Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with Carne de res Jalapeño

Last week I was feeling exceptionally lazy about cooking. I prepare, on average, 3 meals a day. For a family of 5. That’s a lot of cooking… and dishes.

So I decided one day that the meal I was going to make had to be something that didn’t require I run to the store for anything. I was determined not to leave the premises. My first stop was the freezer. I found a lovely chuck roast, which I immediately began to defrost. Thank God for microwaves! They are the savior of the ill-prepared. Once I had that whirring away, I turned to my fridge.

I don’t know about you, but my fridge looks like a giant assortment of bottles and little dishes. I have to regularly sort through them to make sure I am not leaving something in there that is growing a life of its own. So in poking through the millions of little dishes, I came across a jar of pickled jalapeno peppers that my sister had put up last year. I use these when I am being forced asked by the children to eat mac ‘n’ cheese for the umpteenth time. This was a new jar, so there were only a handful missing. Then I spotted another little jar. This one was jalapeno jelly. My Aunt Rose made this little gem. I also had a container of home-made stock. Things were looking up!

Then I went to the pantry. I spied me a couple cans of tomatoes (diced and paste). I also spotted the big bag of masa I had recently purchased for Pork Tamales. It only then occurred to me that I was actually holding the corn husks in my hand, as I had to lift them to see what I had underneath.

So now I had a plan!

My newly formed genius idea was to braise the beef and make tamales. This turned out to be some of the best stuff I have had in a long time. I slow cooked the beef for hours. The peppers added a little spice and the sauce was tangy overall, but not so much so that the rest of the gang couldn’t eat it. Keep in mind that they will often comment that something is spicy when I was literally just thinking to myself that it was kinda bland. We are clearly not using the same heat scale – LOL! I honestly could have drunk the sauce right from the pan. It was that good!

So my genius idea came to fruition. I hope you will give it a try. It made enough to make 2 dozen tamales and I put the other half of the beef in the freezer for another meal. I am thinking enchiladas – YUM!

Combined with a mojito or michelada, these would rock your Cinco de Mayo!

Carne de res Jalapeño (a.k.a. Jalapeno Beef)
3 lb. chuck roast, fat on
3 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
3 T. pickled jalapeno peppers, with juice
3 T. jalapeno jelly
4 cloves of garlic, whole with skin on
5 c. broth (beef or chicken)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously salt and pepper the beef. Heat oil over medium high in a dutch oven on the stove top. Brown all sides of the beef. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the stock, tomato paste, tomato sauce, garlic, jelly and peppers. Cover pot and place in over for 3-3/12 hours, checking hourly (I gave it a little stir to make sure that the meat was bathing in the sauce). Remove whole pot from oven. Remove beef to a cutting board to rest and cool. Using 2 forks, begin to pull the meat apart into strings, discarding any fatty pieces along the way. Put the beef back into the sauce before using.

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