Mexican Fiesta

I like Mexican food. Good, authentic Mexican food that is… which seems to be quite en vogue in Brisbane at the moment. Having said that, Montezuma’s is a guilty pleasure of mine (and a couple of my good friends). A few years ago, Gourmet Traveller magazine (another guilty pleasure) had a fantastic feature on homestyle mexican cooking – La Cantina. This is where my recipe for Shredded Beef Tacos is sourced. It has proven to be very popular with my family and friends, and has even impressed a friend who was decidedly anti-mexican food. Be warned however, this is a long cooking process best started a day before you want to serve the meat, but it is definitely worth it. AND best of all, it freezes well so you can do this once in a blue moon, and have delicious taco beef at the beep of a microwave.

Photo Collage from NYE Mexican Fiesta

Adapted from Shredded Beef Brisket Tacos, GT January 2008.

1kg beef (topside, chuck, or brisket) cut in to big chunks
2 brown onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup lard or vegetable oil (not olive oil)
3 large tomatoes, de-seeded and roughly chopped
3 or 4 green onions thinly sliced
1 tsp chilli powder
1 long green chilli, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
1 cup beef stock
Soft tortillas, salad, guacamole and sides to serve.

  1.  In a really big pot, put in the beef and enough water to cover it along with 1/2 tsp of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and skim the scum from the pot for the next 5 – 10 mins.
  2. Add 1/4 of an onion, along with 1 garlic clove that has been bruised with a knife. Partially cover the pot with the lid, I tend to 3/4 cover it, and simmer for 3 – 4 hours or until the meat is falling apart.
  3. Remove the beef from the broth. KEEP THE BROTH THOUGH – strain it and put in a bowl for later. Shred the beef with two forks or with your fingers – whatever works for you, and set it aside for now.
  4. Heat the lard or oil in the same pot or a large heavy based pan (think Le Creuset). Add the rest of the onion, and the beef to the pan and cook for 5 or so minutes until the beef browns a little (I’m not talking crispy beef here, but you do want the onion to soften and be translucent-ish).
  5. Add the garlic (minced), tomato, green onion, chilli powder and cook for a couple of minutes until the spices are fragrant, and the tomato slightly softened.
  6. Add the broth, and the beef stock and simmer, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced by two thirds. Season to taste.
  7. Serve piping hot with salads and sides (and maybe a bit of chopped coriander).

For New Year’s Eve, I headed to a good friend’s place along two dishes – my Mexican beef, and my Mexican rice, for a Mexican Fiesta. My dishes joined a Mexican Lasagna, a Frittata, and some amazing salads which were enjoyed with cold beverages, cake and great company, and helped us ring in the New Year. Ole.

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