Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tex-Mex Beef Sammies

Yay! I'm officially back.  The test is done.  I've been celebrating my freedom from studying by trying out some new recipes and revisiting some old ones.  There's tons to post about.  

I'll start with my latest and greatest crock pot discovery:  Tex-Mex Beef Sammies.  This dish is essentially one of the best shredded beef sandwiches I've had: subtly spiced with smokey tex-mex flavors, and topped with an array of fresh garnishes, like guacamole, cheese, and red onion.  Yum!  

What caught my eye about this particular recipe was the use of...wait for it...cocoa powder.  Keep reading now!!  Cocoa powder and/or chocolate is actually an authentically Mexican ingredient.  It adds to the depth of flavor, rather than tasting like meat-flavored hot chocolate.  However, if you have any squeamish family members, I highly recommend that you keep the cocoa powder a secret until you are sure they like the dish.  

I made this recipe for Father's Day.  In fact, I cooked it overnight the night before and kept the crock pot on the warm setting for the rest of the morning.  I figured, what could be better than celebrating the men in my life with a large crock pot full of meat?  To my relief, the family agreed.  This was definitely a winner.  It seemed to suit everyone's taste, since the spice factor is subtle rather than powerful.  If you desire a powerful kick, just chop up a chipotle pepper or two and add to the crock pot before cooking.  It'll be beautiful.  

A note about serving: Make sure you utilize the savory broth (as in beef "au jus") that the meat cooks in when constructing your sandwiches.  In order to do that, I got hoagie rolls from my grocery store's bakery section that could stand up to being dipped into the juices without disintegrating, but weren't so hard that all the meat would gush out the other end of the sandwich with the first bite.  I HIGHLY recommend that you do the same.  Regular hamburger or hot dog rolls will not cut it.  Go for high quality rolls that are slightly chewy on the outside and softer on the inside.  

A final note about points:  I had a bit of trouble calculating the points per serving with my normal on-line points calculator.  When that happens I usually just make an educated guess.  Just know that chuck roast is fattier than leaner cuts (that's why it practically melts in your mouth.)  A 3 oz portion of cooked chuck roast is about 7 points.  Hopefully that will help you gauge your "pointage" for the day.