Chile Lime Beef Barbacoa

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With the warm weather finally here I’ve been trying to spend less time indoors and more outdoors. While I love to cook, this weather generally makes me go into kitchen hiatus mode, leaving the fridge close to bare. One way I try to get around this is by cooking a large batch of food to last a few days. For me, this means slow cooking a large hunk of meat in a flavourful sauce  until it’s really tender.

Lately I’ve been working my way through a quarter of a cow. And while I know most of my cuts of beef, most roast cuts faze me to no end. It’s come to a point that I’ll pick a random piece of meat out of the freezer and stare at it. Yes, I just stand there staring at it until I have a faint idea of what I’m going to do with it. Without fail it’s thrown into a pot set on low heat every time.

This recipe for barbacoa was no exception. I threw that roast into a slow cooker, slathered it in sauce real good and forgot about it for six hours.

I want to preface this by saying that this is not real barbacoa by any means. Since I don’t plan on excavating my backyard to make a fire pit anytime soon and don’t have a maguey plant and neither am I using a whole sheep or cattle head (thanks Wikipedia) – I claim only yummy inauthenticity.

Back to barbacoa – not only does this recipe produce a pile of meat, it’s easy to prepare and it’s cheap. While it’s traditionally served with corn tortillas, going with the inauthenticity theme I served it in lettuce leaves with avocado, salsa and pickled onions. But the real beauty of this dish comes out with it’s leftovers; for breakfast it’s mixed with eggs and topped with salsa, for lunch it’s over cauliflower rice with halved cherry tomatoes and avocado or more simply over a bed of salad greens.

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Chile Lime Beef Barbacoa
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 3-5 pound beef roast (I used an inside round but I’ve used beef chuck and center-cut with moister results)
  • 2 ancho chiles, destemmed and deseeded
  • 1 guarillo chile, destemmed and deseeded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoons ground cloves
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1-2 cups of chicken/beef stock or water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Serve with: Boston lettuce or other lettuce, avocado, salsa, pickled onions, cilantro

Method:

In a medium-sized pan set on medium-high heat fry the chiles and chopped onion in coconut oil for about 5 minutes until onions are slightly softened.

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Add the chiles and onion into a blender…

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…Along with apple cider, tomato paste, salt, spices, garlic and lime juice.

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Blend the ingredients until they form into a paste. You can add some of the stock or water from the ingredients if it needs some help.

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Trim the extra fat off the roast and cut it into 2 or 3 pieces. I would recommend cutting the roast in half with the grain if you like longer strands of meat.

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Place the pieces of meat into the slow cooker and pour the blended sauce overtop. With tongs flip the pieces around to coat it with sauce on all sides.

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Add the stock or water and bay leaves.

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Cover the slow cooker and set it on low for 6-8 hours. I set it for 6 hours but it can be more depending on the cut of meat.

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Six hours later you end up with this:

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Transfer the pieces of meat to a serving dish…

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…And “pull” or shred the meat with two forks but scraping them in the direction of the grain.

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Ladle the sauce from the slow cooker into the meat – just enough so that it is absorbed and not swimming in it. The extra sauce can be frozen into cubes and be used later to spruce up other meals.

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Serve scooped into lettuce cups and topped with your favourite taco toppings.

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