19 February 2011

Being Cheeky

Payday lapsed this week, so I've been reduced to pulling out cheap meat from the freezer and making something fantastico! I suppose it depends on who you ask on whether cachete de res or cabeza is any good. I got two hunks of beef cheek at the commissary at McClellan Park for a bit more than three bones. That's a bargain for 5 lbs. of beef in my book. I would guess that many prefer not getting it due to its extremely high fat content even when trimmed and cooked down. I won't disagree that it's fatty. It took a good 10 minutes to trim the fat and remove the silver skin that would only cook down to a chewy sinew akin to that of the skin of a Slim Jim; that is, you can chew it indefinitely and no amount of mastication will ever break it down.


Ten minutes later (check out the streaks of fat!):

Seasoned with salt and pepper and into the pot

I set the browned meat aside to saute some red onion, carrot, and garlic. After placing the meat back in, I zested 2 oranges and squeezed their juice into the pot and threw in 2 laurel leaves, fresh ground cumin and coriander, Mexican oregano, a California chili, an ancho chili, and a couple arbol chilies. I then brought the liquid up to level with Fiji water. I add only the best waters for beef cheek--that or tap.

This is brought to a boil and set into a 325°F oven and left alone for two hours to break down the fat and allow the flavors to marry.

The liquid has reduced to a dark gelatinous broth and is separated for a soup next week.

This is where I fork the meat apart and the angels sing...

Meat shredded means taco time, which means taking a small portion of the 5 lbs. of meat and placing it on warmed corn tortillas, topped with diced onion and cilantro, and drizzled with squeezed lime juice mixed with green El Yucatan.

You may ask why I cooked 5 lbs. of beef cheek for two tacos. Well, I do it for you dear reader. That and so I can refrigerate it overnight and make my own cabeza cheese, of course!

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