Awesome Slow-Cooked Beef Tacos

slow-cooked beef taco - trustinkim

If you have a thing for tacos, you’re going to love this slow-cooked beef taco recipe. The blackened peppers, slightly caramelized onions, and red wine give this recipe a lot of depth in flavour. Because of the long cooking time the meat becomes super tender, so you don’t need to buy an expensive cut of meat. It makes enough for a crowd, and also freezes well.

The recipe called for using a slow-cooker, but I don’t have one, so I cooked it in my Le Creuset baker in a low oven for a few hours.

Serve with your favourite taco toppings. Cilantro is always good, extra lime wedges, and your favourite bottled salsa. I didn’t use the Mexican crema that the original recipe suggested. Nor did I get to serve it with the Guacamolata (avocado sauce)  that I love, since there were no ripe avocados available in any of the five stores I tried!. I absolutely love X’nipek on this, a red onion topping that is really easy to make; it adds a little tartness and spice, and looks really pretty on top of a taco.

Some other topping ideas you could make are roasted tomatillo salsa, tomatillo salsa, guajillo chile salsa, or salsa fresca.

I found this recipe on the Food52 site.

What you need:

  • pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • poblano/pasilla peppers
  • serrano chile
  • tablespoons vegetable oil
  • medium-sized sweet onion, sliced about 1/2 cm thick
  • clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 430 mL/14.5 ounces canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes (or regular if you can’t find these)
  • tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • tortillas (I like the ones made with a combination of corn and flour)
  • 1 tomato, chopped 
  • greens for garnish; I used some salad mix and cilantro

What you do:

  1. Take the beef out of the fridge 1/2 an hour before you begin cooking, then season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. If you have a gas range or a barbecue, turn it on high. Place the poblano and serrano peppers over the flame, turning from time to time, until they are blackened all over. You can also do this in the oven under the broiler. Once blackened, place the peppers in a bowl and cover with a lid. Let them sit for about 15 minutes before removing most of the skin, and cutting out the stem and seeds. It’s okay to have some blackened bits; this will give your tacos some smoky flavour, and makes it look authentic. Roughly chop the peppers.
  3. Preheat the oven to 250F/120C.
  4. Put a large skillet on high heat, then pour in a little glug of vegetable oil. Once the oil is smoking hot add the beef; let it brown on each side for about 2 minutes, then remove it from the pan, keeping the drippings to cook the onions in.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the onions, stirring often to avoid burning. Cook until they have softened and become browned. If they seem too dry you can add a bit more oil to the pan.
  6. Add the chopped chile peppers and garlic, and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes, making sure that the garlic does not burn.
  7. Add the red wine and stir to scrape up all the nice brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the wine has reduced by half, then add the diced tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then place the beef back in the pot.
  8. Put the pot in the oven an cook for 2-3 hours – this will give you lots of time to prepare the toppings, or make your own tortillas, and enjoy a cerveza. My beef was done somewhere after the two hour mark. It will be easy to tell if it is done – the meat will fall apart when you pull it with a fork. When it is done, shred the beef using two forks.
  9. Taste, then add more salt and pepper if you think it is needed. Sprinkle the chopped fresh oregano on top.
  10. To warm the tortillas, wrap them in a clean damp cloth and microwave on high for 1 minute.
  11. To serve, place some of the shredded beef in the middle of a tortilla. Top with a little bit of the pickled onion, chopped tomato, or whatever other topping you like. It’s nice to squeeze a little lime on top.
  12. Enjoy! Please let me know if you enjoyed the recipe, if there are any typos, or what you did differently!

Turkey and Chocolate Chili with loads of vegetables

Turkey and Chocolate Chili - trustinkim

With this chili recipe I was looking to keep it healthy (lots of veg and lean ground turkey), while giving it fabulous flavour – and I succeeded! There are many layers of flavour – multiple types of peppers, spices, and a hint of  chocolate and lime. I’ve actually made a chili similar to this many times, but I’ve always forgotten to write down what I put in it. I’m so glad I wrote it down this time, because I think this is one of my best. I’ve made a similar recipe to this in a vegetarian version, exactly the same but without the turkey of course.

The recipe makes a large quantity, so you can halve it if you don’t want as much, or throw some in the freezer for a quick meal down the road.

If you can plan ahead, make it a day ahead of time – chili always tastes best the next day. There are a lot of ingredients, and a fair bit of chopping in this recipe, I know. But really worth it! This recipe turns out best if it is allowed a long cooking time.

I served mine with a garnish of x’nipek, a red onion salsa I learned to make in Mexico. It’s really easy to make, but totally optional.

Here’s a great little article about differentiating between chopping, dicing and mincing.

What you need:

  • 1 cup chicken, beef or vegetable stock
  • 2 dried guajillo or ancho peppers
  • 300-400 grams lean ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, medium chop
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped(remove the seeds if you don’t want much heat)
  • 1 serrano pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced
  • 1 sweet red or banana pepper, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 8-10 mushrooms, small chop
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoons Mexican chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-796mL/28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 -796mL/28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1-156mL/5.5oz can tomato paste
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Turn an element on the stove (works best with a gas stove, but you can throw them under the broiler if you don’t have one – watch carefully that they don’t burn!). Wave the dried guajillo peppers over the flame, turning to heat both sides. They will start to smell fragrant. Remove the stem and seeds and place in a small pot with the stock. Heat this up to a simmer, then let it sit off the heat for about half an hour. You can go about making the other parts of the chili while it sits. After the half hour, purée the pepper with the stock in a blender.
  2. Now heat a very large pot over a medium flame, then drizzle in a little olive oil. Cook the turkey until it is no longer pink, then remove it from the pot.
  3. Add a little more olive oil to the pot, then add the onions and cook, stirring, until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute.
  4. Add all the peppers (except the soaking guajillo), zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots. Stir the veggies while they cook, until slightly softened.
  5. Add the oregano, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, paprika and cayenne. Stir to coat the vegetables in the spices and cook for a minute or so.
  6. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste and the puréed chili and stir it all together. Once it starts to bubble, turn the heat to low. Let this cook for at least an hour, but preferably two or more. Give it a good stir from time to time, making sure it doesn’t burn.
  7. Add the chocolate and let it melt in as you stir. Stir in the lime.
  8. Enjoy!