Shredded Beef for Tacos or Nachos

“Eat more beef!”

Okay, I don’t  have any pictures of the tacos we ate last night. I was too tired to even think of it. Too hungry to stop eating them as I made them. What a busy whirlwind of a weekend. But these tacos were too good to not share with you.

Anyone who likes Mexican food probably has a good go-to place for what my hubby calls  “a good grease wallet”. Not a fancy place, just a good, crispy taco, beans and rice. Ours is “Toms’ previously known as ‘Titos tacos’. Loooove it! It is located on Beach Blvd and Ball I think. Near Adventure City.

Anyway, I was in the mood for shredded beef for Mexican food this past week. I hardly ever make it because a) hubby prefers hamburger in his tacos and b) hubby and I are the only ones who really like Mexican food. So whats the point. Unless the point is once in a while I deserve to have something my way. Like Hawaiian pizza.  Or watching a chick flick. Or shredded beef nachos and tacos.

I picked up the way of making it from an Hispanic family way back in the old days, when I couldn’t even do toast without burning it. Anything beyond boiling water was a challenge. And no one had  microwave ovens yet. (they were just on the brink of technology. I think I got my first micro in maybe, 1983? This was probably in 1982.)

I went with a friend of mine to visit her parents and sister and kids. It was a nice boisterous atmosphere, friendly and loud. When I went in the kitchen there was a little old couple busy shredding beef with two forks and cooking tortillas. My friend translated the recipe and it has always stayed with me, even though I never wrote it down. I guess it was back when  my brain was still fresh and unused and had room.

So you start with a piece of beef, (not too big because a little goes a long way), like you would use for pot roast or cut up for beef stew. Maybe a chuck roast.

You need a crock pot and :

1 small peeled diced potato

1 tomato, preferably from your garden

1 small diced onion

salt, pepper, cumin and any other spices you fancy.

You don’t even need to brown the meat. Just put it in the crock pot. Add the diced onion and potato. Cut up the tomato and throw it in then add your spices.

Thats it.

No liquids! Resist adding liquids. There is no need. When you go later to look, there will be plenty of liquid. It comes from the meat and veggies.

Just turn on the crock pot. Either 6-8 hour on low or 3-4 hours on high. It’s up to you really, depending on how big your meat is. Mine was pretty small.

I strained out all the solids, leaving the liquid for later. When the meat and all had cooled a little, I proceeded to shred with two forks! I mooshed in the veggies as I went and when done, drizzled in a little of the broth from the pot.

Why add potato you might ask? I really don’t know. Different cultures had different things with potatoes. For example, in Hungary they started putting potatoes in their bread as a way to stretch their meager flour supply. Now they are famous for their wonderful moist potato bread.

Then there was that woman from Paris who taught me to make crepes. She looked all over her kitchen until she found a potato, peeled it carefully with a paring knife, cut it in half and stuck a fork in it. Then she poured some oil in a bowl and stood the potato and fork up in it. As I watched, fascinated and wondering what the heck potatoes had to do with crepes, she started using it to oil the pan. Thats it? No paper towel dipped in oil and wiped in the pan. No EVOO oil cruet to drizzle oil in the pan. Just a potato. Cool!

Potato oil transfer device.

So maybe this potato in the meat is to help stretch the meat supply? Or to add flavor? Who know? I don’t even care. I just follow directions. It turned out wonderful.

So I made my Toms tacos last night. I took a corn tortilla, put some shredded meat in it, not a lot, folded it over and holding it shut with tongs, laid it in a pan of hot oil. When it was crispy, I turned it over and finished it. Then I lifted it out and held it up to drain. The meat got crisp, the shell was crisp. I gently opened it up and added home-made pico de gallo, shredded lettuce and cheese. Thats all. Oh…heavenly.

I think I want one for breakfast. Dang, out of meat.

But it can be used as nacho meat or burritos or even breakfast burritos with eggs and it already has potatoes!

Hope you try it some time.

So long amigo!


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