Dinner, Lunch

Carne Deshebrada
(Shredded Beef and Spicy Slaw Tacos)

And now for something completely different: Mexican Food. Not something that I am particularly good at making, but I suspect that is more because I don’t *practice* making it enough, because these tortilla with shredded beef and spicy slaw turned out pretty amazing. Experiments on a Sunday afternoon.

for the beef
1 1/2 cups beer
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 ounces (4 to 6) dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
3 pounds boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes

for the slaw
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and sliced thin (6 cups)
1 onion, sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In addition
18 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
4 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (1 cup)
Lime wedges

Preheat oven to 325F. Combine beer, vinegar, anchos, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cloves, and cinnamon in Dutch oven. Place beef on top of onion rounds in single layer, creating a sort of raft for the meat. Cover and cook until meat is well browned and tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. You do not need to brown the beef before putting it in the pot.

While beef cooks, whisk vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add cabbage, onion, carrot, jalapeño, and oregano and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or 4 hours before serving. Drain slaw and stir in cilantro right before serving.

Back to the beef: Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to large bowl, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and set aside. Strain liquid through fine-mesh strainer into 2-cup liquid measuring cup (no need to wash the pot; just wipe with paper towels). Discard onion rounds and bay leaves. Transfer remaining solids to blender. Let strained liquid settle for 5 minutes, then skim any fat off surface. Add water as needed to equal 1 cup. Pour liquid in blender with reserved solids and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer sauce to now-empty pot.

Using two forks, shred beef into bite-size pieces. Bring sauce to simmer over medium heat. Add shredded beef and stir to coat. Season with salt to taste.

Warm tortillas directly on gas flame or wrap in a damp dishtowel and put in a very low oven. Spoon small amount of beef into each warm tortilla and serve with slaw, queso fresco, and lime wedges.



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