Thursday, September 21, 2006

Beef Carnitas

Having thouroughly enjoyed the pork carnitas last week, I can't help but wonder how the beef version measured to its predecessor? To me, the pork carnitas is already very very good. How could we possibly have something better? But the panel at cookinglight magazine apparently think that the beef Carnitas is more flavourful and hence selected it as one of the staff favorite.

Since top round roast was on sale last week, I have planned to make the beef carnitas this week. It's in our menu tonight, and I can form my opionion upon trying them both. Compared to pork carnitas, the beef version took only one and a half hour to cook. Because OCT doesn't want to eat it with tortilla, we paired it with rice. It was pretty tasty actually. Though the cooking method is similar to beef stew, but the lime juice added towards the end made the beef carnitas tasted refreshing. I have no doubt that this will make very nice filling for tacos.

After trying both versions of carnitas, OCT prefers the beef carnitas, while I like the pork's better. The beef was flavourful, but it wasn't fork tender. But it could be the user error while preparing the dish too. Anyway, with its short ingredient list, I have no doubt that the beef carnitas will return to our dining table soon. ( when beef roast is on sale again!)

Alright, I know. It doesn't look appetizing. But it's really tasty. I will continue to work on the presentation...

Beef Carnitas
adapted from Cookinglight Sept 2006

This simple recipe, which uses inexpensive beef stew meat, garnered our highest rating for great flavor and versatility. To freeze the carnitas, wrap them tightly in heavy-duty plastic wrap or foil, and place in a zip-top plastic freezer bag; they will keep in the freezer for up to three months.
This recipe goes with Beef Carnitas Empanada, Enchilada Casserole with Quick Mole Sauce, Spicy Beef Salad, Beef Carnitas Tacos

Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (I used top round roast)
1 cup less-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 large unpeeled orange wedge (I used one quarter of an orange)

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add beef; sauté 5 minutes or until beef is browned on all sides. Stir in broth, sugar, salt, and pepper; nestle orange section into beef mixture. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender. Remove and discard orange. Continue simmering, uncovered, 8 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently.

Note: I served the beef carnitas with some diced plum tomatoes and fresh lime juice on top of the meat. Next time, I will remember to add some avocados to make this a real Mexican dish.

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