There are two kitchen items I can always count on to help me out when life gets crazy–my slow cooker and my freezer. In fact, they make a great team. When I know I’ve got busy days ahead (*ahem* last few weeks of school) I often make up a big batch of something in my slow cooker, use half right away, and freeze the other half for later. This shredded chipotle beef was the result of one of these plan ahead times. With some refried beans, pre-made tostada shells, and other simple toppings, we had a super satisfying meal after a long day.
I’ll be honest about it. The first time I ate it in a bowl, with just some cheese and salsa as a garnish. It was okay. I actually thought it had a bit more of a barbeque flavor. But when I used the frozen portion, I made these tostadas and wow! The flavor seemed so different. Something about the tostada shell, beans, and sour cream made this versatile filling shine. After a lukewarm first impression, I can tell you I will definitely use this for enchiladas, tacos, burritos, and nachos in the future.
As an added bonus, this would be great for a Cinco de Mayo crowd. Keep the party low key by letting your guests choose their dinner. Just serve this from the slow cooker and have plenty of taco shells, tortillas, beans, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and chips ready. Everyone can go down the line and build their own creation. Just don’t forget the cerveza and margaritas!
Shredded Chipotle Beef Filling
from America’s Test Kitchen, Slow Cooker Revolution
2 onions, minced
1/3 c. chili powder
minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo (I used more because we like things spicy)
6 garlic cloves, minced
jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, minced
1 TBSP tomato paste
1 TBSP ground cumin
1 (15-oz.) can tomato sauce
2 tsp. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
3 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and halved
salt and pepper
onion, chili powder, chipotles, oil, garlic, jalapeno, tomato paste,
and cumin in a bowl, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are
softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.
2. Stir tomato sauce, sugar, and liquid smoke into slow cooker. Season beef with salt and pepper, add to slow cooker, and coat evenly with sauce mixture. Cover and cook until beef is tender, 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high.
3. Transfer beef to large bowl, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces, discarding excess fat; cover to keep warm.
4. Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon.
5. Toss shredded beef with 1 cup braising liquid; add more liquid as needed to keep meat moist and flavorful. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Filling can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, let filling thaw completely before using. Serves 8-12 depending on use.