Tess Monaghan is In Big Trouble, actually investigating it in Laura Lippman's book by that name. Her search for missing boyfriend, Crow, takes her to Texas and a love/hate relationship with that state. Loves, loves, loves the food, and hates the actual place; though she does come in the end to more of a liking, at least for San Antonio.
Pretty funny the way she wolfs down the local specialties at every opportunity, in between tripping over dead bodies and solving some mysteries. At one point Tess wanted to stand up in a restaurant and shout "Where has this stuff been all my life?"
If you can get through the book without getting down and cooking Mexican, or at least going out for it, you have more self-control than I do. Actually I didn't get past page 2, where a character is having breakfast at the Alamo; coffee, barbacoa tacos and an elephant ear pastry. Well, okaaaaay, so we had to check out those mystery (to me anyway) tacos.
Where the work barbecue comes from apparently. A quick search led right up to making them, with the yummy slow-cooked and pulled BBQ beef; locating an avocado, and some crema. With of course, a good recipe to start it all off. I wanted to use my pressure cooker, not having a slow-cooker, and to cut down down on total cooking time. In the course of said research, I discovered that Hawaii is a Chipotles deprived state. In fact I'd never heard of the restaurant chain prior to this. Apparently they are famous for their Barbacoa Tacos, and there are Chipotles copy cat recipes out in cyber land. But, perhaps I should first apologize for having two beef recipes in a row on this blog. This one is terrific though, and puts the pressure cooker to good use. That said, here it is:
Barbacoa Beef Tacos
Servings: 9 • Serving Size: 4 oz •
- 3 lbs beef eye of round, Chuck roast or bottom round roast, all fat trimmed
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1/2 lime, juice
- 2-4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (or to taste - I would cut down next time)
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- salt and pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup water
Place garlic, onion, lime juice, cumin, oregano, chipotles, cloves in a blender and process.
Trim all the fat off meat, cut into 4 inch chunks. Season with salt and pepper and brown on high heat in 2 tablespoons oil on all sides for about 5 minutes. Add liquefied spices, water, bay leaves and simmer on low 2 hours in a pressure cooker. Or, according to some recipes – 30 minutes to 1 hr. and 30 minutes. I did one hour and it was perfect. (If you are making this on the stove, simmer it on low and you’ll have to double the cooking time to about least 4 hours, adding more water from time to time to make sure it doesn’t dry out.) If using a slow-cooker, about 8 hrs.
Once cooked and the meat is tender, remove the meat and place in a dish. Shred it with two forks, and reserve the liquid for later (discard the bay leaf). Return the shredded meat to the pot, adjust salt and cumin (you may need to add more) to taste and add some of the reserved liquid back. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes to let the flavors penetrate.
Now you assemble your taco stuff:
cilantro, queso fresco (I used Monteray Jack, shredded), additional chipotle sauce, sour cream (optional), avocado slices or guacamole, shredded lettuce and cabbage, and the tortillas, corn or flour as you prefer. All I can say is double yum. However, it is QUITE hot, you may want to cut down on the chipolte adobo. Sharing with Beth Fish Reads and her fans over at Weekend Cooking.