Beef Cheek Tacos

I have been thinking about making tongue tacos lately. I know, many might think of this being gross, however if you have never ordered ‘lengua’ from your local tacqueria, well you are missing out. The great thing about using other cuts of beef are that they are not only tender, but the beef flavor escalates into something extraordinary, and to me that is pretty awesome. So this past weekend when I was shopping for both Asian and Mexican ingredients, and devouring some great tacos from El Rey in Milwaukee, I decided to browse around and try to find tongue. They had pork tongue, but not beef, but with that said, I saw this great package of beef cheeks. I was all in.

How to make Beef Cheek Tacos

I was not going to let my family know what I was making, and as far as they knew, it was just beef. If I mentioned beef cheeks, I knew that they would probably hesitate, and back out from trying it. So the night before, I decided to brine it, as I would have if making beef tongue. Trust me on this one, find and make beef cheeks.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the Brine:

  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 lime, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 orange, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 whole guajillo chili, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 whole dried chipotle chili
  • 1 whole puya chili
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 lbs of beef cheeks, fat trimmed

Ingredients for the tacos:

  • 2 cups of water or beef stock
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1 whole lime, cut into quarters
  • warmed flour tortillas

Make your brine by adding everything but the beef cheeks to a stock pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring along the way, ensuring you dissolve the salt and sugar. Once dissolved, remove from the heat, and let it cool.

Beef Cheek Tacos

Add the beef cheeks to a large sealable bag and pour in the cooled brine. Seal and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The following day, pour out the brine, and add the beef cheeks to a large saute pan or dutch oven. Add about 2 cups of water or beef stock, bring to medium heat, cover, and cook for about 3 hours. Reduce the heat to a medium-low once it comes to a boil.

Beef Cheek Tacos

After 3 hours, remove the beef cheeks onto a plate, and let them cool. Once cooled, slice and then chop the beef cheeks.

When you are about ready to serve, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add in the oil. Add as much beef cheeks as you want, and cook until those beef cheeks get a nice sear on them. You want to get that great crispiness on it.

How to make beef cheek tacos

When you are ready to serve, add the beef cheeks to a warm and toasted tortilla, top with fresh cilantro, minced shallot, a bit of avocado and a squeeze of lime juice. Repeat.

My son, who is now getting into onions, and one that was lingering around when I was making these tacos, tried one (I was surprised as he was not a fan of avocado, but was convinced by my sell) and devoured it.  These beef cheek tacos are probably now my favorite, and I do not kid you when I say that. The texture was spot on, and the beefiness escalated from that of skirt or flank steak, plus a heck of a lot cheaper.  Give these a shot if you are looking from some really great beef tacos. Hope you enjoy!

Beef Cheek Tacos
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • Ingredients for the Brine:
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 lime, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 orange, cut in half, squeezed
  • 1 whole guajillo chili, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 whole dried chipotle chili
  • 1 whole puya chili
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1½ tbsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 lbs of beef cheeks, fat trimmed
  • Ingredients for the tacos:
  • cups of water or beef stock
  • Brined Beef Cheeks
  • tbsp canola oil
  • fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • shallot, minced
  • /2 avocado, diced
  • whole lime, cut into quarters
  • warmed flour tortillas
Instructions
  1. Make your brine by adding everything but the beef cheeks to a stock pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring along the ways, ensuring you dissolve the salt and sugar. Once dissolved, remove from the heat, and let it cool.
  2. Add the beef cheeks to a large sealable bag and pour in the cooled brine. Seal and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. The following day, pour out the brine, and add the beef cheeks to a large saute pan or dutch oven. Add about 2 cups of water or beef stock, bring to medium heat, cover, and cook for about 3 hours. Reduce the heat to a medium-low once it comes to a boil.
  4. After 3 hours, remove the beef cheeks onto a plate, and let them cool. Once cooled, slice and then chop the cheeks.
  5. When you are about ready to serve, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add in the oil. Add as much beef cheeks as you want, and cook until those beef cheeks get a nice sear on them. You want to get that great crispiness on it.
  6. When you are ready to serve, add the beef cheeks to a warm and toasted tortilla, top with fresh cilantro, minced shallot, a bit of avocado and a squeeze of lime juice. Repeat.

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Spicy Beef and Kimchi Tacos

Recently I made a stop at one of my favorite taquerias in town, El Rey Supermercado, as I normally do, and decided to shop around for a few minutes after I had a delicious taco lunch. Often times when I go there, I load up on limes, chilies, avocados, and corn tortillas, but this time around I loaded up on fresh fruits, and meat. I can say I get a bit intimidated when ordering from their butcher as my ten years or so of Spanish is a bit weak, but heck, I give it a try every single time.  One thing that stood out to me while I was browsing was these great beef ribs that we thinly sliced.

When I arrived home that evening, I decided to come up with a kimchi style beef rib, only to be slow cooked overnight, and chopped into a killer beef for tacos.

Spicy Beef and Kimchi Tacos

If you have never had beef that is cooked with peperoncinis, well, that is a must, but cooking beef with kimchi just elevated that whole recipe. Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs beef short ribs
  • 6 sport peppers
  • 2 cups spicy kimchi
  • 1/2 cup water
  • flour tortillas
  • 1 jalapeno chili, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced

This recipe is so easy, only because you can do this in your slow cooker. You could braise this in your oven if you would like, but who doesn’t love a slow cooker, right?

Start by adding the water, beef short ribs, sport peppers, and kimchi to your slow cooker. Give a gentle stir, then cover, and cook for 8 hours.

When you are ready to prepare your tacos, carefully remove the beef short ribs from the slow cooker and place them on a large platter. Your goal here is to remove all of the bones. As you can see in my photo, there are plenty of bones to remove.

How to make Spicy Beef and Kimchi Tacos

Trim any excess fat, then chop the beef ribs. Once chopped, add the beef back to the kimchi mixture, and give a good stir.

Heat a skillet on medium heat. To another skillet, lightly toast the flour tortillas, just until they get a bit of  char, the place them on a place, and cover them to keep warm.

To the skillet, add some of the beef mixture, and get a nice sear on the beef, then place the beef mixture into each tortilla and top with the shallots and jalapeno chili.

Dig in. The flavors will blow you away. Not overly spicy, but you get this great, almost sweet, flavor from that kimchi. No one would know, but you, if there was even kimchi in this dish as it mellows out in the cooking process. These tacos might be one of my favorites now, and if you know me, I love tacos. So the next time you are near a Mexican supermarket, stop in, look around, and pick up some beef short ribs! Hope you enjoy!

Spicy Beef and Kimchi Tacos
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs beef short ribs
  • 6 sport peppers
  • 2 cups spicy kimchi
  • ½ cup water
  • flour tortillas
  • 1 jalapeno chili, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the water, beef short ribs, sport peppers, and kimchi to your slow cooker. Give a gentle stir, then cover, and cook for 8 hours.
  2. When you are ready to prepare your tacos, carefully remove the beef short ribs from the slow cooker and place them on a large platter. Your goal here is to remove all of the bones. As you can see in my photo, there are plenty of bones to remove.
  3. Trim any excess fat, then chop the beef ribs. Once chopped, add the beef back to the kimchi mixture, and give a good stir.
  4. Heat a skillet on medium heat. To another skillet, lightly toast the flour tortillas, just until they get a bit of char, the place them on a place, and cover them to keep warm.
  5. To the skillet, add some of the beef mixture, and get a nice sear on the beef, then place the beef mixture into each tortilla and top with the shallots and jalapeno chili.
  6. Dig in. The flavors will blow you away. Not overly spicy, but you get this great, almost sweet, flavor from that kimchi. No one would know, but you, if there was even kimchi in this dish as it mellows out in the cooking process. These tacos might be one of my favorites now, and if you know me, I love tacos. So the next time you are near a Mexican supermarket, stop in, look around, and pick up some beef short ribs! Hope you enjoy!

 

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Mexican Style Layered Dip Recipe

My wife fell ill to the good ‘ol flu bug this past holiday season. It was not happy times by any means, and she was laid up in bed for days. As I had planned out a great meal, days in advance of her falling ill, I continued with my plan and had family over. The meal turned out well, and I felt bad as my wife was not able to join in on the festivities. When she began to perk up, I decided to make a few comforting appetizers for her, which I thought she would love, and boy did she (and I) ever! Once I decided to make was a spin on a Mexican style layered dip. I’ve been craving Mexican food of any kind, and Tex-Mex in particular, and so I wanted to come up with something that incorporated all of the awesomeness on a plate of standard Mexican fare. Welcome the Mexican style layered dip.

Mexican Style Layered Dip

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz can red enchilada sauce
  • 14 oz can green enchilada sauce
  • 15 oz  can of refried beans
  • 4 oz can of green chilies
  • 5 oz box of La Preferida Spanish rice, cooked by directions
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 cups of cheddar jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Tortilla chips

Start by heating up a couple of pots, and a skillet on medium heat. To one pot, add the green enchilada sauce, to another pot add the red enchilada sauce, and to the skillet add the canola oil.

Warm the sauces through, just until they bubble, then reduce the heat to low.

Season your cut up chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then add to the skillet. Cook until cooked through, then remove from the heat.

Heat your refried beans in the microwave, or to another pot on the stove, until fully cooked.

How to make a Mexican layered dip recipe

Now for the assembly.

To a microwave safe bowl, large enough to hold all of this, or use a baking dish and cook in the oven, your call.

Add the layer of refried beans, top with the cooked Spanish rice, layer the green enchilada sauce, the green chiles, then the a layer of cheddar jack cheese, the cooked chicken, then the red enchilada sauce, and finally another layer of cheese.

Trust me.

Heat in the microwave, or oven until the top layer of cheese is nice and bubbly, allowing the rest to cook through, again.

Get your chips ready and dive in.

TRUST ME.

This dip was a mega hit. Everything you wanted in a scoop or spoonful of Mexican food and perfectly balanced with just the right spice and textures.

If you are looking for a crowd pleaser, give this Mexican layered dip a try. I’m certain you will love it!

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Mexican Red Sauce

I don’t know about you but we have tomatoes that are just growing off the charts right now. We planted a variety of tomatoes back in May, and now they are finally beginning to ripen. We have bowls of cherry tomatoes, as well as these great roma tomatoes sitting on our kitchen counter right now. In the meantime, I am pulling these great, large tomatoes off of the vine. With that said, I’ve been creating things such as loaded bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches, simple pico de gallos, and recently came up with this Mexican red sauce.  I’m calling this a sauce because it is so diverse that I have been marinating with it, topping omelettes with it, and well, pretty much using it on a majority of things, including drizzling it on pizza.

Mexican Red Sauce

What turned me on to creating this sauce is some dried chilies I recently purchased, the Puya pepper. After reading Pok Pok, I was interested in the puya pepper as Chef Ricker was using them in his Thai cooking.

The puya chiles have an intense heat that is somewhat pungent and have a light fruity flavor profile with an almost berry flavor. Puya chiles are grown in Mexico, and are somewhat similar to the guajillos chilie. I thought they would be perfect in a sauce, and they were.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large tomato, such as Beefsteak or Better Boy
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 4 puya chilies
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • additional water

Start by adding the puya chilies to a skillet, and cook on medium heat, flipping along the way for about 4 minutes. Remove the chilies, and let cool.  Once cooled, slice, and remove the stem and seeds.

Mexican Red Sauce with Eggs

During this time, bring a medium pot of water to a simmer. Add in the tomato and the chilies. Cover, and cook for about 15 minutes.

Remove the tomato and chilies with a slotted spoon, and let cool on a plate.

How to make Mexican red sauce

Add the chilies to a food processor, along with the remaining ingredients. Remove the skin from the tomato. The skin should easily come off.

Pulse until you have a smooth sauce.  Taste and adjust any salt to your liking.

Pour into a large mason jar, and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

This sauce had just the right amount of heat to it. A subtle punch of heat in the beginning, and then that fruitiness from the chilies, along with the garlic and onion. It’s really good. If you are looking to try a new Mexican chili, give the puya a try. I’m certain you will love it. Enjoy!

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