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

Corn and Roasted Poblano Salsa

This recipe for Corn and Roasted Poblano Salsa is perfect for topping burritos, tacos, or anything that needs a bit of sweet and spicy.

Roasting your poblanos before adding them to any Mexican inspired dish gives the dish a smoky flavor.  It’s very easy to do.  I no longer have a gas stove, I use induction.  Induction cooks like gas in most instances, but when it comes to roasting things over an open flame I am forced to fire up the grill.

You can do this over a grill, just use a medium to low heat and grill the peppers on all sides until they are charred and have black blistered skin.  You can also do this over a gas flame in the kitchen, or use a grill pan.

 

Continue reading “Corn and Roasted Poblano Salsa”

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

 

Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares

Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares are like the perfect potluck dessert.  Delicious, easy, AND portable!

These are quick to make, and made even quicker if you are lucky enough to find crescent roll dough sheets.  It is hit and miss for me, one day there are what seems like millions of cans in the refrigerated section, but half the time there are none.  It only takes a few seconds to press the cut sheets back together, so either one works.

If you like your topping a little less thick, just reduce the butter by a couple of tablespoons.  Just make sure you cover it completely with sugar and cinnamon.  Either way, just keep sprinkling the sugar and cinnamon over the top until there are no more puddles of butter.  Basically, you want to make sure that your butter has absorbed as much sugar as possible.

While these can be eaten warm, I don’t find the flavor is at its best during this time.  Besides, it will be far too messy to eat with your hands.

I store mine at room temperature, I have never gotten sick nor have I had reports of people getting sick after eating these.  In my mind, these are no different than any coffeecake I have purchased with a cream cheese filling……….. I buy those at room temperature, except I have zero idea how long they have been sitting at room temperature.

I have never had Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares in my possession longer than 48 hours, so I have to imagine that is no longer than the above mentioned coffeecakes.  If you feel the need to store these in the refrigerator, feel free to do so.  I have done it, I just think they taste better at room temperature.

This recipe has been adapted from the recipe found online at Pillsbury.

Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups white granulated sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray 9 X 13 pan with baking spray.

Unroll one package of crescent rolls into prepared pan.

Press seams together, if not using uncut crescent sheets, evenly press dough out to edges of pan.

With a mixer, cream together cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and vanilla. Reserve remaining sugar for topping.

Pour cream cheese mixture over the crescent dough in the pan.

Spread evenly over dough.

Unroll second container of crescent roll dough and place on top of cream cheese mixture.

Carefully stretch dough out evenly.

Spread butter over top layer of dough.

Mix remaining cup of sugar with cinnamon.

Sprinkle evenly over melted butter.

Place in preheated oven and cooking until top is bubbling and browned, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into bars.

http://peartreekitchen.com/sopapilla-cheesecake-squares/

Other Mexican Inspired Recipes

 

Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares - Easy but delicious recipe for cream cheese filled, cinnamon sugar treat.

Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs

Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs is a recipe my wife and I came up with because she managed to find ground lamb at the grocery store on sale. It was very reasonably priced, so she picked up a few pounds. I didn’t want to do the usual thing, like turning the meat into hamburgers, so this is the recipe we came up with.

It’s super delicious and features pretty easy to find Indian spices like garam marsala, cinnamon, and ginger. And it has a good bit of garlic. This recipe is great for an appetizer, parties, or tailgates. They also reheat well.

Since Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs have no fillers, like bread crumbs or flour, they are perfectly suited for gluten-free, paleo, keto, and Whole30 diets.

Before you start cooking this recipe, I highly recommend that you hit up your local Indian/Asian market for some fresh spices. You’ll be surprised what other ingredients you might stumble upon.

For this recipe, simply add the garlic, ginger powder, oregano, salt, pepper, garam marsala, to a mixing bowl. thoroughly mix the spices in with the meat.

The next step is easy, turn the meat mixture into meatballs. I recommend weighing out 1 oz of meat and then rolling those into balls. You should get 16 meatballs, but for some odd reason, I always get 17 and a half… I’m guessing either my scale is off or the meat processor’s scale is off. It’s probably mine.

You can either pan fry these or bake them in the oven. Lamb is pretty fatty, so I prefer to keep the mess to a minimum by cooking them in the oven.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cook the meatballs for 15 minutes or until their internal temp reaches 165.

If you don’t like the thought of using lamb, you easily swap this meat out for any other ground meat. Ground pork, chicken, turkey, and beef would do fine. If I couldn’t use lamb, I’d probably use a blend of 50% pork to 50% ground beef.

Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs
1 lb of ground lamb
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp.oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garam masala

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl.

Thourougly mix all of the ingredients.

Measure the meat into 1 oz. portions an droll into balls.

Place all of the meat balls onto a greased baking sheet.

Cook for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve warm.

http://peartreekitchen.com/indian-spiced-lamb-meatballs/

Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs are perfect for paleo, keto, and Whole30 eating. Garlic, ginger powder, oregano, salt, pepper, garam marsala provides a ton of flavor.

Bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip

Our bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip is one of our absolute favorite party and tailgate food. It’s a crowd favorite and is perfect just about year round.

I absolutely love making cream cheese stuffed Jalapenos, wrapped in bacon, and tossed on the grill. The only problem with making my normal jalapeno poppers is that it’s a pain in the ass to make and cook. It also makes one hell of a mess on my grill, which is really annoying. Because of the work and mess it makes, I normally only make these once or twice a year during football season. This Bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip was invented more as a necessity. I was looking for a much easier way to create the flavors of my normal jalapeno poppers without all the fuss. This recipe also feeds a heck of a lot more people too.

Continue reading “Bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip”

Pecan Coconut Cream Candies

Pecan Coconut Cream Candies, aka Martha Washington’s, are one of the very first candy recipes I ever made way back when I was a teenagers.  Perfect for beginners and those who are searching for some nostalgia from their early years.

There are many variations of pecan coconut cream candies around the world.  Some are soft and gooey, some are more solid, like mine.

You can change up the amount of powdered sugar to suit your preference.  If you like yours softer, start with half of the powdered sugar called for.  Add more sugar a few tablespoons at a time and taste the filling.

Continue reading “Pecan Coconut Cream Candies”

Sweet Chips and Fruit Salsa

Fruit salsa is a favorite dessert at our house.  Although there is not much healthy about the fried chips, it feels healthier than some of the other things we eat for snacks and desserts.

There are a lot of ways to make cinnamon-sugar tortillas listed all over the internet.  While these are tasty, they all seem to be too big, too hard, or do not hold the fruit very well.

For sweet chips I find what works the best are fried wonton wrappers or even eggroll wrappers cut down in size and fried.

The best part about Asian wrappers is that they stay crispy after frying and coating.  They never turn into moon rocks like some baked tortillas can.  They are also way less work than buttering and coating each side prior to baking.

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Butterscotch Meringue Pie

Butterscotch Pie perfection has been an elusive mystery to me.  My grandmother could make them.  If you read the Almost Butterscotch Pie, or Sugar Cream Pie recipes, then you already know Aunt Alice could make them.

Any time I have tried to make one, it has either been runny or grainy, and sometimes both.  For me, I think the problem has something to do with the way I was mixing ingredients.  Generally, it looks curdled to me before I even add eggs.  Almost like the brown sugar curdles the milk, turning it into what looks like tiny pieces of cottage cheese floating in the pan.

The flavor has never been an issue, just the finished texture.  During a recent trip to visit family, my husband returned with an entire folder of recipes from Uncle Bill.  They were not the recipes that he was looking for, but in this folder are some amazing recipes that will be shared as time allows.

The first find that needed to be cooked and adjusted was Butterscotch Pie.  The reason for adjustments is that these recipes are designed for 50 and 100 people.  There are only 2 of us in this household, and unless you are feeding ranch hands or cooking for a family reunion, chances are you also need a smaller serving size to make in your kitchen.

I tested this recipe with my modifications using flour and using cornstarch.  We prefer the texture of the flour version, but the cornstarch version seemed to set up better.  Andy wanted a piece of pie before it was fully cooled, I would have preferred to wait a day, but he smelled it as soon as he opened the refrigerator.

Continue reading “Butterscotch Meringue Pie”

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.

Continue reading “Aglio Olio with Mushrooms”