Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Beef Barbacoa

When I'm on vacation, I try not to be "that tourist" - you know the guy. Camera around the neck, sensible running shoes, shopping at souvenir stands and eating at McDonalds. I'm being a snob, but when I'm in a new place, I want to try new things. I do have one shameful exception though...I love Chipotle. We don't really have them in Canada (save for a few in Toronto) so I will hit them when I visit the US. But I'll also go to cool places and act like I'm above tourist traps, I swear! 

Anyway, my favourite dish at Chipotle is the beef barbacoa in a burrito - so I decided to see if I could make it work in a taco. Barbacoa is a beef that's simmered for hours, so naturally I took out my trusty slow cooker and put it to work. The results were pretty close to Chipotle, but I did find that the meat tastes better when it's PILED with toppings. So go nuts - cover it with guacamole, rice, beans, salsa, cheese and hot sauce. 

Beef Barbacoa Recipe

Serves: 20 tacos                   Prep time: 10 min               Cook time: 6.5 hrs

2.5 lbs beef roast
4 chipotle peppers
1/2 cup white onion 
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp oregano (Mexican if you've got it)
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
3 bay leaves
1 cup chicken stock
Chipotle chili powder to taste

Corn tortillas
Pico de Gallo
Rice & Beans
Cotija cheese (or feta) 

Slow Jam the Food

Chop onions and garlic (it's getting blended, so don't kill yourself). Combine all ingredients (except the bay leaves, chicken stock and beef) in a blender and puree until smooth. Trim any large chunks of fat off the beef, like the big landing strip. Place bay leaves in the bottom of the slow cooker and put the beef on top. Pour the puree over the meat and add chicken stock. Cook for 6 hours on high. 

Shred and Nom

After 6 hours, drain excess liquid, leaving about 1/2 inch in the slow cooker. Shred the beef with forks and season with more cumin to taste (I also added chipotle chili powder, but that's a personal choice). Cook on high for 30 minutes more. Serve on a warm tortilla topped with lots of burrito-type fixings - pico de gallo, guacamole, cheese, even beans and rice if you want to.

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