If you’ve read any of my previous slow cooker recipes (like lamb rogan josh or slow cooker BBQ pork), you’ll understand I have been gradually overcoming my skepticism of the slow cooker. I was not brought up with one and my earlier experiences of food cooked in them were not exactly great – yes the food was cooked but it was often dry and lacking taste. Over the last year or so, though, I have come to like using the slow cooker I was given now and then as long as you bear in mind it needs to be treated in a particular way. That is, you can’t expect flavor to just appear as you might with roasting, you need to add some in, but you can expect it to tenderize otherwise tougher cuts of meat with the right additions. That’s exactly the case with this Mexican slow cooker beef – it takes an otherwise tougher piece of chuck steak (or other braising cut) and makes it fall-apart tender, with some good flavor added too.
This really is a true ‘set it and forget it’ dish, with only a quick chop of some onion, a few things added to the slow cooker then mixed together with the beef. Leave it to cook on low for a few hours and that’s it. Then this Mexican slow cooker beef is ready to go in your favorite dishes, whether that’s in tacos, burritos or whatever else you want to make. It’s great this time of year as well since it doesn’t heat up the kitchen and lets you enjoy as much of the day as possible before you finish off making dinner.
We had it with a simple combination of salsa (I’ve been using the blender chipotle version I used in my West Side burger last year a lot recently, it’s so good), guacamole and sour cream in some tortillas and it was delicious. I love that it’s so easy to make, and it’s a great way to use tougher cuts of meat to their best advantage – after all, they have plenty flavor if you cook them the right way as what makes them potentially tough is what gives them deliciousness. Adding in those few spices adds to great flavor but not so much it takes over from anything else you combine it with. All in all, this Mexican slow cooker beef is the perfect base for lots of Mexican-inspired meals with plenty of flavor and limited effort. In other words, it’s something you really need to try soon.
A great way to transform a lesser cut of beef into a tasty, tender filling for tacos and more.
- 1/2 small onion
- 1 lb chuck steak 450g, or similar cut for braising, cut in a few chunks (can use more meat - see notes below)
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp tomato paste puree
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
Peel and slice the onion and add it to the slow cooker. Add the beef followed by everything else (juices, tomato paste and spices). Toss them all together to mix, cover then set the slow cooker on low and leave to cook for approx 6-8hours.
When it has finished cooking it should be fall-apart tender. Remove the meat from the cooker and shred with two forks. I include the onions as well but feel free to discard those if you prefer. Pour over a little of the cooking juice to ensure the meat is moist and serve as you prefer on top of tacos, in burritos etc.
Note - you can use a larger quantity of meat is you prefer without necessarily needing to double everything - I would suggest around 1.5 times the rest of the ingredients for a 2lb/900g quantity of meat. Cooking time will be nearer the 8hours rather than 6 for a larger quantity.
Try these other tasty taco fillings:
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