Today's recipe is a special one. It's the calling card of a good friend, and I've been dying for him to teach me. He's one of the only people I can cook alongside and we don't want to kill each other. We both know our roles. We no longer have to discuss who's doing what. We both clean as we go, psychotically. But until today, we have never shared a recipe. So today is a special day.
Meet Carlos. That's his real name, but we call him by his middle name. Today we'll stick with Carlos.
Carlos makes some insane tacos. I have never had tacos like these. They're like what you wish the super-authentic taco cart down the street sold.
I begged and pleaded and finally got Carlos to share his recipe with me, so now you get to cook these tacos too.
Carlos's tacos are all about the sauce. There are two sauces, and really, you can use them for any number of proteins. I like the red with beef and the green with chicken. But you can pair either sauce with pork, shrimp, fish... Even mushrooms for vegetarian tacos.
Find a Saturday or Sunday. Start your sauces in the morning and let them mellow away the day. Then make a lot of people really happy that night.
Yield: Serves a party (14 people with leftovers)
Prep Time: 45 min Cook Time: 30 hr 30 min Total Time: 4 hrs 15 min
Ingredients and Steps
Bag of large dried red chilies (we used a 3oz bag of chile California)
0.5 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2-3 chipotle chilis
Squeeze of lemon and handful of cilantro (optional)
Salt and pepper
Heat a pot of water in saucepan to almost boiling. Meanwhile, de-seed and de-stem dried chiles. Add chiles to pot, turn heat to low and simmer til soft and bright red, about 20 minutes.
In food processor, combine chiles, onion, garlic, chipotle chilies, lemon, cilantro and salt and pepper. Blend til a smooth paste forms, and thin with chile cooking water til it has the consistency of a thick pureed soup.
12 tomatillos, husked
3 Anaheim chiles
3 Pasilla chiles
2 jalepenos (or 3 if you like extra spicy)
2 handfuls cilantro
Juice of 2-3 limes
3 green onions
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to broil. Line roasting pan with foil. Arrange tomatillos and chiles on pan. Roast, turning once halfway through, til blistered, about 20 minutes. Remove chiles and put in a separate dish with a cover. Put tomatillos back in oven for next 10 minutes.
Cover chile dish with foil and let sit for 10 minutes. The steam will sweat the chiles and loosen the skins. Then remove foil, remove skins from chilies and deseed.
Put tomatillos, chiles plus any collected juices in the food processor. Add cilantro, lime juice, green onions, and salt and pepper to taste.
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 lemon, quartered
1 onion, quartered
Fill large pot 2/3 with water and put in lemon, onion and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer. Add chicken, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Cook 30-45 minutes til chicken is fully cooked through. Remove chicken and let cool. Shred, and discard fat and bones. Toss chicken with preferred sauce and reheat on stovetop if it needs warming.
3 lbs beef chuck
1 Tbs oil
Salt and pepper
0.5 cup sauce from above thinned with 1 cup water
Preheat oven to 325F / 163C. Heat oil over medium-high heat in skillet. Sear beef on all sides til browned, about 5 minutes total. Put beef in braising pan. Pour liquid over beef, cover, and bake til beef is easily shredded, about 3 hours. Remove beef from braiser and let cool. Shred, using two forks. Mix with preferred sauce and reheat on stovetop if needed.