Monday, March 1, 2010

low and slow

So I'm once again in the market for a slow cooker. An overwhelming craving for moist, tender, falling off the bone meat finally kinda nipped me in the behind and I'm making arrangements to swing by KMart (blech, blech, blech WHY aren't there Target locations in NYC, WHY?!?) for a totally affordable and petite kitchen friendly slow cooker at some point this week. And why this week? Because I hope to indulge my friends with some spicy shredded beef soft tacos with avocado, cilantro, and red onion by this weekend.

Wanna be friends?

Thought so.

So here's a recipe I'm thinking about playing around with for the beef. I'm a slow-cooker virgin so we'll see how it all works out but I'm thinking that bubbling away in a pot full of aromatics and spices would turn even a soccer cleat into a culinary delight. And with that, here's what we're looking at:

Shredded Beef for Soft Tacos

1 to 1-1/2 lbs. beef brisket, top round, etc.

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. chili powder

1 medium onion, cut into medium-sized chunks

2 Tbsp. chipotle in adobo

1/2 tsp. salt

water to cover

Add a little bit of olive oil to a screaming hot pan and sear the meat on both sides until a deep, dark, gorgeous crust has formed. Transfer to the slow cooker and add in the garlic, onion, chili powder, chipotle, and salt. Add enough water to cover the meat. Set the slow cooker to low and let it rip for about 8+ hours.

After 8 hours or so, skim off any fat then shred the meat with two forks. I'm going to go out on a limb and say you need not apply much pressure at all to make this hunk of meat shred. A hovering fork and this bad boy will collapse into its own juices and beg to be tucked into a small flour tortilla.

Toss on a few slices of avocado, some shredded iceberg, a few sprigs of cilantro, diced red onion, and a squeeze of lime, take a sinfully zippy bite and cheers a Corona with the guy or gal you've been eyeing. Because you're officially "in."
Needless to say the beauty of a slow cooker (especially for those of us chained to a desk all day and sometimes into night) is you can toss a couple of things into it in the morning, head off to the old 9 to 5 and arrive home to a beyond cozy and homemade masterpiece. This also makes weekend entertaining (or week day for that matter) a breeze. You'll have hours to prep the crib and of course, yourself.
This all goes without saying you can now turn the cheapest cuts of meat into the most delectable which means you can effortlessly entertain on a more than modest budget. Which will certainly lessen the blow of buying a few extra avocados and cervesas. And maybe some mango sorbet for dessert.

Here's the one I'll be picking up. What do you think? Go, slow cookers? I'm thinking, chya.

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