I love the idea of mini versions of anything, and these tacos do not disappoint. I found the shells in an Internet search a few years ago and have been using them ever since. They take a few days to arrive, so order then today if you want them by the Super Bowl. If you don’t want to order the mini taco shells, Tostitos scoops make great little holders for taco ingredients.
Buy the mini taco shells at: www.dreamersgourmet.com
Active Time: 1½ hours
Total Time: 6 hours
Makes about 80 bite-size mini tacos
4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and ribs discarded
1 small chipotle pepper in adobo
1 medium sweet onion, quartered
10 garlic cloves
¼ cup agave syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano – or use standard dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
3 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch long pieces, fat trimmed
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1½ cups beef broth
Pickled Red Onions
1 medium red onion, cut in half, very thinly sliced on a mandolin or with a knife
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic, smashed with the back of a knife
1 bay leaf
1 cup crema or sour cream
1 lime, zested and then juiced
Micro cilantro or finely chopped cilantro for garnish
Preheat your oven to 325°F.
Soak the ancho chiles in 2 cups boiling hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and discard the stem and seeds. Reserve the soaking liquid. Put the ancho chiles in a blender with the chipotle pepper, onion, garlic, agave, vinegar and spices and blend until smooth. Add ¼ to ½ cup of the reserved soaking liquid to thin the sauce slightly. It should be the texture of a smooth salsa.
Sprinkle the short ribs with the salt and pepper, rubbing to evenly coat. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and add the avocado oil. Sear the short ribs on all sides until golden. Add the ancho chile sauce and beef broth. Cover and braise in the oven for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat is for tender. Alternatively, put the meat in a slow cooker and braise until tender.
Remove the short ribs from the sauce and let cool slightly before shredding. Discard any sinewy bits. Skin the fat of the top of the sauce and reduce by 1/3. Add the meat back to the sauce and cook over medium-low heat until sauce has thickened and meat is well coated, about 20 minutes.
Pickled Red Onions
Place the onions in a non-reactive bowl and have plastic wrap next to the bowl. Heat the vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan over high heat until boiling. Immediately, pour the vinegar over the onions and cover tightly with plastic. Let cool to room temperature.
These onions will last for months in your refrigerator in an airtight container.
Whisk the lime zest and some of the juice into the crema or sour cream until the mixture is smooth and pourable.
Fill each taco shell with some of the shredded short rib meat, then drizzle with crema. Top with a few pickled red onions and cilantro and serve.
We shred a head of purple cabbage to use as a stabilizer to hold up the tacos, otherwise they will roll on their sides. You can also use sprigs of cilantro to hold them up.