Slow Braised Beef Jalisco-Style (Barbacoa)

As promised, my carnivorous friends!  A little bit of prep work, plop everything in the slow-cooker, go about your business for the day and, Voila!  Come home to a meal of tender and juicy barbacoa. This is basically roast and potatoes, but with a subtle Mexican flair. Feel free to eat as is, topped with the pickled onions and cilantro, or use the beef for taco filling. Slow cooked beef, pickled onions, cilantro, avocado slices and some cotija cheese wrapped in a warm, corn tortilla? Yes please.

adapted from: Mexican Everyday
serves 6

8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
¼ to 1/3 cup ground guajillo or ancho chile powder
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vinegar (cider vinegar is common in Mexico)
6 medium (about 1 ½ lbs) red-skin boiling or Yukon Gold potatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
a 3 lb bone-in chuck roast

pickled red onion- recipe follows
lime, cut into wedges for serving

One by one, drop the garlic cloves into a running food processor, letting each get thoroughly chopped before adding the next one. Add the chile powder, cumin, black pepper, vinegar, 1 tsp salt and ½ cup water and pulse to blend.

Spread the potatoes on the bottom of a slow cooker. Sprinkle generously with salt. Lay the meat on top.  Spread the marinade onto the meat, then spread it sloppily over the top and sides, letting some fall onto the potatoes. Pour enough water into the slow-cooker to cover the potatoes and the lower ¼ “ of the beef. Cover and slow-cook on high for 6 hours, until beef is fall-off-the-bone tender (the dish can hold on the “keep warm” function for 4 more hours or so, if needed).

(I used boneless chuck roast this time, but I recommend bone-in if you can find it. It has more flavor.)

Carefully remove the tender meat to a large plate, pulling out the bone; cut away any visible gristle or fat. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the potatoes onto the plate with the meat. Keep warm in a low oven.

Spoon off the fat that has risen to the top of the broth, then transfer the broth to a sauce pan and boil down to concentrate the flavors.

Ladle the concentrated broth over the meat and potatoes and garnish with the pickled onions and cilantro.

No slow-cooker?
in a large (6-8 qt; at least 12” diameter) heavy pot, preferably a Dutch oven, assemble the dish as directed, layering the beef under the potatoes. Set the lid in place and braise in a 300 degree oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours, until the beef is completely tender, complete the dish as described.

Pickled Red Onions
Cebollas en Escabeche

Makes about 1 cup

1 small red onion, peeled & cut in half
½ cup fresh lime juice
1 ½ tsp salt

With a sharp knife or food processor, thinly slice the onions. Scoop into a non-reactive bowl. Pour boiling water over them, count to 10, and immediately pour the onions into a strainer. Shake off all of the water, pour onions back into the bowl, pour on the lime juice and stir in the salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. These will last for a week or more in the refrigerator.

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