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Asian Short Rib Tacos

In Asian, Beef, Main Course, Mexican, Recipe, Sauces / Condiments, Teaching
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In our continuing effort to rid the freezer of winter's bounty, a few nights ago we made these really fantastic short rib tacos.  The ribs we had in the deep freeze were a variation on the ones I normally make, Daniel Boulud's classic French ribs braised in red wine.  They were an Asian variant that I whipped up as a change of pace, the recipe for the ribs can be found here.  We ended up reheating and devouring a bunch of them after skiing last weekend, but still had a few that made the trip home in the cooler, and that were crying out to be put to creative use.

That use became clear to me during a supermarket tour I took last Friday with the Share Our Strength class that I am teaching.  As you may recall, I volunteer as a chef instructor for the SOS  "Cooking Matters" program in Boston, and work along side a volunteer nutritionist, assistant, and staff coordinator, to teach our participants how to better cook for themselves and their families.  The 5th class in the series is always a supermarket visit where we instruct our students how to shop smarter by teaching them to avoid the aisles loaded with junk food, how to understand unit pricing and nutritional labels and the like.

We held last week's class at the AMAZING DeMoulas' Market Basket in Chelsea.  Aside from being absolutely enormous (it's rumored to be the largest supermarket on the Eastern seaboard), the variety, quality and pricing of the goods within left me stunned....I wish I lived closer to this gem.  In addition to a gorgeous produce section that catered to their heavily Latino clientele with items like yucca, aloe, chayote squash, tomatillo and cactus leaves, they also offered some really unusual (and unexpected) gourmet fare like quail's eggs, frog's legs and whole rabbit.  I was in heaven!  The ladies in class convinced me that I had to buy a jar of Crema Guatemalteca, a Guatemalan condiment consisting of heavy cream, sour cream and cream cheese.  Look for it to be drizzled on something here soon!  Right around the corner from the "crema" aisle was a huge display of some lovely looking, and locally made corn tortillas, and it was upon seeing these that I decided to use our leftover ribs to make some tacos.

We shredded the last few ribs and reheated the meat in their Asian braising sauce, tossed in a few cherry tomatoes, fresh cilantro, arugula and avocados (all from the Market Basket), and inspired by my friend Merrill at Food52, decided to pickle some shallots using a recipe on the site developed by the terrific cook/contributor aargersi.  I was tempted to drizzle some of my new crema on top of these bad boys, but had some chevre in the fridge that needed to be used, so we crumbled some of that on-top instead.

These were hands down some of the best tacos we've ever had, the meat was melt-in-your-mouth delicious, the veggies fresh and bright, and the pickled shallots added a crunchy bite that really made the dish.  Any tender, braised meat would be great here, but if you don't happen to have any on-hand, a quickly grilled and well seasoned skirt steak (sliced against the grain) would work nicely as well.

Cheers - Steve

 

Recipe:

Asian Short Rib Tacos

by: Steve Dunn

 

Ingredients:

 

Method:

To serve, heat the tortillas in a dry pan, cooking each side until it starts to brown in spots. Peel and roughly chop the avocados and the tomatoes. Fill each taco with some of the shredded beef, pickled onions, avocado, cilantro, arugula and chevre. 

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"Oui, Chef" exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my kids a few things about cooking, and how their food choices over time effect not only their own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, passing on established familial food traditions, and starting some new ones. Read more...
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