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Exquisite tacos

Posted by Sheryl Julian  November 15, 2011 11:24 AM

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 tacosmeat3.gifIsn't this gorgeous? It's from "Just Tacos: 100 Delicious Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch,and Dinner," and it's been tempting me for days now. The book is a pretty slender volume written by a former Gourmet magazine editor, Shelly Wiseman, who worked in kitchens in Mexico and hosted her own radio program, "The Creative Cook," in Mexico City. She is also co-author of "The Mexican Gourmet Cookbook."

The photo was shot by star food photographer, Cuban-born Romulo Yanes, whose work was often on the cover of Gourmet. Yanes works with the talented stylist Paul Grimes, and whatever they shoot makes you want to head straight for the kitchen. If you do, here's what you should make.


Tacos with shredded meat in tomato-chipotle sauce

Serves 6

"Just Tacos" author Shelley Wiseman writes, "David Ortego, a chef and caterer in Mexico City, gives cooking classes to a series of regular devotees. I joined his class the night he was making these delicious tacos. Brushing the tortillas with a little oil (they should not end up greasy but softer) helps them absorb the sauce from the meat without breaking." Simmer the meat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or cook it in a pressure cooker for 45 minutes.


1 pound flank steak or brisket, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 pound lean pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces

3 quarts water

1 teaspoon salt

Skin and ends from 2 large white onions (used in the sauce)

6 cloves garlic, unpeeled

1. In a large pot, combine the steak or brisket, pork, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, skimming the surface.

2. Heat a dry flat griddle or large heavy skillet. Toast the onion skins and ends with the garlic, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until everything is blackened in patches and the garlic softens. Add to the meat. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.

3. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and leave until cool enough to handle. Shred with 2 forks.


3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large onions, thinly sliced lengthwise

1/2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 pounds tomatoes, quartered

2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce

1 cup water

6 bay leaves

1. In a large, wide pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Cook the onions with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the sugar, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until golden and blackened in spots.

2. In a blender, work the tomatoes chipotle chilies, water, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Strain through a sieve into the onions. Discard the solids in the strainer.

3. Simmer the sauce for 30 to 45 minutes or until it thickens to a velvety texture and deep red color.

4. Add the shredded meat and bay leaves to the pan. Simmer for 30 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the meat. Continue simmering if necessary. Discard the bay leaves.


20 corn tortillas

1/4 cup vegetable oil, or more if necessary

Refried beans


1. Heat a flat griddle or large heavy skillet over medium-low heat until hot. Lightly brush one side of the tortillas with oil, stacking them as you oil them (this will lightly oil the second side). Heat the tortillas, turning often, for 1 to 2 minutes. Stack on a plate as they are heated.

2. Spread a spoonful of refried beans on a tortilla. Top with meat and guacamole. Continue until all the tortillas have been filled. Adapted from "Just Tacos"




About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.


Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

The Recipe Box Project:

If you want to contribute a recipe to The Recipe Box Project, please write it below. Also tell us where you got it (package box, cookbook, mom, friend -- include the name). We're looking for the kinds of dishes that people grew up on, that were served at family suppers, that tell a story, that are typically New England, or that you brought with you from a far away place to New England. We will print one of the recipes in the Food section once a month. To ask any questions, write to Debra Samuels, who is overseeing this project, at recipebox@globe.com. To discuss your recipes, click here.