Many moons ago, I subscribed to Eating Well magazine.  I liked it so much I bought a cook book from them in 1991 or so.  I used to make one recipe in particular on a fairly regular basis: Northern-Style Shredded Beef With Tomatoes.  It’s relatively easy to do and the meat can be used for just about anything – from tacos or burritos to just eating as a snack.

We did a kind of a burrito-with-taco-fillings tonight.  Not exactly traditional, but it was really, really good.

I don’t follow the recipe verbatim, but this will give you a good idea of what you can do!

Northern-Style Shredded Beef With Tomatoes

  • 1 lb lean boneless beef chuck, well trimmed and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large scallions, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
  • 2 ripe tomatoes. roasted or broiled, cored, peeled and chopped, or 1 15oz can tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2-3 fresh hot green chilies (roughly 2-3 serrano chilies or 1-2 jalapeño chilies), stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • salt to taste

Bring 2 qts water to a boil in a large saucepan, add meat, then skim off any grayish foam that rises the first few minutes of simmering.  Slice half of the onion and halve 1 clove of garlic; add to the meat.  Partially cover and simmer over medium to medium-low heat until the meat is very tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  let the meat cool in the broth.  Strain the liquid and spoon off all the fat that rises to the top; set aside.  Finely shred the meat with your fingers, then dry with paper towels.

Dice remaining onion and garlic.  heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add onions and shredded beef and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, until well browned.  Reduce the heat to medium, add garlic, scallions, tomatoes, and chilies, and cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes have softened, about 4 minutes.  Stir in 2/3 cup of the reserved broth, then simmer until the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes.  Season with salt.

Makes enough for 10 tacos.  Serves 3 to 4 as a light main course.

I generally use maybe a 3″-4″-thick piece of eye of round and season the cooking water pretty well with onions, garlic, chipotles, cumin, basil, Mexican oregano… Canned tomatoes are easier (and much more flavorful) this time of year and substitute canned chipotles in adobo.  I like the smoky spiciness.

It can be played with and tweaked to whatever mood you’re in!

I made a spicy everything-but-the-kitchen-sink rice, and had bowls of iceberg lettuce, black olives, avocado, diced tomato, shredded cheese, salsa, and sour cream to add to the flour tortillas.

Brownies and ice cream later for dessert.

Since Victor’s favorite meal is meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas, tomorrow’s Birthday Dinner is going to be a variation on that theme.

I found a recipe for a Rustic French Meatloaf that I’m going to try tomorrow.  Chicken livers in Meatloaf?!?  Eh.  Why not?!?