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Hopkins Fields

Braised Short Rib Tacos

This is not your throw together Tuesday night dinner. In fact this is a recipe best done in stages over two days. It is however impressive, really tasty and loads of fun. These are not your run of the mill ground beef tacos, super delicious.


4-5 lbs. English Style beef short ribs- buy from a quality buyer like WholeFoods or a butcher whom you trust.

6 Tbsp. cracked fennel seeds

Kosher salt and black pepper

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 medium onions sliced thin

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

¼ cup minced garlic

2 Tbsp. cumin

2 Tbsp. coriander

2 Tbsp. ancho chile powder

2 large Bay leave

28 0z. Can diced tomatoes (San Marzano’s are excellent quality)

2 cups homemade beef or chicken stock

1 cup Cabernet Franc


For salsa:

3 Heirloom tomatoes diced fine (I like to use different color varieties for this salsa)

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 Tbsp. fresh cilantro minced

3 Tbsp. EVOO

Salt and pepper


3 cups Mesclun mix

1.2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves

8 oz. Queso Fresco cheese

Warm, soft tortillas


Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Dry the ribs off with paper toweling, season with generous amounts of kosher salt, pepper and fennel seeds. Heat oil in pan. Slowly place the ribs into the pan not over crowding or disturbing them to create a strong sear on all sides, brown well. Remove the ribs from the pot; pour off all but 2 Tbsp. of fat from the pot. Add onions and cook stirring occasionally 7-9 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook stirring frequently an additional minute. Add the spices, wine, tomatoes and stock being sure to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the meat back to the pan bring to a simmer and skim any scum from the top of the liquid. Cover, place in the oven and cook until very tender at least 2 hours. To check for doneness plunge a fork straight down into the meat if it slides out easily the meat is done if the meat hangs onto the fork give it more time in the oven. When the ribs are fork tender refrigerate the pot over night.

There is now a thick bit of fat covering the ribs and sauce, remove it with a spoon and discard. Place the ribs onto a cutting board and remove the thick bits of fat from the meat and discard, Shred the meat and place back into the pot over medium heat to reduce the sauce.  Check for seasoning.

Heat oven to 300 degrees and warm tortillas on a baking sheet once warm place a clean kitchen towel over them to keep from drying out.

Meanwhile combine ingredients for salsa and set aside. Combine Mesclun and cilantro leaves in bowl and set aside. Place 2 large Tbsp. of the rib mixture into each of the warm tortillas, followed by the salsa, greens and Queso Fresco, place on a platter and Enjoy!

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