Braised Beef Tacos with Arugula Chimichurri & Scallion Tortillas (Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Paleo, AIP)
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Happy Spring! Happy Taco Tuesday! Happy Birthday Mom!
I’m covering a lot of bases with these tacos, ha. Luckily, they’re worthy of carrying all of those good wishes. I mean, what’s not to love about chewy, beefy, sassy tacos that just happen to also be gluten-free, grain-free, and autoimmune protocol compliant (or not, if you wish to add the heat of chiles).
I’ve had a FIERCE taco craving since returning from a trip to Los Angeles, one of the country’s great taco cities. My boyfriend Erik and I inhaled the best fish tacos we’ve ever had at Tacos Puntas Cabras in Santa Monica. And on our way to the airport, we swung by Revolutionario Tacos for a fantastic North African-fusion feast. FEAST. We spent a good portion of the flight home reminiscing about our favorite take-aways: hearty tortillas, bright flavors, and all the freshy-fresh salsas, bursting with color and heat. (Yes, we are food nerds of the highest order.)
I came home with the stated goal of playing with some new ingredients for you all. I’ve been meaning to riff on a grain-free version of the bacon-and-scallion goodness of these Andrew Zimmern flour tortillas (I recipe-tested and photographed them a few years ago). With Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour taking the paleo world by storm, along with a deep need to satisfy my cravings, I came up with the recipe below. They rock, if I do say so myself.
Filling the tortillas with braised beef was an easy choice. I almost always have either braised beef or pork on hand. And a chimichurri finish seemed like the perfect spring zing, using arugula for extra pepperiness without adding chili flakes (although add for more heat if you can tolerate nightshades!).
To assemble tacos, fill tortillas with pulled-apart beef. Add radishes and avocado slices, if you like. Drizzle generously with chimichurri and eat quickly, with a stack of napkins at the ready.
See what you think and let me know, especially if you enjoy them outside. Tralalaaaaah!
Grain-Free Flour Tortillas
Makes 8 tortillas
Note: Recipe can be multiplied; freeze cooled tortillas between squares of parchment paper, in a plastic freezer bag..
1 1/2 cups Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour (available online and locally at Kitchen in the Market)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons minced scallions
3 tablespoons melted bacon fat, beef fat, or ghee; or room temperature olive or avocado oil
2/3 cup warm water (or more)
In a large bowl, combine cassava flour, salt, and scallions. Drizzle fat over the flour and use your hands to combine, rubbing the fat and flour together until uniformly mixed. Stir in 2/3 cup warm water until combined, then use your hands to form into a ball of dough. Knead dough for a minute – if it feels a bit dry, add more water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough feels soft and pliable.
Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. When ready to roll out tortillas, pre-heat an un-greased cast iron skillet over medium heat. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on the counter. Place a piece of dough on top, then cover with a generous piece of plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, roll dough into a thin tortilla between the plastic and parchment. Gently lift plastic off (and keep it, for rolling the next tortilla) and transfer tortilla to hot skillet. Bake until puffed up and browning in spots, about 3 minutes, then flip and bake the other side. Transfer to a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm (or cool on a rack if preparing to freeze). Continue with the rest of the dough.
Serve tortillas warm. To freeze: cool tortillas to room temperature, layering squares of parchment paper between tortillas to prevent sticking. Transfer to a plastic freezer bag, squeeze excess air from bag, seal, and freeze. To reheat: place one or two tortillas on the rack of Breville Compact Smart Oven Toaster/Pizza Oven and toast for 4-5 minutes or until hot and pliable.
Basic Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
1 4-5 lb. beef chuck roast, preferabley grass-fed beef
2 cloves garlic, one cut into 1/4-inch slivers, one chopped
1 Tbsp. beef fat or vegetable oil (I use avocado oil or olive oil)
1 medium onion, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 c. water
Freshly ground black pepper
With a small, sharp knife, cut several evenly-spaced holes in roast. Push garlic slivers into holes. Sprinkle roast on all sides generously with salt.
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. When oil is hot, brown roast thoroughly on all sides. Transfer browned roast to Crock Pot WeMo Enabled Smart Slow Cooker. Add onions to skillet and sauté for 1 minute, then transfer to slow cooker, scattering over the roast. Add water to the pan to deglaze, stirring up any browned bits, then pour over the roast. Add chopped garlic, bay leaves, and thyme to the slow cooker. Cover and slow cook on low for 8 hours.
Transfer roast to a cutting board. Pour juices, including onion and garlic, into a blender. Discard bay leaf. Spoon off most of the fat (transfer to a jar and refrigerate – it’s flavorful and lovely for sauteeing vegetables or for making grain-free tortillas). Blend the juices on medium speed until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Slice roast and serve with pan juices or pull roast into bite-sized pieces and stir into pan juices. Chill leftover beef in pan juices.
Blender Arugula Chimichurri
Makes 1 cup
Note: Recipe can easily be doubled. You’ll want extra on hand!
2 packed cups arugula leaves
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Combine ingredients in bowl of Vitamix S50 13-Speed Blender. Blend on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a jar. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
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