Crispy Shredded Beef Tacos, San Diego-style
Makes 12, with leftover filling.
Note: This recipe makes more filling than you’ll need. No worries, the tender shredded beef also makes a delicious burrito or sandwich filling, or topping for a taco salad. From Meredith Deeds.
• 2 to 3 lb. chuck roast
• 1 medium yellow onion, diced
• 1/4 c. beef broth
• 2 tbsp. tomato paste
• 1 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. ground cumin
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
• Vegetable oil
• 12 corn tortillas
• Shredded iceberg lettuce
• Pico de gallo
• Shredded Cheddar cheese
• Sour cream, optional
Place the beef in a 4-quart slow cooker. Scatter the onion over the top. In a small bowl, combine broth, tomato paste, salt, cumin, garlic and jalapeño. Pour over the beef.
Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or high for 4 to 6 hours. Transfer the meat to a cutting board. Reserve the juices.
Remove any remaining fat or gristle from the roast and discard. Shred the remaining beef with 2 forks and place in a medium bowl. Toss to coat with just enough of the juices to slightly moisten, about 1 cup. The beef should not be wet, just moist.
Heat the tortillas on a dry skillet over medium heat for a minute. This will prevent them from breaking when rolling into a taco. Put 2 tablespoons of the beef filling on each tortilla and fold in half.
Insert a wooden toothpick through each taco just above the filling to help hold the filling in and so they fry evenly and hold their shape. (If you have trouble getting your toothpicks through your tortillas without it tearing, you can hold the top of the taco closed with long metal tongs when you lower it into the hot oil. Once it starts to cook, it will hold its shape on its own.)
Heat 1 inch of oil in a heavy, large saucepan to 350 degrees. Carefully place 2 tacos in the hot oil. Fry until the tacos are crispy and golden on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Arrange the tacos on a serving platter and top with lettuce, pico de gallo, cheese and sour cream, if desired.
Pico de Gallo
Makes 3 cups.
Note: While you can certainly make this salsa in a food processor if you’re in a hurry, the result tends to be a uniformly pinkish mixture that’s not nearly as appealing as the fresh salad-like appearance you get if you use a knife to chop up the ingredients. From Meredith Deeds.
• 1 to 1 1/2 lb. ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
• 1/2 c. finely chopped red onion
• 1/3 c. finely chopped fresh cilantro
• 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1 small clove garlic, minced
• 1 to 3 tbsp. minced jalapeño or serrano chiles, or to taste
• 1/4 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in medium bowl, using as many or as few minced chiles as your palate demands; toss to blend well. Season to taste with salt. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.