As we explore new dishes for the blog, we know we'll eventually have to branch out of our Euro-American comfort zone. Since we both love Mexican and most of the ingredients for a good taco are readily available at the Union Square Greenmarket, we thought it would be a good place to start.
We had already invited our friend Joe over and since he's a consummate beef lover we knew what meat would be the base. Given the weather we thought that a full-flavored shredded beef would be perfect - like the barbacoa at Chipotle! But when we started to look for recipes in all our usual places, nothing looked quite right. Many recipes called for a crock pot, which we feel doesn't allow you to develop depth of flavor. On the other end of the difficulty spectrum was our go-to Mexican chef, Rick Bayless. His recipe is for real barbacoa including an open fire, a pit, and some banana leaves. So we decided to wing it, taking what we could from various recipes and relying on our epicurean instincts.
We are proud to say we pretty much nailed it, and without much difficulty. At the end of a 9-hour day of of slow cooking we had a bowl of rich, deeply-flavored shredded beef with a spicy, earthy sauce and amazing fresh corn tortillas from Hot Bread Kitchen. We made a cabbage and carrot slaw to add a green and acidic contrast to the beef, some chili-roasted potatoes and piled on the cilantro, limes, and sour-cream!
+ 2 ½ lbs Beef Chuck Roast
+ 1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce plus one tbsp. of adobe sauce
+ 1 med onion, diced
+ 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
+ 1 tbsp cumin
+ 1 tsp. ancho chili powder
+ 3 tbsp. of tomato paste
+ 3 dried guajillo chilis, de-seeded
+ 1 can tomatoes
+ 16 oz of Six Point Crisp (or other light beer)
+ 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
+ 2 tbsp. oil or lard
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Pat the roast dry and coat in salt.
3. Place a dutch oven, with oil or lard, on high heat. Brown the roast on all sides - about 2 minutes per side.
4. Turn heat down to medium-high and place onions, garlic, spices, and tomato paste in the pot.
5. Once the onions start to soften and the spices release their aroma, pour half a can of tomatoes, the beer, and the chilis into the pot. Bring to a boil, and place in the oven.
6. After 8 hours, take out pot of the oven. Remove the beef and place in a bowl. Remove the chilis, and throw away. Return dutch oven to stove top on medium heat.
7. Put in the rest of the tomatoes and chocolate into the dutch oven and stir. Simmer to reduce for another 45 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the beef and cover to keep warm.
8. When ready to serve, pour about a cup of the sauce over the shredded beef, serving the reserved sauce on the side.