Plan ahead for your next taco Tuesday night at home and make these beef Colorado tacos using a recipe from Central Food chef-owner David Blaine. The dish often rotates onto the Kendall Yards eatery's menu, but now that you know how to make it at home, you won't have to miss out even when it's on hiatus.
At a glance, the slow-cooked, pull-apart beef may seem complex, but Blaine assures us it's not.
"I think the dish is easy to prepare, even if not quick," Blaine notes. "This style of cooking is a good technique for people to learn because it utilizes lots of ingredients in different ways."
The tacos first made their way onto Central Food's menu when Blaine found himself with an unexpected bounty of chuck from the restaurant's grass-fed beef supplier.
"I started thinking about different slow-cook foods that would allow us to take advantage of such good quality beef. Later we stockpiled jalapenos during a bumper crop year and brought back the Colorado to use them up," he recalls.
Blaine says the warm blend of spices and charred veggie sauce coating the beef is reminiscent of a good stew, much like the tacos' namesake, chili Colorado, a traditional Mexican dish. (The name comes from the Spanish word for "colored red," colorado.)
The dish's heat hits in the middle of the spice spectrum, Blaine says, but can be tweaked depending on the peppers used.
"I always err on the side of milder so I can then add hot sauce," he says.
Blaine recommends pairing pickles on the side, like spicy carrots or radish. A crisp beer is his choice of beverage.♦
BEEF COLORADO TACOS BY CHEF DAVID BLAINE
- 5 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons ground coriander
- 4 tablespoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1-2 serrano or jalapeno peppers
- 2 lbs. Roma tomatoes, cored and halved
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine spices and oil and rub beef with spice mixture.
- Char onions, garlic, tomatoes and peppers under the broiler for approximately 10 minutes.
- Add cilantro to charred veggies and blend until smooth.
- Sear beef cubes on all sides in a hot, oiled pan.
- Combine seared beef and sauce in a covered baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for 4 hours. Then, check beef for pull-apart tenderness. It should pull apart easily; if it doesn't, put it back in the oven.
- When beef is done, cool and serve, or refrigerate and reheat later. Serve on 6-inch corn tortillas and garnish with fresh cilantro and radish.