Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chipotle Re-do

I have a problem with leftovers.  Not leftover food, that always makes for some fantastic lunches.  But leftover ingredients.  When I only use half a can of beans the other half sits in my refrigerator where it gets forgotten about until it starts growing delicious white mold.  Yum!

Part of my New Year's resolution was to get better about that.  I've started taking those leftover ingredients and using them to create next week's meal plan.  Which is how this barbacoa came about.

Chipotles in adobo are one of my worst offenders when it comes to leftover ingredients.  Most recipes only call for one or two, and there are plenty more in the can.  Typically I freeze each chile in an ice cube tray.  Then I put the frozen chiles in a freezer bag aaaaaaaand forget about them for years and years and years.

So when I opened a can of chipotle chile peppers in adobe for the chipotle beef chili, I started looking for other uses for the chiles.  My search led me to a post on my cooking message board suggesting using them in Barbacoa Beef.  Unfortunately, the poster who suggested this was not a regular and appears to have posted one time only - suggesting this recipe.  So I'm not sure what the original source is.  

The idea of barbacoa instantly attracted me however for a couple of reasons.  The primary reason is that the barbacoa at Chipotle (the eatery, not the chile) is absolutely delicious.  And it seems a good omen that a Chipotle favorite would be utilized to use up chipotle.

Secondly, cooking giant pieces of meat means loads of the kind of leftovers I do like!

This recipe is FANTASTIC.  No really, it needs caps lock because it is just that good.  Spicy, sweet, tender, flavorful meat.  Thatboy and I fought over the leftovers - even though there were enough for days of lunches and provided him a great dinner when I went out with the girls.  We had it as tacos, burritos, sandwiches, and never got sick of it.  I have a feeling it's going to be making a regular appearance on the menu around these parts.

 Barbacoa Beef

3 lbs beef eye of round or bottom round roast, all fat trimmed, cut into 4 inch chunks
 5 cloves garlic
1/2 medium onion
juice of 1/2 lime
2-4 chipotles in adobo
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp ground cloves
salt and pepper
3 bay leaves
1 tsp canola oil
1 cup water
  1. Puree garlic, onion, lime juice, cumin, oregano, chipotles, and cloves in a blender.
  2. Heat canola oil in dutch oven over medium high heat.  Season meat with salt and pepper and brown. 
  3. Add liquefied spices, water, bay leaves and simmer on low 4 hours, adding water as needed so that it doesn't dry out. 
  4. Remove the meat and place in a dish.  Shred it with two forks.
  5. Discard the bay leaf and return the shredded meat to the pot.  Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes to let the flavors penetrate.


  1. I love love barbacoa beef. There I a restaurant by us which I order it regularly. I love that it is a Dutch oven recipe. This is exactly the kind of meals that are fitting in my life now. Oh I can't wait to try this!

  2. Sounds like success. Those seasonings sound terrific. You did a great job with leftovers. You can be my inspiration to use up mine.

  3. I've been waiting for this recipe. It looks and sounds super delicious. I will most definitely be trying it!

  4. I am SOOOO bad about leftover odds and ends. I have about 2 oz of two different kinds of cheese in my fridge right now, along with a slew of other random ingredients that are likely currently sporting mold. Nice.

  5. This really does sound fabulous! I'm really bad about using up leftover chipotles, too.