Shredded Beef Tacos with Verde Salsa

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This recipe is deceiving. 

I realize it looks really complicated with its 20+ ingredients, its longish instructions, and its three hour cook time.  But, as you know, looks can be deceiving (so they say).  It's really, truly, honestly, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die, easy as pie.  I'll admit it takes a little longer than most recipes, but the majority of that is hands off cook time.  It is the perfect recipe for a rainy day where you're stuck inside or a day you have to be around the house anyway.  

Something tells me you're still skeptical (that is if you are anything like my friends who tell me some of my recipes appear just too damn complicated - you know who you are), so I am going to take you through it step by step to show you just how easy it is.

First you prep your ingredients.  Halve the onion and then slice the halves thinly.  Cut the chuck roast into thirds and then halve each of those thirds to make six relatively even hunks of meat.  See, not bad.  Then in a small bowl, combine all of the dry spices to make the rub.  Next, in a food processor or blender, process the wine, cayenne and chipotle peppers for about 30 seconds (and pour a sip for the cook).

That's half of the ingredients right there, most of which I'd bet the farm you have in the pantry.  

Starting to believe me?  

Coat all sides of the hunks-o-meat with the dry rub.   Heat a large pot or dutch oven over high heat.   Pour in the oil and toss in half of the meat.  Let it get all brown and yummy (about three to five minutes per side).  Flip and allow the other side to brown.  Repeat for the other half of the meat.

So far so good?  Good.

Reduce heat to medium high, toss in the onions and saute for about three minutes. 

Add the green chiles and garlic and cook for another minute.

By now you might notice that the bottom off the pan is thickly coated with a crusty combination of the dry rub, oil and the cooking juices.  It may look a little charred and gross, but this is the good stuff - the flavor, and trust me, you don't want to leave that stuck on the bottom of the pan.  So, to "deglaze" the pan as they say, pour in the red wine chipotle mixture and allow it to bubble and fizz for about three minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to help pull the flavor off of the bottom.  At this point, the bottom of the pan should look pretty darn clean, although the sides may be quite a mess.

Last but not least, add the meat back to the pot and stir in the diced tomatoes. 

That's it for the hands-on work.  True story.  Throw that sucker in the oven and go on about your business. 

Hell, you have three hours.  Watch a movie.  Clean the house.  Call your grandma.  Read a book with absolutely zero cultural or educational value - "brain candy" as I like to call it. 

Bottom line, you have three hours, so use it!

And when you get done with your productive (or mindless) three hour break, you'll have this.  Melt in your mouth tender beef smothered in a delicious, tomato-ey, spicy chipotle sauce.  

Now at this juncture, the recipe tells you to shred the meat with a fork; implying more effort on your part.  This too is deceiving - it sounds like work.  Not so my friend.  The meat is so tender that it will likely shred by simply stirring the pot with spoon.  All you really have to do is assemble the tacos, and that's the fun part!

Best part - you can tell your significant other that you spent "hours" making dinner.  

Use that as a bargaining chip.  I'd argue it's worth at least a back massage.

Shredded Beef Tacos with Verde Salsa
Serves:  10 (or 2 with enough left overs to freeze for several meals in the future)
Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time:  3 hours 30 minutes

4lbs of chuck roast
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 14 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 4 ounce can of green chiles
1 cup of red wine
2 chipotle peppers
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne 
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 1/2 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of basil
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of grape seed oil
1 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese
Tortillas (I used white corn tortillas)
Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani 0%)
Chopped Cilantro  
Lime wedges 

Cut chuck roast into six pieces.  Combine garlic powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, basil, and cinnamon and mix well.  Rub seasoning on all side of chuck roast.  In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup of red wine, the cayenne pepper, and 2 chipotle peppers for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Heat large dutch oven or pot over high heat, add oil and sear chuck 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Remove chuck pieces from heat and tent with foil.  Add onion slices and cook for 3 minutes.  Add minced garlic and green chile and cook for one minute.  Add red wine and chipotle sauce and cook for 3 minutes to deglaze pan.  Add diced tomatoes and chuck roast pieces back to pot and mix well.  Cover and cook in oven for 3 hours until meat is fall apart tender.   Remove meat from pot and shred with forks.  Skim fat from the top of the sauce.   Return shredded beef to pot with sauce.  Heat tortillas (either grill one at a time about 1 minute per side or wrap in foil and heat for 15 minutes in 350 F oven).  Arrange tacos with meat, cheese, Verde Sauce, Greek yogurt, lime and cilantro and enjoy. 

TIP:  You can finish the meat in a crock pot instead of the oven.  At the point where you would place the dutch oven or pot in the oven, transfer the ingredients to a crock pot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.


  1. AnonymousJuly 25, 2013

    I would really like to express my experience with this dish. It was damn tasty (and so easy)!!! I mean I cook a lot (every night is a different dish and I hardly ever repeat), and this was by far one of the best shredded beef tacos I've had. It has this intense deep flavor of cinnamon which is followed by a moderate level of heat that gets you going back for more.

    I topped my tacos off with warm corn tortillas, topped with quesadilla cheese, I then placed the shredded beef on top and popped it back into the oven - just enough for the cheese to melt and the meat to get crispy. I made my own salsa verde (so I can't comment on the other toppings the author listed) and added cool avocado to tame down the heat.

    1. I love the addition of avocado! I will have to try that next time.


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