YAY, for Taco Tuesday because I had a chance to work on this recipe for slow cooker shredded beef tacos. We got back from a last minute vacation to Europe, last week, and we brought back a craving for tacos. Timing worked perfectly as I needed to get a recipe going for y’all as well.
It was a drizzly day when I set about working on this recipe, and for some reason, I felt it was a good reason to play with our otherwise but still new slow cooker. This was the second recipe I have made using it, and I am happy to say, I am pleased. I have always been afraid of using a slow cooker, and never jumped on the craze when it hit a few years ago. I stood behind slow braising and still do, but the slow cooker is kind of nice. When I say afraid, I should really say, I have always been disappointed with the dishes I have tasted from a slow cooker. Bland, pasty white meat with no browning, and lack of full-bodied flavor. I think I have found the key, for me and using the slow cooker, by browning the meat before slowing cooking. For instance, I browned the beef for this recipe until there was a golden brown crust, locking in all those flavorful juices. When the meat was finished slow cooking, the coloring was an even brown and not a pasty grey. As well, browning really locked in the spicy but smokey flavors.
I seasoned the meat with a mixture of ancho chili, cayenne chili, cumin and salt, then I added some Mexican beer and tomatoes and let the slow cooker work its magic. The toppings for these ultra moist and flavorful shredded beef tacos, was simply some fresh purple cabbage, salsa, avocado creme and a few sprinkles of jalapeño peppers for added spice.
** This recipe makes enough to feed 6 – 8 people or as we did, two dinners and two lunches.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos
4 pounds beef should
2 tablespoons ground ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons cayenne chili powder (or more if you like a lot of heat)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely minced
4 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 12ounce Mexican beer or beef stock
8 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juices
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon jalapeño, finely minced
1 tablespoon red onion, finely minced
1 tablespoon sour cream
small purple cabbage
warm flour tortillas
Bring the meat to room temperature by taking out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before browning.
Mix the chili powders, cumin, and salt together. Rub all over the meat.
Heat the olive oil in either the insert that is stove-top ready with your slower cooker or in a dutch oven. Not all slower cookers have an insert that can go on the stove-top, make sure the model you have allows this.
Add the meat the hot oil, and brown all over.
Remove the meat and set aside on a plate. Add the onions and garlic to the same pan as the meat was browned in and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
If you are using an insert that allows browning, return it to the slow cooker or if you are using a dutch oven, then place the onion mixture into the slow cooker. Then place the browned meat on top of the onions.
Add the beef and tomatoes to the slow cooker. Cook for 5 1/2 hours on high heat.
Thirty minutes before serving the tacos make the avocado creme, by mashing the avocados with the red onion, jalapeño and sour cream. Season to taste with some kosher salt. Set aside.
Thinly slice the cabbage and set aside.
To serve, place a warm tortilla on a serving plate, top with shredded beef, cabbage, salsa and avocado creme.