My Roots

IMG_3194I'm notorious for asking people, "What would be your last supper? I mean if you knew you were going to die tomorrow, or on death row, what would be that last ultimate meal?"  Some people answer with something incredibly elegant (think five stars).  However, I think most people go back to comfort.  In fact, when Ben's office had a celebration dinner for his five year anniversary, his co-worker called to see about his favorites.  All of them very simple comfort foods (garlic mashed potatoes, steak, chocolate cake with ice cream).

Mine are Mexican comfort foods.  Growing up in Yuma, AZ (a border town) has quintessential Mexican food.  There are the special Mexican restaurants in Yuma, the taco stand 10 miles west from Yuma in Algodones, Mexico or in my adopted family's home, where Mrs. Carrillo taught me how to make nopales con carne & Mr. Carrillo taught me the value of using salt to suck out the flare of jalapenos on my tongue.  One of my favorites is Machaca, but not machaca huevos.  The best is the machaca burrito from the beloved Chili Pepper (sidenote: it's great how people who grew up in Yuma and moved away still salivate hearing the words...a B&C burrito (bean & cheese)...and upon return will stop at Chili Pepper before seeing the folks).  The machaca burrito is a savory meat at it's best.  Truly there is something comforting about sucking out flavorful juices from this slowly simmered shredded beef.

So if I had one last meal, I would definitely have a machaca burrito on the menu.  What would yours be?

Machaca Tacos (printable recipe)

I know many Americans prefer flour tortillas; but, please do yourself a favor and use warmed corn tortillas and you won't regret it.  However, if you make burritos than use homemade flour tortillas.  Recipe adapted from

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

  • juice of two limes

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or olive oil

Machaca Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lb Flank Steak

  • 1 large yellow onion

  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced

  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, minced

  • 1-14 oz can diced tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup beef broth

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I used Tabasco)

  • salt & pepper to taste

  • vegetable oil for searing beef.

For the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a bowl then whisk to an emulsion.  Add the beef making sure every piece is evenly coated.  Cover & refrigerate overnight.  Before preparing, drain thoroughly and allow meat to come up to room temperature for about 30 minutes.

In a large dutch oven or soup pot, heat a few tablespoons of ol over medium-high heat until very hot.  Sear the beef until a rich brown color is developed on all sides, as well as bottom of pan.

When all the beef is browned nicely and removed from the pan, add the onions, peppers and garlic to the hot pan.  Saute for a few minutes then add the remaining ingredients to the pan along with the beef.  Bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer slowly for about 2 1/2 hours.  The meat should be very tender and should easily fall apart when pricked with a fork.

You can either take the meat to a cutting board to pull it apart with forks, or do it right in the pot.  Once you shred it, cook it on simmer for another 30-45 minutes.

Heat the tortillas on stove top for best results.

**I liked mine a bit liquidy, but you can cook in the last part until the liquid is reduced and very thick.