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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Slow cooker does the work for Barbacoa beef tacos

By KATIE WORKMAN
The Associated Press

Barbacoa beef - or pork or lamb or goat - is by definition slowly cooked meat. The word is Mexican, and originally referred to a cooking method by which parts of an animal were wrapped in leaves, and steamed and smoked simultaneously over fire.

The dish came to America from Mexico by way of Texas, and is very much a part of Mexican immigrant and Tex Mex culture, as well as the cuisine of Mexico. ...

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Barbacoa beef - or pork or lamb or goat - is by definition slowly cooked meat. The word is Mexican, and originally referred to a cooking method by which parts of an animal were wrapped in leaves, and steamed and smoked simultaneously over fire.

The dish came to America from Mexico by way of Texas, and is very much a part of Mexican immigrant and Tex Mex culture, as well as the cuisine of Mexico.

So the notion of making it in a slow cooker is simultaneously radical and obvious. And the resulting meat is flavorful and tender, begging to be stuffed in a soft taco with toppings.

Leftovers might be used in chili, stews, enchiladas, burritos or quesadillas; a couple of cups of shredded, cooked beef in the fridge are a springboard for any number of dinners later in the week. This type of one-two-punch cooking is very rewarding.

So throw that big chunk of beef into the slow cooker with a nice battalion of seasonings, shred up the soft meat, heat some tortillas in the microwave, oven or a skillet, and have yourself a delicious little winter taco feast.

SLOW-COOKER
BARBACOA BEEF TACOS

Start to finish: 10 hours, 20 minutes (10 hours of which are hands off). Serves 8.

1 eye of round beef, 2½ lbs.

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. chipotle in adobo
puree

1 onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. chili powder

½ tsp. ground cloves

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

Juice of 2 limes

¼ cup cider vinegar

3 cups beef or chicken broth

3 bay leaves

Warmed corn or flour
tortillas to serve

Optional toppings:

Salsa (tomato or tomatillo)

Sour cream

Shredded cheddar, or
crumbled queso fresco,
goat cheese, or feta

Diced avocado

Slivered red onion

In a large, heavy skillet over high heat, heat the oil. Sear beef on all sides until browned.

Meanwhile, combine chipotle puree, onion, garlic, chili powder, cloves, salt, lime juice and vinegar in a slow cooker. Add broth and bay leaves.

Cook on low, 10 hours, until meat is falling-apart tender. Remove meat from slow cooker and let sit 20-30 minutes, then pull apart using two forks.

Meanwhile, pour cooking liquid into a tall container and put in fridge. When you have pulled apart the meat, take out liquid and skim off any fat that has risen to the top. Rewarm sauce if needed and drizzle shredded meat with some of the cooking liquid until nicely moistened but not dripping.

Serve with warmed tortillas and whatever toppings you like.

Note: Reserve the rest of the cooking liquid; you can use it in soups, stews or chili.

Nutrition information per serving: 323 calories; 76 calories from fat; 9 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 82 mg cholesterol; 896 mg sodium; 25 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 36 g protein.

Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, "Dinner Solved!" and "The Mom 100 Cookbook." She blogs at www.themom100.com/about-katie-
workman.