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We are obsessed with The Complete Summer Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen. When they say The Complete Summer Cookbook, they really mean it. Inside you’ll find a wealth of recipes, 500 more precisely, that covers nibbles- such as dips, chips and canapes, to drinks and desserts with lots of inspiration when it comes to planning a picnic, BBQ, or dinner party. If you’re also looking for inspiration when it comes to your summer salads, you’ve hit the jackpot. Not only does it have tons of flavourful and colourful salad recipes, but recipes for dressings you can have to accompany it; you’ll never go store bought again.

We also love the simple dinner ideas that can be ready to go when you get home from work, ensuring you can make the most of the summer sun. This slow-cooker shredded beef tacos recipe, which they’ve kindly allowed us to share with you, is just one of them. Let the meat cook away during the day and you’ll have a delicious hot meal near ready to go. It’ll be a new family favourite for sure.

Simple Shredded Beef Taco Recipe

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Serves 4 to 6

Cooking Time: 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high

Why This Recipe Works

This easy-to-prepare slow-cooker beef taco filling makes for a great weeknight meal in the ­summer. We turned to chuck roast, with its big beefy flavor, as the basis for the filling because it becomes meltingly tender and shreddable in the slow cooker—plus it’s inexpensive and easy to find. Cutting the roast into 11/2‑inch pieces helped it cook faster and, as a result, become even more tender than when left whole. To make our red sauce, we built a flavorful mixture of dried ancho chili’s, chipotle chili’s, tomato paste, and a hint of cinnamon. The different types of chili’s created layers of heat without turning the sauce overly spicy. We bloomed the aromatics, including the dried chili’s, with oil in the microwave to bring out their full flavor and added them to the slow cooker with a little honey to balance the heat, and water to distribute the spices evenly. Once the beef was pull-apart tender, we ­simply pureed the braising liquid into a rich, smooth sauce and tossed it with the shredded beef. To complement the warm spices of the beef, we topped our tacos with a cool and tangy cabbage slaw, which we kept simple with just a splash of lime juice. You will need a 4- to 7-quart slow cooker for this recipe. This recipe will only work in a traditional slow cooker.

Ingredients

  • ½ onion, chopped fine
  • 1 ounce (2 to 3) dried ancho chilis, stemmed, seeded and torn into 1-inch pieces (1/2 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck-eye roast, pulled apart at seams, trimmed, and cut into 11/2‑inch pieces
  • teaspoon table salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 head napa cabbage, cored and sliced thin
  • 2 cups carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (2 limes), plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 12–18 (6‑inch) corn tortillas, warmed
  • Crumbled queso fresco

Method

  1. Microwave onion, anchos, garlic, tomato paste, oil, ­chipotle, and cinnamon in bowl, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. Stir in water and honey. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper and stir into slow cooker. Cover and cook until beef is tender, 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
  2. Combine cabbage, carrot, jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to another large bowl. Using potato masher, smash beef until coarsely shredded; cover to keep warm.
  4. Process cooking liquid in blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Adjust sauce consistency with extra hot water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss beef with 1 cup sauce. Toss slaw to recombine. Serve beef with tortillas, slaw, and queso fresco, passing lime wedges and remaining sauce separately.

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