In case you haven’t noticed by now, I love making slow-cooked meat dishes with strong, assertive flavors. Since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to reinvent and deconstruct the traditional corned beef brisket and cabbage dish.
Enter these brisket and cabbage tacos. Sweet, tender, delectable beef brisket wrapped up in a warm tortilla with shredded cabbage and radicchio, and melted cheese to top it all off. The meat is simmered slow and low in Guinness stout, which tenderizes it and gives the dish a malty flavor. The molasses and brown sugar highlight the chocolate and coffee notes in the beer, and also balance out the bitterness.
And, to pay homage to this Irish holiday, I used a cheese I recently discovered called the Dubliner, which is a blend of cheddar, Swiss, and parmesan (and which, even better, are all cheeses I enjoy eating).
Because brisket can be very tough if not cooked properly, almost every recipe for this cut of meat requires a rather long cooking process. Since I don’t have a slow cooker, I cooked the meat in a dutch oven on the stovetop between the endless errands that filled up my afternoon last weekend. Once it’s simmering, it really doesn’t need much attention. I regret not doubling the recipe and having extra leftovers to transform them into sandwiches, or quesadillas, or chili. All tasty options worth exploring!
Guinness Chipotle Beef Brisket Tacos
3 lbs beef brisket
Salt and pepper
2 tbsps vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, sliced
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 ½ cups Guinness extra stout (or your favorite stout)
1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup molasses
2 chipotle peppers in adobo
1 tbsp adobo sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsps cumin
2 bay leaves
2 tbsps brown sugar
16-20 small corn or flour tortillas
Cabbage and radicchio, thinly sliced, for topping
Dubliner or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, for topping
Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat a dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat just until beginning to smoke. Add the meat and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the meat to a plate and set aside.
Add garlic and onion to the pot, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add cider vinegar, stout, crushed tomatoes, molasses, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, chili powder, cumin, bay leaves, and brown sugar, and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, add the meat, and cook until the meat is tender, about 2 hours.
Remove the meat and discard the bay leaves. Using two forks, shred the meat along the grain. Pour the liquid and vegetables into a blender and puree until smooth. Add the sauce and shredded meat back into the pot, and allow it to simmer on low until the sauce has thickened up, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, warm tortillas and fill with brisket, cabbage, radicchio, and top with cheese.
*I like spicy foods, so I added a tablespoon of the adobo sauce for extra heat. If you prefer less heat, just use one chipotle pepper instead of two, and skip the adobo sauce.