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Slow Cooked Beef Tacos with Quick-Marinated Radishes for Cinco de Mayo

Shortcuts. We’re all looking for an easier, faster, more convenient way to do things. Whether it’s communication (hello, Twitter and Facebook on your mobile phone), creation (auto mode on cameras, templates, and cake mixes), or transportation (hydrofoil boats, underground railways); getting to the end in our world is often more important than the road there. Slow cooking is a conundrum to trump all conundrums. At least as far as food is concerned. Wait, you want me to do what? Put this into a pot and sit around waiting for HOURS before the thing I’m trying to cook is actually done?

I shamefully admit that I tend to bake bread the no-knead way, and while I’m a fan of long-form, I rarely send hand-written cards (my friends and family would probably no longer recognize my awful, illegible handwriting!). With cooking, as with my day-to-day life, I don’t usually do things the slow way. I linger around the dinner table with a few glasses of wine and cheese with friends, but by that point, the ‘getting there’ has already been gotten.

So today, I thought I’d share a recipe that isn’t in my usual repertoire because it requires you to procure 1 1/2 ย – 2 pounds of the best quality beef brisket you can find, then throw it in a bit pot with a bunch of stuff. And then, wait. Lest you shall get a little nervous about the waiting part, I’ll calm your nerves: this recipe only requires 1-2 hours (as opposed to most 3-4 hour slow cooking recipes I usually see).

Truth be told, I’ve been sitting on this recipe for months, but with Cinco de Mayo around the corner, I thought it was time to break out the shredded beef, warmed tortillas, avocado, and quick-marinated radish around these parts. Whenever I leave California for any place other than Texas, I’m always surprised by the lack of good Mexican food.

I’m spoiled, frankly, by the abundance and variety of Mexican cuisine I’ve been exposed to (from growing up in San Jose to living in San Diego, vacationing in Mexico to now living in San Francisco). Many Californians will tell you that a taco or burrito is about as close to ‘mother’s milk’ as macaroni and cheese. We love tacos, but usually prepare ours with fish or shrimp. On occasion, however, it’s impossible to say no to melt-in-your-mouth, tender shredded, slow cooked beef. We don’t have access to an open fire, so this isn’t traditional barbacoa, but it’s a pretty darn good recreation for a small home kitchen. Sticking to traditional flavors, we served our shredded meat with cilantro, lime, avocado, and the easiest-ever quick marinated radish slices.

Slow Cooked Beef Tacos with Quick-Marinated Radishes
*serves four

1 1/2 – 2 pounds of grass-fed beef brisket
1 tablespoon of cumin
1/2 onion, sliced
4-5 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon of coriander
2 bay leaves
handful of fresh chives
1/2 tablespoon of chipotle chili powder
extra virgin olive oil
beef stock

For the marinated radishes:

4-5 radishes, thinly sliced
kosher salt

To serve:

warmed corn tortillas
chopped cilantro
sliced avocado
marinated radishes

1. Heat several tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high until the oil is glistening. Salt and pepper the meat and add it to the pot, cooking for a few minutes on each side, until it is browned on both sides.
2. Next, add all of the spices, herbs, and enough stock to cover the meat (use about 4 cups of stock and a few cups of water).
3. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 1 hour – an hour and a half (or until the meat is so tender it shreds with the slightest nudge of a fork). Check the liquid level in the pot, periodically throughout the cooking time. If the meat is starting to look dry, add more stock or water to the pot.
4. Remove the meat from the pot and let cool slightly before shredding it with two forks.
5. To make the marinated radishes: place radish slices in a small tupperware container. Cover with vinegar and add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Seal the container and shake vigerously until the salt has dissolved. Let the radishes sit for about 15 minutes.
6. Serve meat over warmed tortillas, top with cilantro, avocado, a squeeze of lime juice, and a few marinated radish slices.

Musical Pairings: Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass + Slow Cooked Beef Tacos with Quick-Marinated Radishes

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • I can’t wait to try my (seemingly weekly) taco with the addition of radishes…

  • Love these Kasey! They might just have to make it into my sister’s bachelorette party menu next week (in Texas mind you). Me gusta!

  • TACOS TACOS TACOS. Hooray! And I’m super glad to see the marinated radishes–I think pickled radishes are one of the best things by far about any visit to the taqueria.

  • I agree, Eileen! One of my favorite things about eating at a taqueria is loading up on the pickled veggies (I especially love radishes and carrots). Hooray for tacos!

  • Thanks, Melissa! A bachelorette in Texas def. calls for some brisket tacos! Have fun!! x

  • The radishes are a must, Carrie! Enjoy!

  • I adore pickled veggies and carnitas is the only way I will eat meat!
    Can’t wait for Cinco de Mayo!

  • Talley Burns

    Oh my goodness, YUM! We are completely Mexican/texmex deprived here in Zรผrich so we’ve started a little Sunday night Mexican pot luck with friends. Last Sunday I brought carnitas and they were a huge hit. The next time we get together I will definitely make this. I wonder what the translation for brisket is.. (just checked – Rinderbrust). Thank you for sharing and beautiful photos Kasey!

  • Hooray for pickled veggies! I can’t wait for a margarita, some tacos, and pickled veggies myself!

  • It’s funny just how prevalent Mexican food is in California, and how seemingly unknown it is in so many countries. It’s one of my favorite cuisines. I love that you have a pot luck with friends – we’d be all over that. Thanks for stopping by, Talley!

  • sarah kieffer

    Oh, delicious. Minnesota isn’t quite known for it’s Mexican food, ha, so we make ours at home, but it’s pretty basic fare. I’m going to have to try this for dinner soon!

  • Somebody just suggested radishes in tacos to me yesterday. Sounds like the perfect cinco de mayo food! Love what you are coming up with!

  • Alicia Chang

    There’s no shame in baking no knead bread! : )

  • Mmm, these look so good. I think you’ve made me re-think my dinner plans for tomorrow.

  • Homemade Mexican food is great, Sarah! As long as you have access to spices and herbs, you can make really fantastic Mexican and Mexican-inspired dishes in a kitchen anywhere.

  • Thanks, Tiffany! Appreciate you letting me know that you’re enjoying what you’re seeing.

  • Amen, sister! I had some this morning ๐Ÿ™‚

  • thanks, Laura! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

  • Funny story, I *actually* have friends who prolonged moving out of state because they didn’t want to leave the mexican food. Californians sure do take their taco seriously. I could do this in a dutch oven as opposed to a crock pot, right? I never got on the crock-pot bandwagon. Seems a bit bulky. Then again, I have lived in San Diego for four years… ask me this winter when I’m living in sub-zero Denver Decembers…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I can imagine! You could definitely make this in a dutch oven, that’s actually what I did, as I don’t own a crock pot, either. I actually think you could pretty much make ANYTHING in a dutch oven…no need to invest in bulky additions, IMO ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I feel like I’m always the one standing up for Mexican food in New York. It’s not all that bad! Either way, I’d rather be eating these. Are your corn tortillas homemade? They’re beautiful

  • I’m sure there’s *some* decent Mexican food in NYC, I’ll give you that! But, I strongly believe that California has the up. Speaking of the California-made Mexican food, I don’t have a tortilla press, so I haven’t tried my hand at making them yet – these are made by a local Mexican bakery! My favorite ๐Ÿ™‚

  • john

    This is awesome work. I have read the article and it seems
    to me very innovative indeed. Want to really see some more update here. Keep it
    up man.
    carne and pollo asada san diego

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