In times of stress and uncertainty, there’s comfort to be found in the kitchen. The worn wooden spoons that have stirred countless pots of soup, the bowls that were gifts from your grandmother, the fragrance of garlic and onions browning, and the meals that give you the strength and energy to keep on’ going.
Sometimes all we want is a quick dinner that comes together in five minutes in the microwave. But other times, we want to luxuriate in the cooking experience, to spend the evening dancing around the kitchen, to take time to smell spices and citrus. If you’re finding yourself with more at-home time than usual (me, too……), this is a lovely way to pass the time and nourish yourself and your family at the same time.
Carne Deshebrada is a popular Mexican taco filling and translates literally to “shredded meat.” And if that sounds a little too mysterious for your liking, never fear. We’ve made this dish with boneless beef short ribs from local Bellingham butcher Carne, an old-fashioned craft butchery that prides itself on sourcing meat from “regional family farms raising animals on pastures free of added hormones or antibiotics.”
Eating meat from places like Carne helps us decrease the environmental toll of industrial meat farming and support local businesses that, in turn, support sustainable farming practices.
While we’re at it, let’s add some local beer into the mix for good measure. This recipe calls for a full-bodied lager or ale, so we’ve grabbed a bottle of Bellingham brewery Kulshan’s lager for the beef (and yeah, we might have added an extra one to drink while we’re cooking/dancing).
Transforming your kitchen into a taco truck takes not one but two delicious Shrub Farm products — Apple State Vinegar and Pineapple & Sage Shrub. The vinegar is for the carne, and the shrub is for a bright and fresh slaw to pile on top. And if all this shimmying has got you in the mood for a little more, we recommend whipping up a Mauigarita to complete the vibe.
Carne Deshebrada and Pineapple Shrub slaw
Apple State Vinegar
Bring the taco truck to your house! Classic shredded beef gets a lift from apple cider vinegar and we use a little of our Pineapple and Sage Shrub in the slaw for good measure.
1 1/2 cups beer (hearty ale or lager)
1/2 cup Apple State Vinegar
2 oz (4-6) dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
6 garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
3 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
3 pounds boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup Pineapple & Sage Shrub
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 medium head green cabbage, cored and sliced thin
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1 jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
OR just use 2 x 14 oz coleslaw mix in place of veggies
For the beef
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine beer, vinegar, anchos, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cloves, and cinnamon in Dutch oven.
Arrange onion rounds in single layer on bottom of pot.
Place beef on top of onion rounds in single layer. Cover and cook until meat is well browned and tender, 2 1/2-3 hours.
For the slaw
While the beef cooks, whisk Shrub, water, and salt in large bowl. Add cabbage, onion, carrot, jalapeño, and oregano and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Stir in cilantro just before serving.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to large bowl, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and set aside. Strain liquid through fine-mesh strainer into 2-cup liquid measuring cup (do not wash pot).
Discard onion rounds and bay leaves. Transfer remaining solids to blender. Let strained liquid settle for 5 minutes, then skim any fat off surface.
Add water as needed to equal 1 cup. Pour liquid in blender with reserved solids and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer sauce to now-empty pot.
Using two forks, shred beef into bite-size pieces. Bring sauce to simmer over medium heat. Add shredded beef and stir to coat. Season with salt to taste. (Beef can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; gently reheat before serving.
Spoon small amount of beef into warm tortillas and serve. Top with slaw, queso fresco or feta, and a squeeze of lime.