Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beef Barbacoa

My dishes tend to focus on European flavors as that best reflect my background and one cooks what they know. The Detroit area boasts many ethnic enclaves many that once again reflect the European flavors prevalent in my kitchen. I am very lucky to have traveled both near and far and have had an opportunity to experience Asian and Latin flavors. I have a great appreciation for flavors from all over the globe. The difficulty I face is bringing those flavors home and keeping the dishes some what authentic.

I live way north of the Mason-Dixon line and have limited experience cooking with authentic Mexican ingredients. Now I recognize that the Ortega or equivalent seasoning pack wouldn't fly south of the border, it is likely the bastardization of authentic seasoning. Now I don't know if people in Mexico consume such a dish but I am proud that I used seasonings outside of a packet. I did a decent amount of online research when putting together this recipe and picked and choose various spices to find something that fits my taste.

I was disappointed that most barbacoa recipes called for a crock pot slow cooker. Now I hate food snobs I really do, if one likes shaky cheese or velveeta more power to you. I do however draw the line with crock pots. I find that most things prepared in a crock pot have a boiled taste. I know it's convenient and works for many it just doesn't work for me. The slow cooked flavor from an oven or stove top always tops the the equivalent dish in the crock pot. I rarely cook with absolutes but, I absolutely dislike items made in a crock pot. Many will disagree and reference their favorite crock pot dish.... you know what they say about people with opinions. Ok vent over, to say the least I made this dish in the oven.


1 2 lb chuck roast

1 large onion thick diced

3 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano

1/2 tablespoon whole cloves

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 cups low sodium beef stock

1/2 cup chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

2 bay leafs

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, season beef with salt and pepper and sear on all sides. Remove beef and add onions cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Combine cumin, chili powder, oregano, bay leaf and cloves and add to onion garlic mixture. Cook spices for 1-2 minutes. Add chipotles in sauce, beef broth and vinegar. Bring items to a boil and add beef. Bake until fork tender about 3-3 1/2 hours. Using 2 forks shred beef. Strain remaining juices and add to shredded beef. Serve with warm tortillas and shredded cheese.

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