I belong to a book club where there is always dinner with the book discussion. One night one of my fellow book club members created these tacos that were beyond amazing. I asked for the recipe, but when the request was glossed over as if I never asked, I knew that was a secret I wasn’t going to learn that night.
Luckily for my investigative skills, I knew some of the key ingredients, which was useful in helping me finally find the recipe for Mexican Pot Roast Tacos by Tyler Florence.
I thought finding the recipe was the hard part until I ended up on a scavenger hunt around San Francisco to find some key ingredients. I eventually ended up in the Mission District in San Francisco, which is where I found the ancho chile pepper. To cut down on your own scavenger hunt, I recommend heading to a grocery store that focuses on Mexican cuisine to find your spices. An added bonus was that I found the cilantro and few other items at a cheaper price too at these markets.
In terms of the meat, I am strong believer in paying for quality meat as it is the base of everything. But again, that’s my preference. Whatever you do, make sure to get a flat cut of beef. This will aid in not having to add extra water to the recipe to cover the meat.
Ok, with all the random precautions out of the way, let’s get on with cooking!
Mexican Pot Roast Tacos
2 pounds beef shoulder/ chuck roast
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large onion, sliced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, (recommended: San Marzano)
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 bay leaves
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Medium corn tortillas or Black Bean Chips
Toppings (all optional):
3 cups finely shredded white cabbage
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup cheddar cheese grated
1 container of pico de gallo
1 container of sour cream
Fresh avocados or guacamole
Le Creuset dutch oven (preferably) or any other dutch oven
Season meat with healthy dose of salt and pepper on both sides (translation: don’t be shy with your salt). Before you season the meat, add olive oil to the bottom of your dutch oven. You’ll want to heat the oil to a slight smoke to sear the meat. Right before adding the meat, add crushed garlic cloves to oil and let that sit for 15-30 seconds. This way the oil will infuse the garlic flavor before adding your meat.
Let the meat sear undisturbed to make sure it has a nice crust on all sides. This means don’t constantly check it, but also don’t let it burn to a crisp either.
Cut onion into thin strips and add to the dutch oven. I recommend using your onions to scrape the residue on the bottom of your dutch oven. This helps in cleaning your dutch oven later on and it grabs the flavoring of the meat. Let the onions cook for 3-4 minutes until they are lightly brown.
Add in the spices and bay leaves. I like to pre-measure my spices and combine them in a small container so when it comes time to adding seasoning, I’m not wasting time looking for and measuring items. If you want a little more kick to your mexican pot roast tacos, increase the amount of chile and cayenne pepper; but don’t go crazy as it already has a decent amount of kick.
Next add the can of crushed tomatoes nestling it around (not on top of) the meat as if it was a protective blanket. Take that same can and fill it with water and add it to the mix. If your meat is not fully covered by the water, add more as needed. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium or medium low heat letting it simmer for 2.5-3 hours or until the meat is fork tender.
I check on it periodically, but its not really necessary as there is no need to stir anything. However, if you want to switch up this recipe and make it into a hearty soup, this is the time. Just add an extra can of water.
Once the meat is done cooking, remove from the heat and let it cool in liquid.
Shred the meat and mix it into the liquid and you’re all set for a base to a great meal.
Now I’m allergic to corn, though I still eat it and suffer. On days I’m willing to suffer, I heat up the vegetable oil in a small frying pan and fry corn tortillas one at a time. Fry the tortillas no more than 30 seconds on both sides and then use a paper towel to remove the excess oil once they are done. If I’m being good, I will pile up some black or white bean chips on a plate and place the meat on top of it making nacho-style mexican pot roast tacos.
For toppings, I recommend guacamole or fresh avocado slices, pico de gallo, cilantro, white cabbage, grated cheddar cheese and sour cream.
Let me know how it turns out in the comments section.