shredded steak tacos with corn and tomato salad

12:17:00 PM

Delicious with a nice cold beer.

It's pretty funny to me that the first recipe post I'm making involves a crockpot. Here's a not-so-popular secret: I generally hate the crockpot. To me, the crockpot is the antithesis of freshness. All the elements blend together to create a meal that has the same texture and flavor throughout. I find the food boring, the vegetables mushy. I also associate it with winter, not summer - weird, since most people want to use their slow cookers in the summer as to not heat up their house. I just don't want stew in summer. So, that being said:

These tacos! 

 The day before we made these tacos, Bob and I went to Taste of Madison. We're usually out of town over long weekends, and I hadn't been to Taste in many years. What I did discover was that I wanted a lot of tacos. A couple tacos and tamales later, and I was disappointed. Even places that we've eaten at before, and that we know to be good, just didn't do it for me this time.

So, my first thought when we ate these were that they were better than any taco we got at Taste of Madison, and then I felt good about myself.

The first time I made these tacos, I nearly killed myself by adding waaaay too much chipotle chile. I can handle a moderate amount of spice, and Bob loves it, but they were so hot I couldn't taste the other flavors. This time, I dialed it back a bit and they were perfect.

Bob threw together the corn and tomato salad due to an abundance of both ingredients in our CSA. I am so sick of tomatoes right now it's unreal, but they're finally dwindling down in our CSA. They were delicious, but eating them every day is exhausting. We managed to get through the whole summer without having to can our tomatoes, so that's how many we've eaten. The salad adds an awesome freshness, but you could replace it with something else, particularly if you're making this outside of summertime and these ingredients aren't fresh. They're good with just onions and lime juice, or maybe some cabbage or lettuce.

The salad is also great on its own, or as a salsa with chips, or with bread. 

shredded steak tacos with corn and tomato salad
serves 4-6


for the tacos
canola oil for browning beef
about 1.5 - 2 lbs of chuck roast 
1 white or yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, diced
1 tbsp oregano, dried
1 tbsp cumin, ground
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup beer (can substitute broth)
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped (adjust to your spice tolerance!)
the juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

for the corn and tomato salad

3 tbsp vinegar (we used white wine vinegar, but apple cider vinegar would work too)
1/4 cup good-quality olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
fresh sweet corn, 5-6 ears 
2 cups halved grape tomatoes, or chopped tomato
1 avocado, chopped
8 oz fresh mozzarella, chopped (or get those cute little balls of mozzarella!)
4-5 scallions, chopped
fresh basil to taste 

for serving
corn tortillas (can use flour if you prefer)
fresh limes, cut into wedges
cooking spray or oil
salsa, sour cream, lettuce, or any other toppings you like

Trim the fat from the chuck roast and cut into one-inch pieces. Pour a small amount of canola oil into a large pot or pan and add beef, turning to brown on all sides (about 10 minutes). Add the onion, cook about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, cloves, beer, chipotle chiles, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper. 

Transfer mixture to a slow cooker and cook on low 8-10 hours, or high for 4-6 hours. 

Remove beef from pot, shred with two forks and remove any remaining fat. Place meat back into crockpot with juices. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.

To make the corn and tomato salad, make an easy dressing by combining the vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cut the fresh corn off of the cob into a large bowl, and add the tomatoes, chopped avocado, fresh mozzarella, scallions, and basil. Toss with dressing.

Preheat the broiler to 550 degrees. Place your corn tortillas on a cookie sheet, spray with cooking spray or brush with oil, and broil just until they are starting to get crispy and browned (watch them carefully!) Flip and broil the other side for a minute. (Alternatively, heat the tortillas on a pan on your stovetop - I just find it faster to warm a lot at once in the oven.)

Assemble the tacos by placing shredded beef on the bottom of the corn tortillas, topping with the corn salad, and a fresh squeeze of lime. Serve with beer!

Beef recipe adapted from Closet Cooking
Corn Salad recipe adapted from Food Network

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