Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Beef with Cilantro Lime Rice

I can't think of a more delicious bundle of goodness than a giant Chipotle burrito, packed to the gills with barbacoa beef, black beans, corn salsa, and that most wonderful of concoctions--cilantro lime rice.  I don't think I will ever tire of biting into a burrito the size of my head.  It's almost as great as digging through the treasures hidden inside like some sort of excavator.

Back to reality.  There are no Chipotles in North Dakota.  (There are no Aldis either.  You would think that a business with locations in Hungary and Australia could set up a nice little store in Fargo.  Not.)  I have brainstormed a list of potential solutions to this tragic problem:  1) eat at Chipotle every day for the next month, in hopes that I will somehow sate any future cravings all at once; 2) buy a lifetime supply of Chipotle barbacoa burritos and bring them to North Dakota with me; or 3) invent my own version of Chipotle that tastes awesome and doesn't cost $8 a pop.

I went with the last one.  Shipping a freezer-ful of burritos across the country could be a logistical nightmare.

Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Beef with Cilantro Lime Rice
Time:  Begin at least 8 hours ahead

Filling options:
Black beans, drained, rinsed, and heated
Cooked sweet corn, cut from the cob and heated (leftover grilled corn is my favorite)
Tomato, diced
Lettuce, finely chopped
Cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese, shredded
Sour cream
Guacamole (or thinly sliced avocado)
Barbacoa beef (see below)
Cilantro lime rice (see below)

Another option is corn salsa with lime (combines black beans, corn, tomatoes, and onion with seasonings).  I haven't tried it yet, but it looks good!

Flour tortillas (8-inch or burrito-size)

Slow-Cooker Barbacoa Beef (from this recipe)
While this doesn't taste exactly like the Chipotle version, it is pretty tasty.  I haven't made any major changes to the original recipe--mostly I cut down the amounts to make a smaller recipe.  I also think that there are much better uses for beef brisket, so I used an arm roast that I found at the co-op months ago.  Any inexpensive roast will do.  If you go with a tougher cut of meat, however, you will need to cook it "low and slow."  I found that the method of cooking on high then on warm was not enough to break down the meat fibers.

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (from a can), chopped, plus 2 T. of the sauce
1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 red onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
5-6 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 dry bay leaves
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 to 4 pound beef roast (see note above), excess fat removed
2 to 3 cups beef or chicken stock

In a food processor, pulse together chipotle peppers and sauce, cilantro, red onion, and garlic. Combine with clove, cumin, salt, lime juice, and cider vinegar in the insert of a slow cooker. Place the beef on top (cut it into pieces if doesn't fit). Add stock to cover the meat and place bay leaves on top.

Cook on low for at least 6 to 8 hours.

Remove meat from slow cooker and place on rimmed baking sheet. Use two forks to pull the meat apart. Place shredded beef in large bowl and ladle cooking liquid over the top, until it is saturated but not soupy.

The remaining liquid can be frozen for use in other recipes.  The meat itself also freezes well (for tips on making an extra-large batch, see the original recipe).

Cilantro Lime Rice
I roughly followed the recipe here, but modified it for use in my rice cooker.  Whatever method you use to cook the rice, just toss it with the other ingredients and serve hot.

1 cup white or basmati rice, cooked with 2 cups water and 1 tsp. salt
2-3 tsp. lime juice
3 T. fresh chopped cilantro
2-3 tsp. vegetable oil

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