Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Settling in

Well we moved. Moving sucks, but as these things go, this wasn’t too bad. We had lots of time to prepare and plenty of help with the move, so really the hard part has been just getting the place set up. It’s quite a bit smaller than our last place, so the big challenge is figuring out where to put everything, especially cook books and certain pantry staples (as a non-baker I question the need for so many baking supplies).

With that settled, it was time to test out our new, smaller kitchen. The early returns are promising and it feels good to be back to cooking after so many weeks of take out and restaurant meals. And so I decided to mark our latest move with tacos (which is becoming something of a tradition for us)

I made these with a mix of brisket and beef cheeks (I had a small package in the freezer for ages with no idea what to do with it), but regular stew meat would suffice. It’s really all about the marinade, a rich, almost mole-like sauce which gets its depth from dried ancho chilis (found at specialty stores like La Tortilleria here in Toronto). Pickled red onions are basically mandatory for accompaniment.


Braised beef tacos (adapted from Food 52)
2 1/2pounds beef cut into cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1 dried ancho chili
1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus 2 more for cooking)
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1teaspoon salt
3 limes

Place the dried chili in a bowl of very warm water and soak until soft. Remove the stem and seeds from the ancho, cut it up into chunks (reserve the water).

Put everything from the garlic to the salt (including the water from the chili) in a blender or food processor and blend into a paste. Toss the paste with the beef and marinate for several hours or overnight.

Heat the oven to 275, and heat 2 tbs olive oil in a dutch oven. Brown the beef in batches, add the reserved marinade with about a cup of water and the juice of three limes. Transfer the works to the oven.

Bake at 275 for 3 hours, turn the beef over once or twice while it cooks

When the beef is fall-apart tender, take the pan out of the oven. Using 2 forks, pull the meat apart in the pan and serve.

Lime Pickled Onions (adapted from Epicurious)
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
½ tsp sugar

Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Cover and let stand 1 to 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

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