Beef Barbacoa

Is there anyone who doesn’t like Mexican food?

With Mexican restaurants being more abundant that any other international restaurants in any given town, you would guess that everyone likes it.  Well, guess again.  I have one in the household that doesn’t like Mexican food, at least the kind you get at a restaurant.

He will eat tacos and fajitas that I make at home, but they are not something I would consider remotely authentic.  Taco meat made with a packet of seasoning or chicken marinated in a different packet of seasoning are not my idea of Mexican cuisine.  But alas, I will make them just because both are easy and both will get eaten.  Midwest Quesadillas are considered Mexican to this person who shall remain nameless, delicious and addictive, but certainly not Mexican.

Now my idea of a Mexican dish look more like this Beef Barbacoa piled up in a burrito or burrito bowl.


I don’t know if this is authentic or not.  (I don’t know if Chipotle’s is authentic either, but it doesn’t stop me from eating there.)

It doesn’t actually matter to me, I just know that I really like it.  I make a large batch every now and again.  I freeze what I can;t use within a few days.  The first day I use it for burritos and then the next few days I turn it into burrito bowls that I can take to work with me for lunch, or 2 a.m. snack depending on which shift I’m on.

When I make a burrito bowl, I layer my cilantro-lime rice on the bottom, add a layer of black beans, and finish with some meat on the top.  I can microwave the entire thing and add my toppings that I have packed separately into smaller bowls.

My favorite toppings are pico de gallo, corn and roasted pablano salsa, guacamole, and Queso Fresco cheese.  Yes, I know Queso Fresco cheese is not intended for this purpose, but it is my burrito bowl and I will make it with ingredients I like.  I encourage you to do the same.  Put whatever it is you like in your burritos and burrito bowls! Like a famous chef used to say “There are no food police.”

 

Beef Barbacoa
3 to 5 pound chuck roast, cut into large pieces
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, cut into large dice
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup chicken broth or water
Juice from 1 large, or 2 small, limes
4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from canned peppers
1 teaspoon sugar
3 bay leaves

Place oil in a skillet and heat over medium high heat until hot. Add beef pieces and cook until all sides are browned. Turn often and move beef pieces around pan to ensure even browning.

Remove beef from skillet and place into a crock pot.

Add apple cider vinegar, onion, garlic, black pepper, salt, cumin, cloves, allspice, broth or water, lime juice, chipotle peppers, and adobo sauce in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.

Pour sauce over browned beef in a slow cooker or Dutch oven.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon white sugar over sauce and add bay leaves.

Cook in slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. If using a Dutch oven cook in a 325 Degree F oven for 3 hours or until meat is tender.

When meat is tender removed from slow cooker or Dutch oven, reserve broth and discard bay leaves. Allow to cool slightly.

When cool, shred beef and put back into slow cooker or Dutch oven. Add enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten the beef.

Continue to cook beef for another hour.

Notes

Notes: Chipotle peppers can be reduced if you do not like your food super spicy. Start with two, taste the sauce and add more until desired heat is achieved.

Skip the sugar to make this recipe paleo friendly.

http://peartreekitchen.com/beef-barbacoa/

Some of Our Other Mexican Inspired Recipes

Curried Tomato Soup

Curried Tomato Soup is based on two of my favorite dishes: tomato bisque and Indian butter chicken. Growing up I always ate the Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Up until recently, this was our go-to tomato soup. That was until I learned to make a solid tomato soup on my own.

If you’ve never been to an Indian restaurant, shame on you. My local Indian restaurant isn’t well visited by the locals, which is unfortunate because I believe they have some of the best food in town. My absolute favorite dish at this restaurant is their butter chicken. Butter chicken is a spiced (but not a hot spice, think cinnamon, cardamon, etc.) tomoato and coconut milk sauce that is used to simmer dark meat chicken. It’s absolutely fantastic with an order of garlic naan.

Anyways, one day while eating butter chicken with my wife during lunch, I had the thought of smashing together our tomato soup recipe with a butter chicken recipe. Curried tomato soup is our final result after tinkering with this recipe. We have also discovered that this recipe goes extremely well with our Indian Spiced Meatballs. Just toss the meatballs directly into your soup and you’ll be amazed.

For this recipe, you’ll probably need to head to your local Asian/Indian market. The karai methi will most likely be one of the more difficult items to fine. Since the flavor is so unique, I don’t know where to begin in terms of substitutions. For the Indian chili power, cayenne will work just fine. For some reason, the chili powder we picked up at our asian market is an order of magnitude hotter than your standard chili powder (which I’m ok with), but you may need to add more cayenne.

Before your soup is finished cooking, I recommend you taste your soup and season to your liking. Salt is important in this dish to make it pop. Sometimes I also like to go with more garam marsala and chili powder. If you add more spices to your soup at the end, be sure to let it simmer another 10-15 minutes to ensure the flavors are well incorporated.

Curried Tomato Soup

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 8

A indian spiced tomato soup.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 tbsp. minced garlic or garlic paste
  • 2 cans San Marzano (you can use fresh roman tomatoes, about 40-50 oz)
  • ½ cup cashews (this is not a typo)
  • ½ tbsp. garam marsala
  • 1 tbsp. Karai Methi
  • ¼ tsp. indian chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 2 can's coconut milk
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Saute the onion over medium-low in the olive oil until translucent
  2. Add the garlic and cook another minute
  3. Add the tomatoes, cashews, garam marsala, karai methi, chili powder, paprika
  4. Cook the mixture on low for 30-40 minutes
  5. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth
  6. Use a fine-mesh strainer to remove any large pieces
  7. Place the soup back over medium-low heat
  8. Add the coconut milk

 

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup is one of the few soups that both of us will eat.  It even gets eaten as leftovers, which if you know either one of us, you know that leftovers are rarely served around here.  But hey, that keeps the neighbors happy!

It starts with a chicken broth, so I am good.  It has meatballs which keeps the husband happy.  I also like that it has spinach in it, and this is about the only way I can get him to eat dark greens.  He loves salad, but only if it has no spinach or kale in it. In case you were wondering, I do have to pick those things out of any salad mixes they may be in.

I have read somewhere along the line that the carrots in this soup are for luck.  There are not really enough of them to affect the flavor, so leave them out if you prefer.  I keep them in because it is another way to get vegetable into our diets.

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Aglio Olio with Mushrooms

A long time ago I had a friend that loved to cook Italian foods.  Spaghetti Aglio Olio, a.k.a garlic pasta,  and a red meatless “gravy” were the only two thing I ever cooked with that friend.

If you have read any of my other posts, you know that I can never leave well enough alone in a recipe and have taken liberties over the years to adjust this recipe to my own preferences.  I think this is the way most folks cook Aglio Olio, as no two recipes ever seem the same.

The way I learned to cook Aglio Olio was to start with olive oil, garlic, and anchovies.  I know that the anchovies are supposed to melt into the sauce and provide a rich flavor.  I find it leaves too fishy of a taste for me and have chosen to not use them.  If you like that flavor, all you have to do is add 4 to 6 anchovy filets to the cold skillet with the garlic and oil when you first start the dish.

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Baked Potato Soup

Baked potato soup is another restaurant inspired soup that I keep in my wintertime menu rotation.

The recipe that was given to me by one of the restaurant owners is long gone.  After making it so many times, I just throw things together in a pan and serve it up.

He swore that his secret ingredient was ham soup base.  This can usually be found in the Latin section of local grocery stores.  Apparently, Wally World no longer carries this product.  I prefer to use Goya brand, since it comes in perfect sized little packets, but I have been known to grab a jar of it in the regular soup aisle if the packets aren’t available.

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Dijon Chicken Salad Spread

I had never eaten a chicken salad that was heavy on Dijon mustard until I ate it in a restaurant for lunch one day.  It was a shock since I had been expecting the standard fat laden chicken salad you usually find.  I had asked about fruits or nuts in the salad, as I am a puritan in that arena.

The salad was different and interesting, not in a bad way though.  I found myself thinking about this chicken salad sandwich a few days later.  I had some boneless chicken breasts in the freezer and thought I might give it a try.

It has taken a few tries to get the Dijon mustard to mayonnaise ratio right for the way I like it.  Because Dijon can be overpowering, even when you like Dijon, there needs to be a bit of mayonnaise to cut through the mustard and finish moistening the spread.

Dijon Chicken Salad Spread is a tasty way to eat chicken salad that has a lower fat and calorie count than my basic chicken salad recipe that has mayonnaise and sour cream.

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Turkey Rice Soup

I know, most everyone has a turkey soup recipe that uses their leftover holiday turkey.  This recipe is for those folks who do not have one and for those who would like to try a new version.  This one also works with ground turkey if you happen to be one of the folks that was not luck enough to have a spare turkey carcass hanging out.

For me, the key to a good turkey rice soup is the choice is herbs used in the broth.  My preferred herbs are rosemary, thyme, and marjoram.  I use them in equal parts, but have learned over the years that a base started with a turkey carcass needs more herbs than a base started with ground turkey.

Your base will be different too based on which way your start your soup.  If you decide to go with a turkey carcass, you will need less soup base or bouillon, the roasted turkey skin and bones will provide quite a bit of flavor.  In addition, I add my leftover turkey gravy.

First off, we all know that gravy is kind of weird heated back up.  Secondly, I hate to lose my pan drippings or the broth that I cooked my goblets in.  I always cook my giblets in some chicken broth and use this to moisten my dressing while I am waiting on the turkey to give up some drippings.

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Flat Bread Pizza

Flat Bread pizza when made on homemade flat bread, creates a very crispy crust.  This crust does contain yeast, unlike our thin pizza crust recipe.  Both are good, but this one can be made on very short notice if there are flat bread rounds in the freezer.

If you have read the flat bread post, then you know I make these quite a bit and freeze them just for pizza making.

This is not as easy as our other recipe for thin pizza crust, unless you have premade these flat breads and pull them out of the freezer.  Then it IS easier than thin crust pizza.

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Asian Inspired Noodles

Asian inspired noodles are simply my take on Pancit and Japchae. Yes, I know they are from different countries. Yes I know this recipe is nowhere near authentic. Yes I know they are separate dishes, but I can hardly tell the difference. Since I cannot determine which one this is more like, I just call them Asian Inspired Noodles. Makes my life easier, and everyone knows I am all about simple.

Like my other Asian inspired dishes, this is another way I like to get extra veggies into our diets.  I know, salads are good for that, but if you know me, you already know salad generally miss my plate somehow.

I also have a non-authentic recipe for Lo Mein that I will feature at a later date. When you see that one, you will think it is just combination of chow mein and Asian noodles.

I prefer this recipe with cellophane noodles or glass noodles. But my store doesn’t always have them available. There are several Asian markets in my area, but they are clean across town and I do not want to fight the traffic between here and there only to learn they are like all the other stores in town – out of stock or don’t carry them.

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Witch’s Stew

Witch’s Stew is just a Halloween party variation of Frog Eye Soup.

Frog Eye Soup is just a variation of chicken and pasta that had been started as a soup recipe and turned into more of a pasta dish.  But the name has stuck in our family for about 20 years.

Frog Eye Soup got its name from the pasta shape that I had on hand for a Frog Eye Salad.  For those of you who have never heard of Frog Eye Salad, it is kind of a sweet dish in which ambrosia and pasta salad got mixed up in the same bowl.  It was very popular in the 60’s and 70’s.

I’ll try to make some in time for the spring holidays.  Right now, my house is in full fall and winter holiday prep.  For the blog anyway, you won’t find any carved pumpkins, graveyard scenes, or Christmas trees in the house just yet.  But give it another month and you might.

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