Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Wet" Shredded Beef Burritos

We, like most Americans, love to go out to the local Mexican joint, fill up on chips and salsa and chow down on some tasty food. But, being that we have a child well into the throes of the "terrible twos" and trying to stay within a budget, it's not always possible. Especially on the weekdays, as my wife doesn't get home until 7. 

I love the shredded beef in particular at Mexican restaurants and it's really easy to get close at home. This is a pretty straightforward recipe. Another slow-cooking one too. The key is just prepping it in the morning and walking away until time to prep for dinner. Low and slow.

"Wet" Shredded Beef Burritos (some ideas from here)

We're going to combine the below in an oven worthy vessel:
2-3 lbs beef chuck, cubed and seared
3 green chiles, roasted, skinned and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
6-10 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

We're also going to need the below later on:
1 packet taco seasoning
1 14.5 oz can of enchilada sauce, red
1/2 cup of prepared beef gravy (yes, in a jar)
1, 8 oz bag of Mexican Cheese, shredded


I started by roasting some green chiles. We'll do it just like the "Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas" recipe. 

Fire up your burner(s) and place the chiles on them and let them burn all over.

Keep them moving until you have char all over the chile. Any spot without char will not come off the chile, so don't skimp this process. It won't take more than 10 minutes. Pop them into brown paper bags and let them steam for 5 minutes and skin them under running water. 

Slice them open and remove the membrane and seeds. 

Give them a rough dice and set aside for now.

Now, get your pot on the stove over medium/high heat. We're going to sear the beef just like we did in the "Easy (but not quick) Pot Roast".

Pour a little oil in the bottom and get it hot. 

Cube up your chuck roast into big cubes. This works best if it's mostly frozen.

Toss it into the pot and sear one side. 

Flip the pieces and sear the other side. Again, don't over think this, just get some color on them.

Add the spices, salt & pepper and bay leaves to the pot. (I forgot the oregano and added it later, oops)

While that finishes searing, roughly chop up an onion, a shallot and a bunch of garlic. It's all going into the pot, so perfection is not required. I really like the garlic chunky. Don't worry, it'll be really mellow after 6 hours.

Give everything a good stir and add the vinegar. This doesn't need any more liquid, so don't add any. 

Pop it into a 225 degree oven and set the timer for 6-8 hours, whatever time you have. I did 6 hours and it worked fine. I checked it every 2 hours or so and gave it a stir. 

This is mine after 2 hours:

After 4 hours:

After 6 hours:

Next, drain off the liquid and save both the solids and the liquid. Fish out the bay leaves. They're done.

We're going to use a cup of this liquid. You can strain it one more time through a fine mesh strainer if you want. I did.

Pour the beef/onion solids and the cup of broth back into the pot over high heat until it comes to a boil. Your really want to break up the beef at this point. If you did your job with the low and slow cooking, this should be easy.

Add the taco seasoning. I know. But it tastes really good. Sorry. I'd make my own (which I have) but I had this packet left in the pantry I wanted to get rid of.

Give it a stir and once it boils, drop the heat let it simmer on medium for about 10 minutes. 

When most of the liquid has evaporated, kill the heat.

Let's heat up the sauce real quick. 

Empty the enchilada sauce into a sauce pan. 

Add 1/2 cup of the gravy. I know it sounds weird, but it's a real earthy addition to the sauce. It ends up tasting really good. Skip it if you want, and just use enchilada sauce. 

Just heat until hot.

Heat up some refried beans. I find Mexican brand beans (with lard) taste better, but use what you want. Just use the microwave, no need to complicate things.

We're going to build 4 big burritos.

Start by heating up the tortillas. I used 10" for this.

Spread some beans over the center of the tortilla. Avoid the edges.

Add some beef. The amount is up to you. I probably used a cup or more(?) I didn't measure, sorry.

Add a heavy pinch of cheese.

Fold the bottom over and the sides in.

Roll it over and pop it into a greased 9x13 baking dish. It wouldn't be a bad idea to put a little sauce under each one to prevent sticking. Mine did a bit even with greasing the pan, but it wasn't the end of the world. 

Repeat for the other three.

Pour the sauce over top.

Add the rest of the cheese. Yeah, I used a whole bag for this recipe.

Pop it into a 350 degree oven until the cheese melts, about 20 minutes, tops. I actually made mine ahead of dinner and put them in the oven from the fridge for 30 minutes. Worked fine.

Serve with the normal restaurant fixin's. Chips & salsa, rice, beans, garden and sour cream, etc.


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