Slow-Cooker Beef Tacos

Have you ever bought ingredients you intend to use for one recipe then something happens and you’re left with ingredients you need to re-purpose? It happens a fair amount for me. Recently, I wanted to make a beef/cranberry recipe from Kayotic Kitchen. I read through the recipe a few times and was excited because we had cranberries we needed to use at some point, as well as most of the other ingredients. We just needed to buy beef suitable for a stew. Well, after buying 2 pounds of it, I realized that the recipe would take way more time than we had for dinner that night. Since it was a Sunday night, there wouldn’t be time until the following weekend and we would have to freeze the meat, which seemed like a waste since we had bought it for this nice recipe. I looked up so many slow-cooker recipes, but most were for much larger amounts of meat and could not be scaled down. Ugh! We were already planning on having tacos anyway, so I decided to find a slow-cooker taco dish, and I finally found something I could use!  It couldn’t have been easier, and I even was able to make tortillas from scratch.

For our tacos, we like to mash an avocado with some lime juice and cilantro. We also like to chop a tomato and mix with some salt, pepper, cilantro in place of regular salsa.

Of course there is also sour cream and cheese

Oh, and if you think I’m crazy for making tortillas from scratch, you should try them sometime. Not only do you get to control the flavors in them (we added chopped green onions one time), you can keep them healthier than the store ones. I always get so frustrated trying to find lower sodium ones that don’t come in a huge pack that we won’t be able to get through in a reasonable time. This way, I can lower the salt amount, but also only make the number we will need!

I consulted with Elly Says Opa’s recipe for the beef, and The Whimsical Cupcake’s for the tortillas.

Directions for the Beef

  • 2 pounds beef for a stew
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 teaspoons garlic
  • 1/2 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon oregano

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Pour some oil in and heat until it shimmers. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on your beef before browning in the pan.

Once all sides are browned, place in your crockpot. Add the onion slices to the pan, stirring for a couple minutes.

Then, stir in the garlic and tomato paste.

After a minute, add the broth and spices. Scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of your pan. Stir the onion mixture into the crockpot.

Cook on low for about 8 hours (can go up to 10 hours). Once ready, use forks to shred the meat. If it is still too liquidy, turn the crockpot onto high heat and cook with the lid off until it is to your liking.

Directions for the Tortillas

This version will make 6 8-inch tortillas.

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less)
  • 1/6 cup canola oil (eyeball it if your measuring cup is like mine!)
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Whisk the dry ingredients together.

This is the time to add extra flavor–seasonings or add-ins like chopped green onions.

Pour in the oil and mix with your fingers. The mixture will feel crumbly.

Then, pour in the warm water and mix with your hands until it comes together. I added more flour or water depending on how the dough felt. Then, knead the dough on a floured surface (a floured silpat works well here) until it is smooth.

Form back into a ball and cover with clear wrap. Let is rest for either 30 minutes at room temperature, or you can put in the fridge for up to 12 hours.

When ready, separate into 6 equal portions (I used a scale to help the first time). Then, roll out the balls into as good a circle as you can (mine weren’t great) and get it as thin as you can.

In a skillet sized for the tortillas (about medium sized), don’t use any oil…just heat over medium and put in one tortilla at a time. Once you see the edges start to dry out, check the bottom and flip when you get some brown (not charred) spots. Cook the other side a couple minutes as well to get the same look.

Not quite ready…

This is ready!

Place on a plate and cover to keep warm if you are making a large batch.

It’s time to assemble!

Directions for the Beef without pictures

  • 2 pounds beef for a stew
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 teaspoons garlic
  • 1/2 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon oregano

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Pour some oil in and heat until it shimmers. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on your beef before browning in the pan. Once all sides are browned, place in your crockpot. Add the onion slices to the pan, stirring for a couple minutes. Then, stir in the garlic and tomato paste. After a minute, add the broth and spices. Scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of your pan. Stir the onion mixture into the crockpot. Cook on low for about 8 hours (can go up to 10 hours). Once ready, use forks to shred the meat. If it is still too liquidy, turn the crockpot onto high heat and cook with the lid off until it is to your liking.

Directions for the Tortillas without pictures

This version will make 6 8-inch tortillas.

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less)
  • 1/6 cup canola oil (eyeball it if your measuring cup is like mine!)
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Whisk the dry ingredients together. Pour in the oil and mix with your fingers. The mixture will feel crumbly. Then, pour in the warm water and mix with your hands until it comes together. I added more flour or water depending on how the dough felt. Then, knead the dough on a floured surface (a floured silpat works well here) until it is smooth. Form back into a ball and cover with clear wrap. Let is rest for either 30 minutes at room temperature, or you can put in the fridge for up to 12 hours.

When ready, separate into 6 equal portions (I used a scale to help the first time). Then, roll out the balls into as good a circle as you can (mine weren’t great) and get it as thin as you can. In a skillet sized for the tortillas (about medium sized), don’t use any oil…just heat over medium and put in one tortilla at a time. Once you see the edges start to dry out, check the bottom and flip when you get some brown (not charred) spots. Cook the other side a couple minutes as well to get the same look.

Place on a plate and cover to keep warm if you are making a large batch.

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6 thoughts on “Slow-Cooker Beef Tacos

  1. I can’t wait to try this… it looks so yummy, especially homemade tortillas!! Your husband talked it up so much at work… oh to have an awesome wife ;D

    I have the table on this link written on an index card that I keep handy in the kitchen:
    http://www.cookingincastiron.com/files/20080123_slowcooker_to_dutchoven.html
    So if you hit another ingredient vs. time predicament, it is possible to convert the dutch oven cooking time and have the stew slow cooked instead.
    It works quite well vice versa, since one time I tried to make this recipe:
    http://barbarabakes.com/2010/05/cafe-rio-sweet-pork-barbacoa-salad/
    I invited an entire family over, bought the ingredients and found I had 3 hours left to cook. So the conversions have served me well :)

    • That’s a helpful table! It wouldn’t have helped in my case that night since even the dutch oven would have taken too long, but nice to know I can go the other direction, too! :)

  2. I’m so glad you liked the tortillas! I really enjoyed making them at home. It’s so simple and more healthy than the ones at the store. Mind sharing one of those delicious looking tacos??

  3. Pingback: Chicken Tacos | fudgingahead

  4. Pingback: Fish Tacos | fudgingahead

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