Tag Archives: Corn Tortillas

Mexico revisited – Carne Asada (Shredded Beef)

23 Jun

pulled beef

Whether it’s pork, beef or chicken, shredded meat (pulled) is an essential filling for tortillas. I’m a big fan of shredded beef and have made it numerous times. The key is the gravy which should end up thick and include a hint of earthy spices.

For vegetarians, I have used a variety of bell peppers, white and red onion, and, sometimes potato as a filling sautéed in a skillet with the basics (garlic, Mexican oregano, ground cumin, coriander) as an alternate with great success. Cooking time is significantly reduced as there is no need for stewing.

I’ve used Chipotle chilli to take this dish to the next level but Poblano would work well too. The smokiness of either of these chillies adds depth and tones. A Chipotle is essentially a Jalapeno chilli that has been smoke dried. As a result of this process, it ends up with a tan complexion and leathery skin.

The cut of beef should be preferably sub-primal and not too lean. Gravy beef or chuck steak is ideal but trim the visible fat as it’s not really needed. The end result should be a moist but not wet mixture. This dish works well with chicken thigh fillets or chicken pieces too if you’re not keen on beef.

  • 750g piece of chuck or flank steak
  • 1 large white onion diced
  • 2 Tablespoons of ghee, butter, lard or oil
  • 2 Cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 Teaspoon of each of Mexican Oregano, Ground Cumin and Ground Coriander (dry fry them and grind, it makes such a difference)
  • 1 to 2 Chipotle chillies deseeded if you prefer mild
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1lt or so of hot water

In a heavy base pot, seal and brown the beef then set aside in a plate.

On medium heat, saute onion in ghee, butter, lard or oil and add a good pinch of salt to ensure onions don’t brown.

Add garlic and fry until the aroma fills the air, stirring occasionally and ensuring it doesn’t brown.

Add herbs and spices stirring occasionally. I like to rub the oregano and sprinkle it in.

Add meat and Chipotle chillies then top with hot water, cover and simmer until meat is tender adding water as required.

Once the meat is cooked, remove, place on a plate and shred using two forks by pulling the fibers outwards.

Blend the remaining stock with a stick blender (handheld) then return shredded meat to the pot simmering uncovered over low heat until the gravy thickens.

Add cracked black pepper and some additional salt if required.

Pulled Pork Shoulder

pulled pork

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Mexico revisited – The sequel

20 Jun

Following on from Sunday’s menu, I’ve decided to fill in a few blanks and elaborate on my initial post Mexico revisited. The dishes that I cherish most and frequently cook are those that I almost prepare instinctively. I often ring up my mother for guidance on some of the complicated Lebanese dishes and ask her for the recipe. Her response revolves around something like “Let me have a think. Its one or two cups of this, a few teaspoons of this, a pinch of that…”. Its no surprise, she’s been making those dishes for over 40 years. So here goes, just like my mother, I’ve tried to retrace my footsteps and included as much detail as possible.

Click below (I will post recipes shortly):

Pollo Pibil

Carne Asada

Frijoles Refritas

Guacamole

Pico de Gallo

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Mexico revisited

17 Jun

When it comes to cooking (and other things too), I often wonder why I can’t do things half way, why it always has to be a multitude of dishes instead of the basic few. It probably has to do with two things: influences and experiences.

My upbringing has a lot to do with my influences, particularly in relation to offering the utmost level of hospitality. My family background is Lebanese and ever since I could remember sitting around a table, almost every meal was elaborate, varied and complete. Elaborate because dining is sacred, varied because not everyone likes the same thing and complete because one must tantalize with a starter, enjoy the main(s) and end off on a sweet note, dessert.

Experiences? Besides offering a satisfying meal, I feel it’s vital that I share my dining experiences with my guest and try to recreate with as much authenticity the dishes that I have indulged in. I have traveled to several countries and almost on every occasion emphasis has been paid to food ahead of sight seeing, and, souvenir shopping. From street food to fine dining, local markets to supermarkets, sipping on the local street beverages to the luxurious rooftop bars, I believe it’s a must that we delve deep into the gastronomical zone as it gives a greater understanding of the culture. It’s what makes us culturally different that is of great interest and food definitely forms a great part of people’s culture and must not be overlooked.

So what’s on Sunday’s menu? Pollo Pibil, Carne Cozida, Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, Corn Tortillas and Frijoles Refritas inspired of course by the streets of Mexico from Mexico City to Oaxaca and of course the Yucatan.

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