On my Own: Shredded Beef Saves the Days!

15 07 2010

There it is…peeking out beneath the tomatoes, lettuce and cheese…succulent morsels of shredded beef, cooked low and slow on the stove while I napped the heat of the day away.  Ahhhh….the Siesta!   This meal, however, came a full day later, arriving at the table around 9:30 p.m. after a full day of working in the sun, clearing a pasture (of the tools) finishing the fencing (with Murphy’s Law working overtime) and having to do the simplest task at least twice…  It’s amazing what you can still put on the table at the end of an exhausting day (hubby literally dragged me in at 8:45 p.m.).  I was amazed when I saw what was on the plates!  Thankfully with little effort on my part!

I knew this week was going to be harsh on our bodies, but I also knew we’d still have to eat.   We’ve been preparing to add an adopted horse to our family, and that’s required a substantial amount of work on our side yard. I’m a pretty “driven” person, and when I put my mind to a project.  I pretty much stay with it through thick & thin, and blood, sweat and tears.  That’s just how I’m wired.  I’m finding as I’ve gotten older, sometimes my “flesh” isn’t as willing and it takes me longer…oh no fun!!  That’s been this project all over!  From working with 15 yr. old fencing, to adding in new fencing, to putting T-posts in backwards, to any number of other goofy things, if it could go wrong once, it did.  If it required thinking outside the box for a fix, it did.  And so did we!  It’s been a bit of a juggling effort to keep us fed and hydrated properly, and still work to my fullest efforts outside too.

Knowing about this week when I shopped, I geared my supplies to Mexican foods for several days.  I knew tacos, quesadillas, taquitos, and the like would be my best bet for quick, complete meals.   Boneless chuck roast was on sale this week, and that made everything fit together even better.    It’s hard for something to be much easier to fix!!

My Shredded Beef

3# boneless chuck roast, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped fine (only use half of one if you’re concerned about the spiciness – you can always add more)
1 can Rotel tomatoes (1o ounce)
Salt, pepper, ground cumin (1/4 to 1 tsp.) to taste
Water to come to top of meat
Lard for browning beef cubes

Using a deep cast iron skillet with a lid (what Mama called her chicken fryer), or a cast iron dutch oven (preferably),  cook the onion until translucent, add garlic and cook briefly.  Remove from pan and set aside for later.  Add lard as needed and cook the beef cubes in batches until browned on the outsides.  Remove from pan, and continue to cook in batches until all meat is browned.  Return all beef to pan, add onion-garlic mixture, add seasonings and Rotel tomatoes and chipotles.  Add just enough water to come to the top of the meat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and let cook quietly for 3 hours.  The meat will be fall apart tender and have a wonderful flavor.

Use for any Mexican recipe calling for shredded beef.
Yields 4-6 servings.

Tasting Notes:
I’ve got a decently seasoned palate from eating Mexican and Thai food, and this is what I’d consider medium spicy.  I don’t want it any hotter than this out of the pan.    I even found adding salsa was too much extra heat…until I added sour cream!  I love the smokiness from the chipotles.  It’s not over-stated.  It’s a background flavor.  The beef cubes hold their shape, until you start messing with them…then they melt into perfect shreds.  Don’t worry about a piece that feels gristly, by the time it finishes cooking, it will simply melt.  If by some chance you end up with more than you can put to use, it will also freeze well, but do your best to get rid of the air.  Because there are so many surfaces, the meat is prone to freezer burn.  Use as much of the broth from the pan as you can when you freeze as you can to protect the meat from exposure to air.

So…with something that easy in the fridge, it’s not a huge hassle to fix stuffed quesadillas for supper after stringing welded wire and electric wire fencing around a corral.  The worst part was being out in the sun, again, when I shouldn’t have…and still didn’t think to use the sunscreen. DUH!!!  A lot of it had to do with anticipating only being in the sun a few moments more…which turned into hours more.  And problem solving…thinking out of the box, problem solving.   It will all be worth it tomorrow morning if my horse is delivered, and everything goes along as planned.  At any rate, the big physical push is finally over for the moment!



2 responses

16 07 2010
Your Garden

On my Own: Shredded Beef Saves the Days!…

I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

16 07 2010

Looks delicious, especially after a hard day in the sun! I am just now discovering Rotel tomatoes, apparently I am the last person on earth to know about these. Fun to hear about the process of getting the horsey home…sounds like you are just right there!

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