather is doing well after he broke his femur. I was there tending to his garden and leaving my wife to look after ours on her own for 2 weeks. I am back and excited to be back in my own kitchen after that unexpected pause.

My friend's birthday was while I was gone and since I had to leave kind of a sudden, she was good with the idea of me cooking her dinner. Of course I think it was the Chocolate Lava cakes that she was after though. So, being a belated birthday, I figured I would go out and make a special dinner.

One thing I really miss about having my mexican friends close by is the food. I remember my friends Laura and Rosie cooking all day sometimes and they would make floutas, tomales, and tacitos, with salsa verde, and other hot sauces that should have a warning label. But the most remarkable thing is to see corn tacos being made by mexicans, they have a system and it is dizzying. Looks kinda simple until you try it. It definitely takes practice to get them looking like tacos.

Well, I found a very good, and less messy alternative. The market around the corner sells pre-made corn tortillas. Not as good as Laura's but definitely better than my last attempt. My friends used to make shredded pork and chicken for the tacos that was stewed for hours, so I thought beef done the same way would be great.

1 green onion diced fine
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
3 garlic cloves diced
salt and pepper
1 bottle red ale
1/4 cup olive oil

1 kilo (just over 2 lbs) Blade roast
1 large onion chopped
2 stocks celery chopped
1 shallot
1 large green onion finely chopped
4 garlic cloves minced
1/2 tsp of each cumin and paprika
pinch of cinnamon
2 ripe tomatoes
3 cups beef broth (approx.)
hot sauce to taste
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

First, I marinated the beef (good old reliable blade roast) overnight with parsley, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, oliver oil, a red ale and a hot pepper that was given to me that is black on the outside, reddish on the inside and probably has a name other than really damn hot pepper. Then the next day, take beef, pat excess moisture off with paper towel and cube into large pieces. Sear the beef (with just enough oil to coat the bottom) in batches not to crowd the pan and brown each side. I like to cook the onions half way through to remove the brown bits on the pan before they burn, adding a little beef stock to dilute the brown bits. Place onions aside
add a little more oil and continue searing beef until all is browned. Place beef in large pot, add onions, celery, shallots, and after a minute the garlic. Cover 3/4 with beef broth adding spices and 2 ripe tomatoes, with hot sauce and Balsamic. Bring to a light boil and then simmer on low for no less than 2 1/2 hours or when able to take a fork to shred the beef. Remove beef and thicken remaining broth, once shredded add beef back to thickened sauce.

To shred the beef:
Using 2 forks, take a piece and hold it with one fork, and then scrape the piece with the other fork until you are left with shreds of beef, then repeat through the remaining pieces.

Corn (or if you prefer flour) tortillas
Shredded beef
Good crumbly feta
Chopped cilantro
diced tomatoes
sautéed red peppers and onion
shredded carrots
sliced green onions
good hot sauce

Dress tacos and enjoy, and if I missed a topping that you like, go ahead and add it, tacos are meant to be custom made. Simply put all the fixings you like and let everyone fix their own.

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