We do a lot of tacos at Arcane, and this may be our favorite recipe by far. If you have a good cast iron griddle or a grill, a blender, and a dutch oven, you're good to go on this one. We have been through this recipe several times with several different meats (a bevy of beef varieties and chicken), but we're going to focus on wallet friendly london broil in this post.
There is about a 30 minute prep for this recipe, followed by 4 hours of slow cooking, so you'll want to give yourself ample time prior to serving. Before you get started, you'll need the following ingredients. Meat can be substituted with short ribs, ribeye, or any premium steak (fatty or marbled meat is ideal), or more affordable options like chuck-eye, tri-tips or rump roast. You might want to go a little heavier on the seasoning with the cheaper meat though, as they will hold that iron-y post-roast flavor more than the other beef cuts. If you are into chicken, we substituted beef for chicken halves and cut the cook time down to three hours.
Meat and produce
We have a pretty simple and effective setup at home... we use Lodge brand cast iron skillets (made in USA since the 1800s), some butter and garlic to coat the pan, and heat up the skillet on high until the garlic begins to sizzle and brown. This is optimal heat, and lets you toss on the meat for a quick sear. Once it heats up, toss on the meat and sear each side for 3 minutes, flipping the meat and repeating until every side is browned. You can go a little heavier on the searing if you like a slight char on the outside, but remember, the bulk of the cooking happens in the dutch oven. This is just to lock in the meat's juices and get that braised flavor.
After searing each side of the meat for 3 minutes or until browned, set aside on a clean plate. Turn the heat down to medium - it's pepper time. Depending on what type of meat you cook with, you will most likely want to add the two tablespoons of oil. If there is a lot of fatty grease left from the meat, just add one tablespoon. You can toss the peppers in without waiting for the heat to turn down - the gradual heat reduction will help the peppers keep from over cooking. Let each pepper sit for 2-3 minutes per side, and rotate to monitor the progress. They will start to blister and brown as they cook, taking on that roasted pepper flavor that will be a subtle touch in the sauce. Set the peppers aside after all sides are cooked.
While the meat and peppers are cooling, it's time to prep the oven. You will want to preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and place the dutch oven on high medium-high heat. Dice the onions, toss in a quarter of a butter stick, and once melted, add the onions to the dutch oven. Cook on medium-high for 5 minutes and prep the cooked peppers. Remove the stems, chop into strips, and remove the seeds. After cooking the onions for 5 minutes, add the peppers and two chopped garlic cloves to the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes and then bring to low heat. You're ready to break out the Modelo Negro (or any dark Mexican beer) now, and pour in the entire bottle while stirring the onions and garlic. Let this simmer for 3-4 minutes while you prepare the spices.
Once your veggies are cool enough, transfer the contents to your blender. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and paprika and blend until you have a lovely green puree. Dutch ovens hold head (trust us.. we've had a bad burn or two), so depending on how long you take between steps, be careful during the prep process. Add a small amount of the puree to your dutch oven and place your first layer of meat on top of it. Pour an ample amount until all sides of the meat are coated, and then lay your next layer of meat on top. Repeat until all of your meat and puree are added.
You're ready to close this up, kick-back, and relax. Place the dutch oven (with the lid on) in your pre-heated 325 degree stove. The meat will cook for 4 hours, and can simply go in and sit, but we recommended removing it from the oven every hour or so to stir. You will notice the fat rendering and transforming into a rich, dark broth over time. It becomes harder to fully submerge the beef, so just flip and turn to evenly cook each piece.
After four hours of cooking, remove the meat from the oven one last time and with a knife. The meat should be tender enough to shred with forks. If it is still too firm to shred, place back in the oven for another hour of cooking.
The shredded braised meat is ready to serve! Prep the corn tortillas by heating a clean pan on medium. Place the tortillas on for about 30 seconds each and flip until hot. Repeat until you have a nice stack of heated tortillas.
You can't go wrong with a simple taco, but the braised beef pairs perfectly with a complete medley of the braised beef, Mexican sour cream, cotija cheese, avocado, onions, cilantro, tomato, salsa, and a dash of hot sauce. Buen provecho!