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CHEF'S CORNER

 
Street Tacos with Braised Shredded Beef
By: Aham Amachi

 

 

This recipe came about after a long debate in my mind what to do with the beef chuck, beef short ribs and beef brisket that I had in my freezer. It started with me thinking just grind them down and make burgers. Then I thought I could just cube them up and use them to refine my chili recipe. Both very good options, a coin flip really. So, the week of the Super Bowl comes around and one of my friends is having people over to watch the game. They ask if I could make the fixings for street tacos. Naturally my first thought was to cook pork, well because pork is awesome. But then I cycled back to my original thought of what to do with beef in the freezer and I figured the beef would be a perfect fit for tacos. Now full disclosure the brisket, chuck and short rib that I used for this recipe were still frozen, but since this was an eight-hour cooking process it was not an issue. This is a long process from start to finish but the result is awesome.
 

Braised Beef Ingredients
3 lb. beef (chuck, brisket or short ribs - boneless or bone in)
2 medium onions sliced thin
2 limes juiced
4 bay leaves
 
Braising liquid puree:
5 guajillo peppers
1/2 cup roasted garlic
2 tsp. ancho chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground toasted cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground toasted coriander
1/2 tsp ground yellow mustard
1/2 tsp ground brown mustard
2 tbsp. Mexican oregano
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1-6oz can Tomato paste
1/4 cup diced pineapple
2qt beef stock
 
Guacamole Ingredients
4 ripe avocados
1 bunch cilantro washed well finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
2 limes juiced
1/4 cup red onion small diced
2 jalapeno peppers remove ribs, seed & sm dice
Salt taste
 
Lime/Cumin Crema Ingredients
2 cups sour cream
3 limes juiced
2 tbsp ground roasted cumin
2 tsp ground roasted coriander
1 tsp ground roasted brown & yellow mustard seeds
Salt to taste
 
Pickled Red Onion Ingredients
2 medium red onions thinly sliced
3 cups apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp. kosher salt
 
Other Ingredients
6” or 8”corn or flour tortillas
 
 
Braised Beef Instructions:
 
1) Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees
 
2) Place guajillo peppers in a cold sauté pan. Begin to toast the peppers over medium heat.
 
3) When the peppers begin to become fragrant and pliable remove from the heat. Remove the stems and seed from the peppers.
 
4) Add stemmed & seeded guajillo peppers, paprika, Mexican oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, tomato paste, ancho chili powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground brown mustard, ground yellow mustard, roasted garlic, diced pineapple and beef stock to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
 
5) In a deep baking pan add sliced onions to the bottom of the pan. Pour in lime juice. Place the beef on top and season with a tablespoon of kosher salt.
 
6) Pour pepper puree over beef and add bay leaves.
 
7) Wrap the baking pan tightly with plastic wrap and foil.
 
8) Place pan in the oven cook for 8 hours.
 
9) Remove the baking pan from the oven and let cool down for approximately 1/2 hour.
 
10) After the beef has cooled for the 1/2 hour remove the foil and plastic wrap cover.
 
11) Remove the bay leaves from the baking pan
 
12) Take 2 forks and begin to shred the beef. Note: if you prefer shorter strand of shredded beef you can cut the beef in 1/2 before you begin the shredding process.
 
13) If you are not going to eat the shredded beef that day it can be transfer to a food storage container and refrigerated for up to 6 days or frozen for up to 6 months.
 
 
Guacamole Instructions:
 
1) Split and remove pit from avocado
 
2) Scoop out avocado into a medium mixing bowl. Add lime juice, diced jalapenos, diced red onion, cumin and cilantro.
 
3) Mash the mixture with a fork or a potato masher. This can also be done with a hand or stand mixer. It may also be mixed in a food processor withholding the onions and jalapenos and folding them in once all the other ingredients have been blended.
 
4) Taste for seasoning. Add salt as needed.
 
5) Transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate
 
 
Cumin-Lime Crema Instructions:
 
1) Combine sour cream, lime juice & cumin in a mixing bowl and blend until smooth.
 
2) Taste for seasoning. Add salt to taste.
 
3) Transfer to an air tight container & refrigerate.
 
 
Pickled Red Onion Instructions:
 
1) Combine apple cider vinegar and agave nectar in heavy medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down and let mixture simmer for 15 minutes.
 
2) Place thinly sliced red onions in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the 2 tsp. of kosher salt and gently toss. Let sit for 10 minutes.
 
3) Pour the apple cider vinegar-agave mixture over the sliced red onions and let sit for 20 minutes.
 
4) Transfer onions to an airtight container with some of the liquid.
 
 
Assembly
You can reheat the shredded beef one of two ways. On your stove top or in the oven.
 
1) If you choose the oven preheat to 300 degrees and place the beef in an oven safe vessel and reheat for 5-10 minutes then serve.
 
2) For the stove top heat 1 tbsp of oil in a medium sauté pan over medium high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer add the shredded beef and let sear until the meat begins to caramelize. Remove the heat and serve.
 
3) Place the soft tortillas (corn or flour) on a baking sheet and warm them in the oven until they are pliable.
 
4) Build your beef taco topping with guacamole, crema and pickled onions. Enjoy!
 
 

Aham is a graduate of The Restaurant School in Philadelphia. He has worked as cook at Cuvee Notre Dame in Philadelphia and Sous Chef at the former 'Stazi Milano' in Jenkintown. Currently, he is the Manager of Operations for The Philadelphia Catering Company.
 
 
 
 

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