The painter finally showed at our house yesterday, which made me both excited and a little nervous. Excited because I've been expecting him for three days. Nervous because I had my crockpot out, simmering with a delicious batch of chipotle beef. I thought the aroma might be too much temptation for him and I might come home to an empty crockpot with no beef.
Fortunately, my brother-in-law was home to keep a watchful eye and protect the crockpot and accidentally walk in on one of the painters tinkling in the half bath. Nothing slips by Justin, apparently not even a little No. 1-ing. I think everyone feels a little awkward now.
In all honesty, I trust our painter. He's done work for us in the past and he's a good guy. But few can resist the savory aroma of a simmering crockpot. Except when you wake up in the middle of the night and your house still smells like beef. That's less than desirable.
When I arrived at home, I was happy to see my beef still in the crockpot and smelling delicious. I poured the beef into a pan and pulled apart the meat. I also made a cabbage and radish slaw, marinated in lime juice, that gave the tacos a tangy crunch. And in my spare time, I managed to uncover the secret to the perfect taco:
After eating at the Gulett's house a few weeks ago, I learned you really can't make any sort of soft taco to perfection without a tortilla warmer. Frankly, I was very tired of my skunky tortillas, so I invested in a warmer and that has made all the difference. Perfecto!
The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of chopped canned chipotles. I would be a little more generous since our beef really lacked the kick we were looking for. And if you're like my husband and think the slaw looks too "vegetabley," still give it a try. I promise it's such a nice contrast to the beef, you won't want to eat the taco without it.
Slow-Cooker Chipotle Beef Tacos with Cabbage and Radish Slaw
3 pounds of beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons (or more) chopped canned chipotles in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
4 cups thinly sliced cabbage
4 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
12 6-inch corn tortillas
sour cream, pickled jalapeno peppers and hot sauce for serving
- In a 4- to 6- quart slow cooker, toss together the beef, onion, garlic, chipotles, oregano, bay leaves and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Cover and cook until the beef is very tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours (I vote low and slow).
- Twenty minutes before serving, heat oven to 350. In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, radishes, cilantro and lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Wrap tortillas in foil and bake until warm, 5 to 10 minutes (or get a tortilla warmer!!).
- Transfer the beef to a medium bowl (reserve the cooking liquid and shred using two forks. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl with the beef and toss to combine (I didn't strain the liquid and opted just to fish out the bay leaves).
- Fill the tortillas with the beef and slaw. Serve with the sour cream, jalapenos, hot sauce and lime wedges.