Over Christmas our friends Matt and Mara brought us a brown paper sack filled with delicacies from his brother’s cattle ranch about 80 miles northeast of here.
There was an experimental chorizo (a little heavy on the cinnamon but made delicious chorizo and eggs on Christmas morning), a few pounds of the most beautifully marbled freshly ground beef, and two glorious chuck roasts.
I used one of those chuck roasts around New Year’s to make outrageous surf and turf nachos. The beef I covered in a thick paste of achiote, lime juice, and salt, laid it on a pile of onions and roasted it super slow until the meat was a mumble-jumble of sour, chewy burnt ends and meltingly tender middle shreds. If you have the time I highly suggest roasting it even lower than the 300°F heat the recipe calls for. Something like 275°F makes for the most tender beef well worth the extra hour or so it may take.
Last week when I was digging around in the freezer for dinner ideas I found a container of that perfectly piquant achiote beef. Knowing for sure tacos were in order I quickly started in again, scrounging for ingredients for a quick crunch-heavy salsa to pull it all together.
Pomegranates are on their way out making room for all the spring fruit about to come but you can still find that 21st century ingredient, the pre-plucked container of pomegranate arils at most supermarkets. Not only are they convenient but also make a winter pico de gallo that is as flavorful as it is easy.
Slow roasted achiote beef is a perfect match for a bright and sunny pomegranate and jalapeño salsa. Gluten and dairy free!
The beef takes at least 4 hours to roast so plan ahead. It tastes even better on the second or third day so roasting the beef on Sunday for weekday tacos is an excellent idea. Rewarm the shredded beef with a little beef broth or chicken broth in a covered frying pan over medium heat.
Finely shredded cabbage, cilantro, and thinly sliced loquats are a real treat on top but you could also top the tacos with this stunner of a slaw.
- 1 recipe Slow-Roasted Achiote Beef, shredded
- Warm corn tortillas
- Shredded cabbage
- 2 cups pomegranate arils or seeds
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 jalapeños, diced (seeds removed if you'd like it less spicy)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Follow the instructions to make the achiote beef, shred meat and keep warm.
- Combine all the salsa ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt or lime juice if desired.
- Pile the shredded meat in the warm tortillas, top with shredded cabbage and a spoonful of salsa.