Touchdown Tacos with Mezcal-Lime Coleslaw

January 23, 2015

Love tacos? You're going to love these fall-apart boneless beef short ribs! They're roasted long and slow in a mélange of aromatics, herbs and spice, chiles, beef stock, wine and hot sauce, and the result with have your mouth spellbound. These unctuous short rib tacos are then topped with a sweet and tangy mezcal-lime coleslaw that add the perfect balance and texture. Serve them up at your Super Bowl party for big cheers all around!

Touchdown Tacos with Mezcal-Lime Coleslaw
Created by Chef Aarón Sánchez of Paloma and Johnny Sánchez
Makes approximately 20 tacos

For the Tacos:
8 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 pounds boneless beef short ribs
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
1½ tablespoons cacao powder (or no-sugar-added cocoa powder)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, more if needed
1 cup yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
1 cup carrots, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup tomato paste
1 cup red wine, preferably Madeira
4 cups beef stock
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ tablespoons dried Mexican oregano
10 tablespoons (1, 5-oz bottle) TABASCO® Original Red Sauce
Corn tortillas (soft or hard)
Chopped onions, for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish

For the Mezcal-Lime Coleslaw:
¼ cup mezcal (or orange liqueur)
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
¼ cup orange juice
1 pound (16-ounce package) store bought coleslaw mix
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Tacos:
Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Lightly toast the chiles in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds on each side, just until they become fragrant, but not blackened.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Season beef with salt and cacao powder.  Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a dutch oven, or other heavy pot, with a lid over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add meat and sear for approximately 3 minutes on each side, working in batches to avoid crowding if necessary, until the pieces have formed a uniformly brown crust.  Add more oil to the pot, as needed, to prevent burning.  As the pieces are ready, set aside on a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium.  Using the same pot, add the onion, celery and carrots and cook for approximately 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then add the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes.

Pour in the wine and stock to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add the toasted chiles and turn the heat to low.  Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for approximately 5 minutes, until the chiles have softened and are pliable.

Add the cumin, pepper, oregano, and Tabasco Sauce. Return the meat to the pot and cover.  Transfer to the oven and cook for approximately 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

For the Coleslaw:
Heat the mezcal in a sauté pan on medium heat until it flames (be careful because the flame can get pretty high!) and the alcohol burns off.  Once the flame dies down, add the sugar and heat until dissolved.  Add the lime and orange juices; bring to a boil and reduce by half. 
Remove from heat and let it cool.  

In a large bowl, combine juice mixture with apple cider vinegar and cilantro, then toss in coleslaw mix and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.  NOTE: If you are using orange liqueur, combine all liquid ingredients and sugar and reduce by half, then follow the remaining steps.

To Assemble:
Remove meat from sauce with tongs.  Using the tongs or forks, shred the meat.  Strain the sauce, and once the meat has been shredded, incorporate some of the sauce back into the meat.  Taste and add salt, if necessary.  

Build tacos, adding the meat first and then coleslaw.  Finish with chopped onions and cilantro.  Serve with lime wedge.