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Birria Tacos with Tofu Tortillas, Tofu Avocado Crema & Pickled Red Onions

Chef David Perez

Urban Cellar & Wine Bar

Birria Tacos with Tofu Tortillas, Tofu Avocado Crema & Pickled Red Onions

*Braised Tri-Tip Birria *Fresh Tofu Tortillas *Tofu Avocado Crema *Pickled Onions

Beef Birria

2 Tablespoons soybean oil

4 pounds boneless beef tri-tip, trimmed of excess fat and silverskin, seasoned with salt and pepper

1 cup roughly chopped white or yellow onion (1 small onion)

1 cup roughly chopped celery (2 stalks)

1 cup roughly chopped carrot (2 carrots)

1 cup roughly chopped Roma tomatoes (2 tomatoes)

3 poblano chiles, roasted

3 dried Guajillo chiles

6 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon coriander seeds

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground cloves

¼ cup dry sherry

4 cups beef stock

2 oranges, quartered

5 sprigs fresh thyme

5 sprigs fresh cilantro

Julienned radishes, cilantro sprigs, salsa verde, and lime wedges for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the seasoned roast and sear on all sides. When the roast is well-browned, remove it from the pot and add the onions, celery, carrot, tomatoes, poblanos, Guajillos, garlic, cumin, oregano, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, and cloves. Cook the vegetables, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Deglaze with the sherry and simmer until the liquid is nearly evaporated. Return the seared roast to the pot, then add the beef stock, oranges, and fresh herbs. Place the lid on the pot and transfer it to the oven. Braise for 3 to 4 hours. (While the beef braises, make the other elements of the dish.)

When the roast shreds easily, transfer it to a cutting board and shred into bite-sized pieces. Strain the remaining braising liquid and blend until smooth; drizzle the beef with some of the blended braising liquid to moisten; reserve remaining sauce for serving with the tacos. Keep the beef warm until ready to serve.

Tofu Avocado Crema

1 (12 ounce) package soft silken-style tofu

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted

½ a jalapeño, seeded

1 large garlic clove, peeled

1 to 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary with additional salt and/or lime juice. Transfer crema to an airtight container or squirt bottle and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Pickled Red Onions

½ cup red wine vinegar

1½ Tablespoons kosher salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns

½ teaspoon juniper berries

½ teaspoon whole coriander seed

1 red onion, thinly sliced

Bring vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic, bay leaf, and spices to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Place sliced onion in a bowl, then add the hot pickling brine and let stand at least 15 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic and set aside until ready to serve (or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days).

Tofu Tortillas

1 (12-ounce) package soft silken tofu

1 cup hot water (or use strained braising liquid from cooking the beef)

2 cups masa harina (corn flour used to make tortillas; find in Mexican markets and some grocery stores)

Pinch of kosher salt

Blend the tofu with the water in a blender until smooth. Place the masa and salt in a large mixing bowl, then gradually add the tofu mixture to create a soft dough. Divide dough into 2-ounce balls (you should have about 24), then press or roll out into 5-inch-round tortillas between sheets of wax paper (you can also use a tortilla press). Cook tortillas on a griddle or in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat for about 1 minute per side. Stack tortillas on a plate with parchment or wax paper between each (or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days).

To assemble tacos, wrap the tortillas in a clean towel and warm in a 300 degree oven (or warm on a hot grill or griddle). While the tortillas warm, heat the shredded beef in a skillet over medium-high until hot and warm the reserved braising liquid. Place two warm tortillas on a serving plate and top with some of the shredded beef and pickled onions. Dollop some of the Tofu Avocado Crema on top of the meat and garnish with cilantro sprigs and julienned radishes. Serve with reserved warm braising liquid, prepared salsa verde, and lime wedges, if desired.

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