In preparation for this week’s post, I decided to do a little research about the slow cooker. It was invented by Irving Naxon over forty years ago and has withstood the test of time as one of the most commonly used kitchen appliances. According to consumerreports.org about 83% of American households own a slow cooker with one in five families planning to use it in the next two weeks. I find this particularly interesting since only about 50% of households cook meals regularly. That means the majority of Americans, even ones that don’t cook a lot, own a slow cooker.
Let’s face it, if you are going to cook at home, besides the microwave, there probably isn’t a simpler method. It’s as easy as adding ingredients to the slow cooker, setting it, and forgetting it until done. No flames or burners. No stiring. Nothing except ingredients and time.
As the name implies, the slow cooker uses low heat to simmer the ingredients over a long period of time. The method works really well with tough cuts of meat as the slow and low cooking breaks down connective tissue to yield fork-tender results.
Carne deshebrada means shredded beef. Think of it as shredded Mexican pot roast. Meat needs to be really tender for it to be shredded so the slow cooker works really well for this recipe. Here in Austin, I’ve had it piled atop a tortilla with salsa to make a delicious taco. Consider making it with my spicy creamy jalapeño salsa. You could also serve it atop rice, make tortas (sandwiches) with avocado and refried beans, or stuff some enchiladas with it. I made my carne deshebrada with short ribs, mostly because I purchased them on sale at a ridiculously good price, but any type of chuck meat or even brisket would work really well. Like other braises, the flavor will improve with time, so feel free to make it in advance and then heat it up when you’re ready to eat. So next time you plan you’re weak night meals, try my Slow Cooker Mexican Braised Beef. Enjoy!
- 2½ pounds beef short ribs or 2 pounds beef chuck roast cut into 4 pieces
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
- 14.5 ounce can beef broth
- 1 medium onion cut into thin slices
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano (mexican preferred)
- 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder (optional)
- 1 jalapeño pepper thinly sliced
- A pinch of ground clove
- salt and pepper
- Preheat a large frying pan over high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the oil and then the beef, making sure to not crowd the pan. Cook the beef turning every 2-3 minutes until browned on all sides.
- Add the beef and all the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook for about 6 hours on high or 10 hours on low. The meat should be fork tender when it is done.
- Remove the meat and use two forks to shred the beef apart.
- Add the beef back to the braising mixture.