I’ve always lived in places with large Mexican populations, and with that, wonderful things like Latin markets, taqueria restaurants, and food trucks. If your experience has been limited to Americanized “Mexican” fast food, you’re missing out. My favorite tacos are filled with red-orange, slightly spicy shreds of tender beef that drip juices out of the tortilla and onto your hands.
This recipe brings a whole pot of that wonderfully seasoned and tender meat into your kitchen. I’ve made large batches of this and froze it for meals later on. It reheats beautifully and you can use it for lettuce tacos, soups, omelets and baked dishes.
P.S. The strained cooking juices make the most spectacular enchilada sauce I’ve ever eaten.
Prep time 30 minutes
Serves 10 to 12
5 to 7 dried chilli peppers (pasilla or guajillo or both)
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, halved
1 lime, juiced (3 to 4 tablespoons, or 45 to 60 ml)
2 chipotle peppers, from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce (seeded, to reduce spiciness, if desired)
2 tablespoons (60 g) tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon (18 g) sea salt
1 tablespoon (20 g) honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 to 5 pounds (1.4 to 2.3 kg) beef roast (any cut)
3 tablespoons (42 g) avocado or coconut oil
Paleo Tortillas or lettuce wraps, for serving
1 Break the chillies in half and discard most of the seeds. Place the chillies in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Keep them submerged for 20 minutes.
2 Drain the chillies (reserving the liquid). Remove the stems and place them in a blender or large food processor with the remaining ingredients except for the oil and beef. Add some of the chilli liquid if the mixture is too thick; it should be the consistency of applesauce.
3 Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. The oil should appear to shimmer. Place the beef in the skillet. You should hear some crazy sizzling or the pan isn’t hot enough. Let the beef sit, untouched, in the pan for a couple of minutes. Turn the meat to sear on all sides. It should have a deep brown crust in spots.
4 Transfer beef to a 6-quart (5.7 liter) slow cooker. Pour the blended chilli sauce over the top. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, until the beef pulls apart easily.
5 Remove the roast from the cooker and shred it with a couple of forks. Set the meat aside and keep warm.
6 Strain the sauce in the cooker, discarding the fatty solids.
7 If you are using the meat right away, return it and the sauce to the slow cooker and toss to combine.
8 If you aren’t using the meat right away, let it and the sauce cool. Cover each and chill. The sauce will turn into a gelatinous mixture with a layer of fat on top. Remove that fat and discard. Reheat some meat and a few spoonfuls of sauce in a skillet.
9 Serve in Paleo Tortillas, lettuce wraps, or add meat to soups.