A couple of weeks ago I bought a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to make a favorite dish, baked chipotle chicken. There are generally 7 or 8 peppers to a can so I decided to make barbacoa beef with some of the leftover peppers. Barbacoa is a richly flavored, slightly spicy beef that is usually served on tortillas or in a salad. Traditionally made with chuck roast, I used beef short ribs instead for my Mexican-inspired meal with the exact same flavorful results. You’ll need a slow cooker and about 8 hours to make the beef tender enough to easily pull apart with a fork. I like mine on a flour tortilla, loaded up with avocado, onions and sour cream. Your mileage may vary.
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds chuck roast or beef short ribs
1 cup beef stock
3 chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 bay leaves
ground black pepper
corn or flour tortillas
medium (10-inch) skillet
measuring cups and spoons
food processor, or blender
1. Heat oil in skillet on medium high heat until hot. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper, then brown it on all sides. Cook in batches, if necessary.
2. Mix stock, chipotle peppers, cumin, oregano, lime juice and garlic together in food processor until blended.
3. Place browned beef into slow cooker, then pour in chipotle pepper mixture. Top with bay leaves.
4. Cook beef in slow cooker on low setting for 7 hours. Discard bones, remove bay leaves, and then shred beef with two forks.
5. Spoon beef into tortilla and add optional toppings.
NOTES & TIPS
• Don’t overcrowd the pan when browning meats. Overcrowding brings the temperature down and the meat will steam rather than sear.
• Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be found in the international aisle of the supermarket, often in 7-ounce cans. Don’t use the sauce for this recipe. Save the leftover peppers and sauce for chili, tacos, or a spicy dip.