I've been kinda bummed out with cooking...Just couldn't get inspired or excited, ya know? To fix the problem, I spent some quality time with my cookbook collection and found inspiration in the words and pictures of Rick Bayless and Diana Kennedy. For those of you who don't know, Bayless and Kennedy are the world's foremost Caucasian experts on Mexican cuisine. They've done it all, seen it all and, thankfully, have written it all down in a series of excellent cookbooks. In addition, finding quality purveyors of Mexican ingredients is quite easy in San Francisco so Mexican food is pretty easy to recreate. I am going to cook Mexican food until I am sick of it and long to taste the flavors of a different cuisine.
To begin, I decided on a series of tacos. The first is this shredded beef taco. I've taken a general recipe from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen (it's a classic) and modified it to suit my tastes and what was available at the local upscale butcher. The recipe calls for pork shoulder but I found some terrific looking beef chuck so that's what I bought. And oh, this is my ghetto version. If you want to get fancy, you can roast the tomatoes and all that. But I wasn't feeling it and the ghetto version is still really tasty. Lastly, I'm terrible at re-warming corn (wait, you were gonna use flour? don't EVER return to my blog) tortillas...I guess they should be steamed but I don't have the patience. I wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave them.
1/2 of a white onion, diced
6 cloves of peeled garlic
2 pounds of boneless beef chuck, cubed
3 chipotles in adobo (pretty easy to find...any well-stocked grocery store should have them)
10 ounces of diced, canned tomatoes
1/4 teapoon of freshly ground cloves
Put 5 cloves of garlic, the meat, and the onion into a pot and cover with well-salted water. Bring to a simmer and skim off the nasty meat foam. You'll probably need to skim 3-4 times. Simmer until the meat is tender...It took me 1.75 hours. Allow the meat to cool (in the broth) and then shred with your fingers. Pour off the broth and set the shredded meat to the side. It's okay of there are a few onion/garlic bits mixed in with the meat.
For the sauce:
Blend the chipotles, the tomatoes, the remaining clove of garlic and the ground cloves. Just get it nice and smooth. Heat up a pan and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. You need to sear the sauce. Get the oil good and hot (add a drop of the tomato/chili sauce to see if it vigorously sizzles) and add the tomato/chili sauce. Here is a video:
After 5 minutes, the sauce will be thicker and darker in color. Don't let it burn. Add salt to taste. This step cooks the sauce and gets rid of the raw flavor.
Set the sauce aside. Heat up another pan and add a few tablespoons of oil. When the pan is hot, add the shredded meat. Allow it to brown a bit and then add in the sauce. Cook for a minute...just enough to let the flavors mingle. Meat is done!
Make tacos...garnishes might include pickled onions, fresh onion, fresh chopped cilantro, queso fresco, lime juice, any number of salsas...really, it's up to you. Have fun with it!
Time- Not much at all...2 hours to simmer meat, 10 minutes to make the sauce, 5 minutes to brown meat.
Beef- 10 bucks...$5 per pound, two pounds total.
Chipotles- about a third of a can, 2 bucks per can, 66 cents.
Can of tomatoes- $1.25
Total- About 12 bucks. Not sure how many tacos I am going to get out of this one batch of meat.
LOLCat (they bring so much joy to my life...the "bukkit" is sort of a LOLCat insid):