This recipe borrows elements from the classic Mexican street taco trucks of Astoria and the flavors of a traditional Caribbean Latino stewing sauce. The sauce is commonly applied to chicken, pork or beef in countless recipes which vary greatly from household to household. For my kitchen, when applying it to beef, I increase the amount of onions and add more spiciness of pickled hot peppers. This recipe requires the patience of a full 3 hours of gentle simmering for the liquid to cook down and meat to break apart but the result is well worth it. Any cheap cut of beef can be used but personally I highly recommend cuts of flank or skirt steak.
- 2 pounds flank steak
- 4 – 5 pickled hot peppers, Goya preferred
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 spanish onions
- 1 bunch of culantro
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 oz plain tomato sauce (1/2 can)
- 2 tablespoons Dominican oregano, crushed
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 package of corn tortillas
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 vine tomato, diced
- 1 bunch of chopped cilantro
- 1 lime
- Cut the flank steak crosswise, against the grain into 1 inch strips.
- Tie the culantro together securely with kitchen twine and make a clean cut 1 inch into the stems to to remove any dead ends. Do the same to remove any unsightly leave tips. Peel onions and cut in half pole to pole. Finely chop pickled peppers with seeds.
- Combine all ingredients in a large wide pot making sure beef is evenly distributed. Add 4 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cover half way and bring to a gentle simmer. Gently stir occasionally keeping onion halves intact. After 1 1/2 hours, remove the onions, culantro, and bay leaves. Simmer for another 1 hour in remaining liquid until beef easily falls apart when handled and liquid just barely covers the beef.
- Briefly remove beef from pot to a cutting board. Gently shred beef with the tip of a fork or your fingers. Return shredded beef to simmering liquid for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for an additional 15 another minutes.
- If you prefer a more intense flavor, reheating the beef over high heat in a skillet in small batches is a great option to slightly caramelize the meat. At this point you can test the spiciness and add more hot pickled peppers to your liking.
- Tortillas are best warmed up over a direct flame on a gas stove but a warm flat skillet will also do the trick. Combine the chopped white onions, diced tomatoes, cilantro and juice from the lime into one mixture to prepare for taco assembly.