Mexican Night in London

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December 10, 2012 by caitlinvaclark

Good Mexican food can be very hard to come by in London. One night when my best friend, Becca, was visiting, we had one pint too many before dinner and ended up at a random Mexican restaurant in Notting Hill. Bad choice. Her nachos involved generic cheese spiced Doritos as the base. Although, with a few margaritas and a bottle of wine, universally crowd pleasers, we happily embraced the sombreros that the restaurant provided for the authentic feel which their food lacked.


England does great bar food, they have beautiful bakeries, there are many awesome ethnic options. But sometimes all the pub grub in the world won’t kick my craving for tortillas and guacamole. So what’s the solution?? Make it myself!

Warning: This dish takes a long time! I’m talking 5 hours in a low oven, long. So don’t start this at 5 o’clock for dinner tonight. That said, you can also do this in a slow cooker. Sear the beef first and add all the ingredients on low for 8 hours. Just remember to give yourself enough time and this recipe provides you with lots of yummy little tacos, plus leftover beans for stuffed peppers. So, I promise you, it’s worth it!


I’m trying to appeal to a broad audience, hook readers who don’t know me personally, but those of you who do know me, know that I curse inappropriately often. That said, I will censor my reaction to my own dish last night, saying, in the spirit of A Christmas Story, “Fuuuuuuuudddge, that’s good.” Except i didn’t say fudge….

But to get to the cooking, since it’s going to take you a while, start by making a spice rub and massage your meat.


Sear the beef on all sides, and then remove from the pan to cook your onions, pepper, and tomatoes.


Once you’ve mixed your vegetables with the delicious beefy bits from the bottom of the pot and added in any remaining spice rub, add the beans and 3 cups of water and put the beef back in the pan.


Now comes the waiting game. Bring the pot to a very low simmer, then place in your oven for 5 hours. After 2 hours you can stir the beans and flip the meat. But otherwise you are just going to leave it and wait for the magic to happen.


When your beans are super tender and your beef is fall-apart supple, remove the beef, allowing it to cool enough to handle. Also, separate about half the beans, saving for a later dish. Shred the beef and mix back in with the beans.


Now you’re ready to assemble your tacos. I serve the beef with a simple slaw of shredded cabbage, red onion, lime juice, ground coriander and salt. Then I top the tacos with avocados mashed with either sour cream or greek yogurt and more lime juice.

Slow Cooked Beef and Bean Tacos

Serves 6-8

2 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 ½ Tbs. chili powder

1 Tbs. cumin

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

2-3 lbs top rump beef

1 medium onion

1 red pepper

1 jalapeno

1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 lb dried kidney or pinto beans

3 cups water


1/2 cabbage, thinly sliced

1 red onion

1 tsp coriander

Juice of 2 limes

Salt to taste

*mix all ingredients for the slaw together an hour before serving.

2 Avocados mashed with 1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt and juice of 1 lime

Soft tortillas

Preheat oven to 275˚F.

Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.

Mix together the next 6 ingredients to make a rub. Rub onto all sides of the beef. Reserve any remaining seasoning.

Sear beef, about 2 minutes per side. Set beef aside and add onions and pepper to the pot. Cook until tender. Add any remaining spice rub and the tomatoes.

Pour in the dried beans and 3 cups of water. Bring to a very low simmer. Return the beef and any juices to the pot. Cover and place in the oven for 5 hours.

Turn beef and stir beans after 2 hours and again after 4.

Once beef is fall-apart tender and beans are soft through, remove from the oven. Take the beef out of the mixture and allow it to cool enough to handle. Separate half of the bean mixture (reserve for stuffed peppers). Shred the beef and mix with the remaining half bean mixture. Reheat over medium heat on the stove.

Serve with warm tortillas, cabbage slaw and avocado mash.


Great news… You can use the extra beans to stuff peppers for dinner later in the week.


Just mix the beans with a prepared packet of Mexican rice and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.


Scoop into halved bell peppers, cover with tin foil, and bake at 350˚F until soft, about 45 minutes.



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