I’m always intrigued by the variety of salsas and dips that you get at Latin American restaurants. Every restaurant has their own special salsa and each one is unique. I enjoy the creamy jalapeno dip at the local tex-mex restaurant, as well as the chunky tomato salsa from the Salvadorian restaurant down the street. About a year ago we tried a new Mexican food restaurant known for their tacos and they served us a smoky black bean dip that our entire table devoured. I did my usual thing where I taste it and take mental notes of the flavor profile so I can attempt to recreate it at home. I remember noting the smoky flavor which I thought could be coming from some chilies in adobo sauce.
Last night we had some friends over and I made the chicken tinga tacos from Pinch of Yum. The recipe called for chilies in adobo sauce and when I had some leftover after I remembered this black bean dip and thought I would try to recreate it. 1 can of black beans, 2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp of salt and 1 TBSP of olive oil pureed together left me with the flavor profile I remembered from the dip we were served at the restaurant. It was the perfect compliment to our taco dinner.
Having friends laughing and sharing food around my table fills me with so much joy. It’s how I love on my people. What better way to say “I love you” than with tacos and beer?
I love when a dinner serves double duty. I almost always make enough for dinner to have leftovers for lunch, but leftovers are even better when they can be adapted into a whole new recipe. This week I made a beef roast in the crockpot on the first night and served it with mashed potatoes and sautéed carrots. Then the next night I shredded the beef and mixed it with a soy ginger sauce for some asian-fusion tacos. I topped the tacos with cotija cheese, cilantro, and some spicy mayo. Here is how I did it:
Day 1- Morning
I salted and peppered the beef. Then I placed it in my slow cooker and added about 2 cups of beef stock. That’s it! Set it on low, and cook it for at least 8 hours (depending on how big your roast is). I cooked mine for 10 hours and it was about 2 lbs.
Tip- Some good cuts to use for roast are chuck roast, or bottom round roast. You will be cooking it low and slow, so the tougher (more inexpensive cuts) work great. Look for good distribution of fat within the cut of meat. This will all break down as it cooks and you will be left with a super tender roast.
Side note- I know a lot of crockpot roasts have you add the veggies in such as onions, potatoes, and carrots. Meh. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but there is nothing exciting to me about veggies lacking in texture and flavor after they’ve been cooked in the crockpot like that. I’ve come to enjoy crockpot roasts more when I cook the veg separately, so I can really develop the flavor and so they can maintain some sort of texture. Now, roasting the meat and veggies in the oven in a nice large cast iron dutch oven is a different story, but that’s a thought for another time.
The other reason I chose not to add veggies in with the meat is because I knew I would be using the beef in 2 different recipes and I didn’t want my tacos the next night to taste like potatoes.
Day 1- Evening
I prepped the sides and made the gravy. I chose to serve this with mashed potatoes and sautéed carrots.
Mashed Potatoes- When I make mashed potatoes I like to add butter, milk, and something tangy like sour cream or greek yogurt. I probably add about 1/4-1/3 cup of sour cream/yogurt to 4-5 cups of potatoes. I also throw in a few garlic cloves with the potatoes while I boil them. They soften and mash right into the potatoes adding a subtly garlic flavor.
Gravy- Once you have your potatoes on to boil, begin working on the gravy. Remove the meat to a cutting board and cover with foil to rest while you finish prepping. Ladle out about 2 cups of liquid from the crock pot and whisk in about 2 TBSP of corn starch. Whisk until no lumps remain, then slowly whisk that mixture back into the remaining juice in the crockpot. Depending on how much juice you have will determine how much cornstarch you need. Replace the lid and turn it up to high. Let this simmer while you finish prepping. Check it about 5 minutes later to see if it’s starting to thicken. If it hasn’t thickened at all, repeat the step and add more cornstarch. Thicken it to your desired consistency.
Sautéed Carrots- My friend showed me how to make these, and I love how simple and delicious they are. I used baby carrots this time, but you can use large carrots sliced into smaller pieces. Melt about 2 TBSP coconut oil to the pan and add your carrots. I cooked about 2 cups of carrots. Move them around in the pan, then put the lid on and cook them over medium until they soften. Once they’re almost there, remove the lid and let them finish cooking for 2-3 minutes. This helps them caramelize a little bit. I sprinkle in salt and some thyme. Done!
Reserve enough beef for tacos the next day and enjoy your roast dinner!
Day 2- Night
You can totally just shred the beef and serve it in taco shells with your desired toppings and you will have a great dinner. I like my shredded beef tacos with a soy ginger glaze.
Prepare the glaze (this makes enough for about 2 cups of shredded beef): Heat 1 tsp sesame oil in a small saucepan and add 2 cloves of garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 2/3 cup water, 1/2 brown sugar, 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce, 1 TBSP oyster sauce, and 2 tsp ground white pepper. Whisk together and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until it begins to bubble and becomes thicker.
Add the beef: Shred the beef with your fingers or with 2 forks and add it to the sauce. Stir to coat and continue to simmer for a few minutes as the sauce continues to thicken.
Serve: I served them with cotija cheese, cilantro, pickled onions, pickled jalapeños, and a spicy mayo (mix mayo, lime juice, and sriracha to your desired consistency and heat level). I also grilled some pineapple chunks to go on the side and made these street corn croquettes. Finally, I lightly grilled the tortillas and it was time to eat!