What can we say about the English version of Mexican food? I guess we do a version of Tex-Mex. Is it even possible to do an inauthentic Tex-Mex? Mexican food that’s an awful lot of steps removed from the real thing by the time we get our hands on it. However, that doesn’t stop it tasting really good! I guess now I’m gluten-free I miss the soft flour tortillas that make a burrito so, so delicious. But without dwelling on what I can’t have, I’ve gone full steam ahead and got myself a tortilla press. Yes you can buy corn tortillas ready-made on the internet but they’re not particularly cheap, especially compared to a packet of masa harina (the flour used to make corn tortillas). I reckon it has already paid for itself the amount I’m making and really, they are so easy to do yourself. I follow a combination of instructions on the packet of flour and internet directions (see link above). They are just flour, water and a little salt, although I do make them slightly larger than recommended. It has taken a few goes to get them really good but it has been worth it. I’m not sure they would be as easy if I were rolling them, but I just threw myself into the tortilla abyss. He who dares wins as they say! Corn tortillas in the stores, around here at least, have wheat flour in them because it makes them a bit more flexible. So of course they do! Crispy tacos are gluten-free usually, but I like a soft one, I just do. To go with these wonderful creations I’ve made shredded beef. I’ve opted for my favourite slow-cooking cut of shin of beef again because it is very flavourful and cheap as you like. I actually made the filling the day before I needed it this time and reheated on the day, making the salsa, guacamole and tortillas from scratch that evening. If you want to save time you could just buy ready-made pots of salsa and guacamole. Nothing wrong with them, it’s just I like making my own! I also tend to serve tacos with cheddar cheese and a sour cream substitute (either a low lactose cremè fraîche like Rodda’s, or home soured soya cream).
Shredded beef soft tacos
Prep time 10 minutes Cook time 7-8 hours Makes 4 adult servings
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 450g beef shin
- 2 tsp La Chinata Hot (this is a spicy smoked paprika but a mix of sweet smoked paprika and chilli powder will work just as well)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 250ml stock, beef preferably
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- dash of tabasco chipotle sauce
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- A batch of corn tortillas
- Accompaniments of your choice (I used cheddar cheese, homemade chunky salsa, homemade guacamole and soured soya cream)
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat, and rub the cumin and paprika all over the beef shin. Fry the beef shin until it is seared well on both sides and then pop it in the slow cooker. Now add the beef stock to the frying pan and scrape any crusty bits of meat and spices from the bottom. Add the tomato puree and the tabasco and stir well, simmering the sauce for a few minutes until it thickens. In the meantime sprinkle the chopped onion and garlic over the meat in the slow cooker and then pour the pan juices over the top. Put the lid on and cook for 7-8 hours on low. When the cooking time is up, remove the beef from the slow cooker and shred with two forks and serve with the tortillas and accompaniments.