June 13, 2012

Tacos with Slow Cooked Ancho Chile Brisket and Avocado Salsa

These are not only tasty, but you can make them ahead of time!  Who doesn't love that?  Plus, because the salsa is made in a blender, you don't have to spend time chopping the ingredients.  Ditto for the brisket sauce, you use a slow cooker for the brisket and you just throw the seasonings in the crock pot.  Very, very low prep time!  Then, when it's time to serve them, you just heat up some tortillas, shred and heat the meat, top with the salsa and enjoy!

Let's start with the Avocado Salsa.  This is like a guacamole, but so much more!  It's heavy on the avocados, but it also includes tomatillos, so it's not quite as thick and creamy as guacamole.  Plus, it has a hearty helping of lime, not only in the lime juice but also in lime zest, so it's got a fresh, bright taste.  This is wonderful paired with this brisket, or as a salsa with chips.

Avocado Salsa
3 tomatillos
2 medium avocados
1/2 serrano chile pepper (with seeds)
1 large garlic clove
1 1/2 oz. shallot
zest of 1/2 lime
1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice (fresh squeezed)
6 fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp cilantro leaves
1/4 cup water (possibly a touch more if your avocados are large)
1 tsp sea salt
A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper

Assemble the ingredients and add to your blender.  Save the avocado for last, since you want to prevent browning.  Did you know that lime juice prevents the avocados from browning?  Blend, if your blender seems to be getting stuck, consider tapping the sides lightly or adding more water.  You want it somewhat thick, but not so thick that a) you can't blend it and b) it won't be a good consistency.  I store it in a glass ball jar in the refrigerator.  Enjoy as a taco topping or with some chips!

Ancho Chile Brisket
2 1/4 beef brisket (trimmed of excess fat)
2 whole ancho chiles
1 medium yellow onion, cut into rough chunks
2 garlic cloves (peeled, left whole)
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 whole clove
1 Tbsp ground coffee
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp sea salt
A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup lime juice (fresh squeezed)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 cup red wine
1 6 oz. can tomato paste

In a slow cooker (hooray for crock pots!) place all of the ingredients except the brisket.  Turn the power on, select low heat for an 8 hour period.  The heat will start and you'll need it to help the tomato paste dissolve into the other liquids.  While that's happening, trim any excess fat off your brisket.  Cut the brisket into about 6 pieces and once the tomato paste has dissolved sufficiently, place the brisket in the mixture.  Using a fork, arrange all the ingredients so that the brisket, chiles and other large pieces are at least partially covered with liquid.  Place the cover on the slow cooker and let it go for 8 hours!

After it's cooked for 8 hours, shred the meat, mix with some of the sauce, and serve with warm tortillas and the Avocado Salsa.  If you don't plan to eat it right away, just place the meat and sauce in a container together and refrigerate.  When you are shredding the meat and mixing in some sauce, you'll need to taste it as you go along.  You may find you like more or less sauce.

I hope this helps you have a nice meal without a lot of active cooking time!  We enjoyed it this week and I was able to make it fairly quickly while both kiddos were in the den.

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