Amy’s Kitchen: Making Tacos with Beer for Cinco de Mayo
With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, we thought it would be the perfect time to highlight some delicious taco recipes from our very own Amy Kakkuri! Don’t worry, we’ll get back to her piece on growing up with beer and its connection to art in a future post!
It’s almost Cinco de Mayo! Time to grab the margaritas?…..no way! Time to grab the beer!–for drinking AND for cooking. We Alter folks take our food just as seriously as we take our beer. So much so that we not only drink our beer as much as possible, but also cook with it too. Below are some of my favorite taco recipes. They were good recipes before I started working at Alter, but, if you cook with wine or beer you probably know… the better booze you use, the better your food will end up tasting.
Alto Porto is the perfect beer to use for braising short rib tacos. A dark beer is always a good pair with beef, especially short ribs, and the rich maltiness and subtle coffee/chocolate notes of Alto Porto work well with the heat and smokiness of the peppers in this recipe. I personally think Alterior Motive pairs well with EVERYTHING, but it’s a damn fine fit for the shot and a beer chicken taco recipe below. I can almost guarantee you’ll be using a spoon to get the last bit of sauce out of the pan. I share these recipes with you with one caveat…..if you make these delicious tacos and salsa you MUST bring some leftovers to your favorite bartenders.
Taco recipes adapted from the excellent Tacolicious cookbook. Amy’s famous salsa recipe perfected by my friends and I over many years and many, many beers.
Guajillo and Alto Porto-Braised Beef Short Rib Tacos
8 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 pounds boneless beef short ribs
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
12 ounces of Alto Porto
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 325. In a dry skillet, lightly toast all of the chiles over medium for about 30 seconds a side, till fragrant but not blackened. Set them aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy pot with a lid over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, working in batches, add the meat and sear on all sides till you have a nice uniform brown crust. Set seared meat aside.
Add the onions to the same pot over medium and cook about 5 minutes till they start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Take a swig of Alto Porto and pour it in! Add the toasted chiles and turn the heat to low. Simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes till chiles have softened. Remove from heat and let cool a little.
Transfer the contents to a blender. Add the cumin, pepper, oregano, salt and water and blend on high till smooth and the consistency of cream, adding more water if you need to.
Return the seared meat to the pot and pour the chile mixture in. Cover and throw it in the oven for 3-4 hours, stirring every so often till the meat is fork-tender. Remove from oven and using thongs or a fork, shred the meat and eat it!
Alterior Motive and Tequila-Braised Chicken Tacos
3 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 yellow onion, copped
1 habanero chile, stemmed
3 cloves garlic, chopped
12 ounces of Alterior Motive
1 shot good tequila
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup diced canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
Preheat oven to 325. In a dry skillet, lightly toast all of the chiles over medium for about 30 seconds a side, till fragrant but not blackened. Set them aside. Heat the oil in a heavy pot with a lid over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, working in batches, add the chicken and cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side, until browned. Add more oil if needed. Set browned meat aside.
Add onion and habanero to oil remaining in the pot and saute over medium-high for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic for an additional 2 minutes. Throw in the toasted chiles, Alterior Motive, tequila, broth, tomatoes, salt, cumin and oregano and turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a little bit.
Pour the chile mixture into a blender and blend till smooth. Return the chicken to the pot and pour the pepper mixture over the top. Cover and cook for 2 hours. Remove the lid, stir, and continue cooking for 30 minutes till chicken is fork-tender. Remove from oven and using thongs or a fork, shred the meat and eat it!
Amy’s Famous Salsa
12-15 tomatillos depending on size
Package of dried pequin peppers
4-6 cloves of garlic depending on size
Preheat oven to 400. Remove husks from tomatillos and wash the stickiness off. Throw them on a cookie sheet and into the oven. They stay in till they are brown and blistering, some may even burst, but that’s ok. 15-20 minutes usually.
Meanwhile, in a dry shallow pan over low/medium heat toast the pequin peppers. You’ll have to shake the pan every minute or so to make sure they roast evenly. When you can smell them, they are ready. Don’t burn them! When they are done, toss them in a bowl of water to stop cooking. Next, add the garlic (skin still on) to the pan. Flip the cloves every few minutes. You want the skin to get black on a few sides, essentially toasting it. Take the skin off when it’s done.
Grab a food processor. Dump cookie sheet of cooked tomatillos and all the juices in. Add the garlic, salt, and add pequin peppers…..but add them a little at a time. They are really damn hot. I usually start with 2-3 tablespoons. Blend it all up and taste. Add salt and more peppers till it has the taste and heat you want.
Amy Kakkuri – Beertender Extraordinaire
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