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Cola Shredded Beef Tacos

Serves 6 (makes 12 tacos) (serving size: 2 tacos)

Total Time
4 hrs 15 mins

This recipe is adapted from one in the book Amor y Tacos (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, May 2010; $19) by San Diego–based chef Deborah Schneider and features shredded beef chuck roast flavored with cola, tomatoes, chiles,  and cumin.

Cola Shredded Beef Tacos

Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Randy Mon
 3 medium dried ancho chiles*
 2 large dried guajillo chiles*
 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano*
 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
 2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 4 pieces
 1 dried bay leaf
 1 1/2 cups Mexican Coca-Cola* (cane-sugar sweetened) or another cola (not diet)
 12 to 24 warm corn tortillas (6-in. size; use 24 if they're thin and floppy)
  Accompaniments: chopped avocado, red onion, and cilantro; thinly sliced pickled jalapeños; and crema Mexicana* or regular sour cream
Step 1

Make sauce for beef: Wipe chiles clean with a damp cloth, stem and seed, and tear into pieces. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add chiles and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, the cumin, tomatoes, oregano, and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chiles are softened, about 10 minutes. Purée sauce in a blender until very smooth.

Step 2

Meanwhile, season beef with the remaining tsp. salt. Heat the remaining tbsp. oil in a 5- to 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Brown beef, turning occasionally, 10 to 14 minutes. Discard fat, if any.

Step 3

Pour sauce into pot and add bay leaf, cola, and a little water if needed to barely cover meat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until beef is very tender, 3 hours.

Step 4

With a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a plate. Let cool slightly, then tear into shreds, discarding any fat or gristle. Meanwhile, boil sauce over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced to about 3 cups, 10 to 30 minutes. Stir in beef and heat a few minutes until hot. Remove bay leaf.

Step 5

Make tacos: With a slotted spoon, transfer beef with some sauce to a bowl. Spoon beef into tortillas (double tortillas if they're thin), tuck in accompaniments, and serve with remaining sauce if you like.

Step 6

*Find in the Latino foods aisle or spice aisle of a supermarket, or at a Latino market.

Step 7

Make ahead: Through step 3; chill, covered, up to 2 days.

Step 8

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 0

Amount Per Serving
Calories 587Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 35g54%

Saturated Fat 11g56%
Cholesterol 107mg36%
Sodium 607mg26%
Total Carbohydrate 40g14%

Dietary Fiber 6.5g26%
Protein 32g64%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.