Monday, January 24, 2011

Dinner for Company - Carnita Beef

On Saturday we had a our good friends John, Jen and their 7 month old son Justin over for dinner. "Uncle" Josh, Kara's favorite dinner guest, joined us too. I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to use one of the fabulous new cookbooks my mother in law gave me for Christmas.

Pam Anderson, not to be confused with the buxom former wife of rocker Tommy Lee, is a foodie, cookbook author, blogger and all around cool lady from what I can gather. Her food blog Three Many Cooks is written by Pam and her two sisters and offers some great recipes. Her cookbooks also get rave reviews. I have How to Cook without a Book and Perfect One-Dish Dinners.

For our weekend dinner, I was looking for something easy and fun that would use up some of the meat that is currently taking up all of my freezer space. "Carnita-Style Beef" from One-Dish Dinners was, in fact, perfect. Basically, you braise chuck roasts in a chile sauce, shred the meat and serve it sort of like fajitas.

Here is the basic recipe for the beef. This makes a TON of food. You could easily cut this recipe in half and it would serve 6-8 hungry adults. If you go that route, you can make the whole thing in a dutch oven. I also think this recipe could be adapted to a slow cooker. I will give that a try next time.

  •  Preheat oven to 450.
  • In a large bowl, cover 2 beef chuck roasts (4-6 lbs total weight) with olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin.
  • In a small bowl combine 2 small cans chopped green chile peppers, 1/4 cup chili powder and 2 tsp cumin. (I might try adding a little molasses or brown sugar to sweeten it up next time.)
  • Chop up 8-10 cloves of garlic.
  • Heat a large roasting pan on high and cover the bottom with oil. Sear the meat on so it gets nice and crusty. Set aside.
  • Add garlic to pan for a minute or so. Then add chile mixture and stir until fragrant - like another minute. Now dump in a quart of chicken stock and stir until bubbling.
  • Return meat to pan and cover with several layers of foil so that the steam is staying locked in.
  • Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You want the meat to be shredable. 
  • Shred the meat and set aside until ready to serve. This is easy to freeze in bags and would be great for enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, bi bim bap. Yum!
I fried up a couple of bell peppers and onions cut into long strips to serve with the beef as well. We just put the meat, the veggies, a bowl of rice and beans,  warm tortillas, sour cream, salsa and guacamole on the table and let everyone make their own thing. It was simple and fun.

Jen, who manages to be a doctor, a mommy and an amazing cook, brought the most delicious carrot cake cupcakes. Here is the recipe from Food & Wine Magazine. Seriously, the best cupcakes ever. Jamie de-frosted his and then devoured the actual cake in under a minute. It was a show!


  1. So did the beef make for good paninis?

  2. You know, we didn't try it on paninis, but I am sure it would be good. I have just a little bit left -- perhaps a panini is in order?

  3. I had it on paninis. Twice. Thumbs up.