Beef Short Rib Mini Tacos with Pickled Radish
Looking for that great appetizer that will make you look like a chef? This is that kind of a dish. It’s not a traditional taco with Mexican flavors. It’s has more of a hearty beef flavor to it from the slow cooking process with wine and herbs and tomato paste. By itself it’s not spicy at all. But I definitely recommend serving it with an array of toppings including the pickled radish. When you serve something as rich as slow cooked beef you need something to cut through that richness and that’s where the acidic pickled radish comes in. I also like to serve it with very thinly sliced jalapenos for just a little bit of a kick and then some crumbled feta cheese for a bit of creaminess. You can serve them stacked with the toppings or just put the toppings out on the side and let your guests choose what they want. The touch of the fresh celery leaf is another nice addition for a little bit of something green and to tie back to one of the ingredients in the dish.
So a few tips about this dish. First of all it’s very easy to make but it does take some planning ahead because the short ribs need to slow cook for about 3 hours. But that’s the bad news. The good news it there is only about 20 minutes of prep to create a beautiful dish that is full of deep flavors and is completely versatile. You could make short rib nachos with the meat or a serve it over polenta. The mini tacos are just one idea of how to make an appetizer out of them. And on that note, I used white corn and flour taco shells (soft) and then used a round 1 1/2 inch biscuit cutter to get the mini tacos the size I wanted which was about 2 bites per taco. With this size taco I got about 12 tacos out of it. Less if you pile them high.
After you slow cook the meat with the herbs, wine, and tomato paste you will need to remove the bones and any fatty bits of meat and discard them but save the braising liquids. Carefully fish out the meat from the sauce, usually it’s in big chunks but is super tender and falling apart. Set that aside. Then take what’s left and press it through a mesh sieve. You want to really press down on all the solids. This will help create a thicker sauce. Discard your solids and strain off the layer of fat on top of your sauce or it will be greasy. Then add the meat to the sauce. You can definitely make this part a day ahead to save yourself a step on the day of the party. As for the pickled radish it will get more and more soggy the longer you leave it in the pickling liquid. I think anywhere from 1-2 hours is ideal but you can experiment and see what you think.
This one is for you meat lovers out there!
- 2 1/4 lbs beef short ribs (meaty with bone in)
- 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon Canola oil
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped celery
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups good quality red wine
- 1/2 cup water
- Small handful fresh thyme sprigs (8 - 10)
- Fresh rosemary sprigs (3-4)
- Salt and Pepper
- 12 corn and flour tortillas
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 2-3 radishes, sliced very thinly
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees
- Season the short ribs very liberally with salt and pepper. Heat a medium, oven proof sauce pan (with a lid) over medium high heat and add in the canola oil.
- Brown the meat on all sides until you get a little bit of a crust. Should be 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the meat from the pan. Wipe the pan of any black bits. Return pan to the heat and reduce heat to medium.
- Add in the olive oil and the celery and onion. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook until softened, adding in the garlic the last 30 seconds or so.
- Return the meat to the pan and add in the wine, tomato paste, water, and fresh herbs. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring to incorporate all the ingredients. Put the lid on and place in the preheated oven. Cook for about 3 hours. Meat should be falling off the bone.
- Remove and carefully pull out the bones and discard. Using tongs remove the meat and set aside. Strain the braising liquids through a fine mesh seive set over a bowl. Press down to get all the flavors out. Discard the solids. Skim any fat off the sauce and return the meat to the sauce. Refrigerate until ready to use and then reheat.
- PIckled Radish
- Combine the apple cider vinegar, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, sugar, ad red pepper flakes in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add the radish slices and refrigerate until ready to use.