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Old 08-04-2009, 11:01 AM   #11
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Its OK Andy. We won't beat you too much this time around.
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Old 08-04-2009, 11:11 AM   #12
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The quote was about Worcestershire sauce, but yes soy sauce would do the same thing. Good call Andy.

As will fish sauce. Or miso for that matter.
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Old 08-04-2009, 11:14 AM   #13
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How about Ac'cent?
;p
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Old 08-04-2009, 11:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
As will fish sauce. Or miso for that matter.
Fish sauce?

Never would have thought of that in a red meat preparation. Might have to try it sometime...
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Old 08-04-2009, 12:53 PM   #15
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Wow, thank you for the replies! You guys rock! This gives me loads of ideas to try.
Andy M's post knocked loose a hazy memory of a ground beef technique I read about somewhere, though I can't remember where, in which ground beef is put into the pan and then sort of left alone for a few minutes to develop a dark brown color. That may be worth a try. This post also made me realize that the moisture from the onions was probably inhibiting true browning. So, I think I'll either try cooking the onions in a separate pan, or cook them first, set them aside, wipe out the pan, and then add the beef to cut down on dirty dishes.
The rest of the posts gave me a lot to think about along the lines of additional ingredients to add to coax out that beefy flavor. I would have never thought of worcestershire sauce! But that's a good idea and something I always have on hand. I think I may try that first, as I don't normally keep beef base or bullion on hand. If the worcestershire sauce doesn't work, I think my next step would be beef broth. I like the idea of reducing it, too! I could do a reduction and then freeze it by the tablespoon to use as needed.
I'm also going to up the chili powder a bit. The original CI recipe had a ton of chili powder in it, to the point where it tasted like thick, beanless chili to me. I may have gone too far in the opposite direction when modifying the recipe. I'll try 2 tsp next time and see how that works.

Thank you all again for your suggestions! I'll let you know how it turns out!

JJSH - I got my mexican oregano from Penzeys Spices (sorry, I'm not allowed to post links yet). I know they ship internationally, but they may charge dearly for it. Might be worth looking into though?
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:03 PM   #16
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I'm not an expert on Mexican cooking, but have thought about cooking a good beef roast and slicing it very thin for your burrito? I'm talking about a roast that your sear until there are brown goodies in the bottom of your pan, and then add beef broth, cover, and simmer until done. You could rub the roast with chili powder and cumin (+S&P) before cooking.
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:49 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by apple*tart View Post
I'm also going to up the chili powder a bit.
*warning - personal pet peeve alert*

I never use pre-mixed chili powder. The flavors of virtually every pre-mix I've tried taste muddled, stale, and old to me.

I prefer using the base components of the chili powder as separate additions to the dish. You'll notice that the recipe you posted has additional cumin powder in it - that's because chili powder, while having cumin as a main component, almost never has ENOUGH - so correction is necesssary...

I say, why bother correcting someone else's failed mix? Add cumin (toasting and grinding your own seed = YUM!), cayenne pepper (or whatever ground pepper you prefer - I grow my own habanero and cayenne and grind them together), oregano (or marjoram, or even cilantro - you may like that flavor better), and garlic (fresh > powder in anything that isn't a rub...)

/end rant.
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:17 PM   #18
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LOL - sorry I touched a nerve! But I appreciate the info on making your own chili powder. I always knew it was a blend, but didn't realize that people made their own until just a few days ago, coincidentally, when I was looking through Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, which I recently checked out from the library. He's got a recipe for making your own chili powder in there that includes ancho chiles, black peppercorns, and coriander in addition to what you mentioned. I'm trying not to kill a tomato plant in my "garden" this year, as I have a bit of a brown thumb apparently, but if it goes well, I might try raising some chiles next year to dry and grind myself. Especially since my husband loves mexican/tex-mex foods!
For now, the chili powder I use is from The Fresh Market, and I think it's actually really delicious. Very pungent. I love their cumin too. But, I bet it won't hold a candle to making my own. :)
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:19 PM   #19
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Constance - that sounds delicious. I definitely want to expand my repertoire to include more pork, more chicken, and sliced or pulled beef dishes too.
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance View Post
I'm not an expert on Mexican cooking, but have thought about cooking a good beef roast and slicing it very thin for your burrito? I'm talking about a roast that your sear until there are brown goodies in the bottom of your pan, and then add beef broth, cover, and simmer until done. You could rub the roast with chili powder and cumin (+S&P) before cooking.
Yeah, this works well.
Cut your beef into little chunks, remove most of the fat. Season as you wish... I like to coat the meat with (egads) taco seasoning!
Brown quickly, reduce heat, add a bit of liquid (i like dark beer), toss in a couple garlic cloves, onion and a seeded, cut jalapeno.
Reduce heat and braise until the meat is nice and tender.
Remove the garlic, onion and jalapeno. Chop or toss, take your pick. I chop it well, and return it to the pot.

Reduce that liquid in the pot and thicken. I use a seasoned flour mixture in a bit of water. Makes a great sauce!
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