2½ lb (1.25 kg) whole beef chuck
1 small onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 cup (250 mL) water
5 dried ancho chilies, deveined and seeded
2 dried guajillo chilies, deveined and seeded
2 cups (500 mL) boiling water
6 garlic cloves
¼ cup (60 mL) white wine vinegar
1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tsp (5 mL) whole black peppercorns
½ tsp (2 mL) cumin seeds
1 tsp (5 mL) sea salt
½ cup (125 mL) Mexican crema or regular sour cream
⅓ cup (75 mL) lime juice
12 white corn tortillas, warmed
6 cups (1.5 L) chopped romaine, microgreens or baby spinach
Marinated red onions (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- For beef, combine beef with onion, bay leaves and water in a large ovenproof pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and transfer to preheated oven. Cook for at least 3 hours, until beef is tender and starts to fall apart. (You can also prepare this in a slow cooker on high for 6 hours.)
- With a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a platter (reserve cooking liquid for another use, such as making soup). With two forks, shred beef and return it to the pot. Set aside.
- For chili paste, toast ancho and guajillo chilies in a small heavy skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes, to release oils. Transfer to a bowl and add boiling water. Let soak for 15 minutes. Strain chilies, reserving liquid.
- In a food processor, combine soaked chilies, garlic, vinegar, oregano, peppercorns, cumin seeds and salt. Process until a thick paste forms, adding some of reserved soaking liquid, if needed.
- Stir chili paste into shredded beef. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until well combined and hot throughout.
- For lime crema, combine crema with lime juice in a small bowl. Transfer to a squeeze bottle for easy dispensing.
- To serve, top tortillas with beef. Layer romaine and marinated red onions on top of beef, then drizzle with lime crema. Finish with sea salt and cilantro sprigs.
Marinated Red Onions
1 lb (500 g) red onions, sliced (about 2 large)
2 cups (500 mL) white wine vinegar
½ cup (125 mL) lemon juice
½ cup (125 mL) orange juice
¼ cup (60 mL) cilantro sprigs
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
- In a large non-metallic bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and marinate at room temperature for at least 24 hours or preferably 48 hours.
Makes about 3 cups (750 mL)
TIP Marinated Red Onions keep for 3 weeks in the refrigerator and are also good tossed in salads or used as a condiment for a charcuterie board.