CARNE CON RAJAS : Slow Cooker Fajitas
They simmer instead of sizzle, but these slow cooker “Fajitas” will quickly become a favorite.
The jalapeños are seeded, so they are only mildly spicy, but poblano or Anaheim chiles would be a good substitute. Serve with sliced avocado, cotija cheese, northern-style flour tortillas and, of course, beans and rice.
2½ pounds boneless beef chuck, in one thick piece
2 tablespoons fresh lard or vegetable oil
2½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 sprigs fresh cilantro
4 cloves garlic, sliced, plus 1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup Caldo de Res
½ white onion, sliced ½ inch thick
6 to 8 large jalapeño chiles
1 red onion
1 red bell pepper
Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh epazote
Sliced Hass avocado
Warm flour tortillas
Crumbled cotija cheese
Slice the beef into long strips about 1 inch thick. Heat 1 tablespoon of the lard in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and brown the beef on all sides until dark brown. Place the beef in a 5-quart slow cooker along with 2 teaspoons of the salt, the pepper, cilantro, the sliced garlic, and the broth.
In the same skillet, fry the white onion over medium-high heat, stirring very little, until it is dark brown, or even slightly charred. Add the onion to the slow cooker. Scrape up any small bits from the pan and add those to the slow cooker as well. Cover and cook on low for 4
hours, or until the meat is tender.
Line a heavy skillet with a piece of aluminum foil. Add the jalapeños to the skillet and roast on all sides over medium-high heat until slightly charred and softened. Remove the stems, cut each jalapeño into 4 pieces lengthwise, and remove the seeds.
Peel the red onion and cut ½ inch off the stem and root ends. Cut in half vertically, from the stem end to the root end. Set one onion half on the root end and slice from top to bottom to create ½-inch wide crescents of onion. Repeat with the remaining onion half.
Core and trim the red bell pepper and cut into pieces ½ inch wide and 3 inches long.
When the meat is cooked, and about 30 minutes before you want to serve, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon lard or oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the red onion, jalapeños, red pepper, and epazote, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are almost soft, about 5 minutes. Season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the onion mixture to the slow cooker, stir in carefully, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
Top with the avocado and serve with warm flour tortillas and a small bowl of cotija cheese on the side.