Shredded Beef Taco Roast

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Having grown up in Central California, I could pretty happily eat Mexican food at every meal.  One of my absolute favorites is shredded beef anything, and this recipe can be used for just that – tacos, burritos, enchiladas, nachos…we've even put it on sandwich rolls and it's been great.  It's also perfect for easy entertaining (like Super Bowls or birthday parties) because it cooks in the crock pot,  reheats great and freezes well.

A quick note – the measurements for the spices are very forgiving and flexible in this recipe.  If you like it hotter, add a little more pepper flakes and chili powder.  A little less spicy, just pull back a bit.

Shredded Beef Taco Roast
serves: a lot!

1 large roast (any sort will work, but I like something with a longer grain meat)
olive oil (for searing the roast)
1/2 – 1 t. red pepper flakes
1 t. salt
1 t. cumin
4 t. chili powder
1 t. sugar (I usually use sucanat)
1 – 2 t. garlic
1 1/2 c. chicken or beef stock (or an equal amount of water and a bouillon cube)

1. Season roast with a little salt and pepper, then sear in olive oil in a hot pan.

2. Combine rest of ingredients and set aside.

3. Place seared roast in a slow-cooker and pour the stock/spice mixture on top.  Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

4. Shred the beef with a fork and place back in the cooking liquid to serve.  I usually pull it out and shred on a plate rather than attempting to shred in the slow-cooker.

For tacos, heat tortillas, add some shredded beef, a little cheese, tomatoes, guacamole and maybe a little shredded cabbage.  A little squeeze of lime is nice too. 

For a large group, this is super easy to set up as a buffet for make your own tacos or nachos.

Leftovers freeze really well – this was one of my recent baking day projects and from one large, 5 pound roast, I was able to make 3 meals.

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Go find something new to cook!

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Hello, my name is Samantha and I'm an enchilada addict.

They are comfort food for me…a taste of home…a reminder of childhood.

Shredded beef, cheese, ground beef, chicken, artichoke and mushroom (my favorite at Espana's in Los Banos)…the filling doesn't matter.  I love them all.

I will admit, though, that I'm sort of lazy when it comes to actually making them myself.  I generally make them casserole style, cutting the tortillas into strips and layering like lasagna rather than rolling each one.  Completed enchiladas freeze wonderfully, but I've also frozen the homemade sauce on it's own to have on hand in a pinch. 

In honor of my enchilada laziness and my lack of freezer space, I threw together this yummy enchilada casserole last week:

Enchiladas

I'd intended to get a photo before we ate…but didn't quite make it.

And that's probably not the most appetizing photo.

The secret to the best enchiladas?

Making the sauce from scratch.

It's not that difficult, time consuming, or even very expensive (and certainly not as expensive as the cans of it filled with who-knows-what at the grocery store!).

Enchilada sauce:

6 T. shortening
6T. flour
2.5 c. chicken stock or 2.5 c. hot water with 2-3 bouillon cubes
2.5 T. chili powder (or to taste)
1 t. cumin (optional)

Over medium heat, melt 6 T. shortening in a pan and add 6 T. flour in a saucepan.  Stir until there are no lumps.

Add 2.5 cups hot chicken stock (or 2.5 cups of hot water with 3 bouillon cubes dissolved in it) and chili powder to taste (I used 2.5 T.), as well as the teaspoon of cumin. 

Continue to cook.   The sauce will thicken, but not too much.

Notes:

  • I'm planning to try replacing the shortening with  olive oil next time to see what happens.
  • If you overcook the sauce, it can almost turn into a pudding. It can be thinned with a little more stock or broth, but be sure to check the spices again when doing that.
  • I don't generally add salt to this (especially if I've had to use a bouillon cube), but like all seasonings  that's a personal preference. 
  • My favorite thing about enchiladas?  They're a great way to use up odds and ends – leftover roast chicken or beef, bits of cheese or veggies…even tortillas.  When the last ones in the bag start to get a bit stale, I throw them in the freezer until I have enough for enchiladas.  I've found that cutting them up and making a layered enchilada moistens them back up just enough without getting soggy.
  • This recipe came from a cookbook my aunt put together a few years ago of my great-grandmother's recipes (which I'm convinced makes it all the better!).  My grandmother remembers making these as a child and using lettuce as the filling.  We still make them for family get-togethers and they are always a hit!

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