Has anyone noticed the tragedy of lime shortage that is upon us?!?! About 2 weeks ago I decided we should stop by Jon’s supermarket, our favorite store for produce, especially produce required for Mexican recipes. My husband commented something along the lines “okay, let’s go get you your $10 of produce”, but it turned out my bill instead of coming to slightly bellow $10, it came to $11!!! Which, of course you may say it’s not such a big difference and it’s still a low price for my big bag of grocery, the appalling thing was that more than $3 of the 11 were paid for 5 (!!!) limes. While I admit that I’ve been spoiled by rarely paying more than 10-20 cents a lime, $3 seemed quite steep at a store where cilantro goes for 5-7 bunches/$1. Not to mention we are in CA where Mexican produce is almost local! That’s when I remembered subtle references to a lime shortage in some recent recipes. A quick google search revealed that indeed there is a lime shortage and the culprits are bad weather, disease, and Mexican drug cartels. You can read a bit about it here. The lime shortage was also reflected in the tiny oddly shaped slices that got served at the Taco Madness festival in Los Angeles. If you love Mexican food and/or margaritas I probably don’t have to tell you what a tragedy this is! This past weekend there weren’t even any limes available at the store…sigh! I hope the drug cartels will at least sell some of the limes to the US so I can still buy them.
This recipe comes from the now very popular on this blog Cook’s Illustrated March-April 2014 issue. Other winning recipes from this issues are this massaman curry and these amazing scones. Instead of lime juice, this recipe uses cider vinegar as the acid source. I still added juice from one lime to the slaw, but the recipe doesn’t require it. I used less beef than the recipe suggests so the quantities are adjusted but not always proportional to the recipe. I made my own oddly shaped tortillas following this recipe. I made this recipe with both bone-in and boneless short ribs and both work well, although the bone-in had more fat and were slightly easier to shred. I debated using a chile spiced beer for this, but after our last experience with spicy beer (Punishment) I decided it’s best to avoid it. I felt truly punished tasting that beer, so punished that it will take me a while until I’ll sip another beer with chiles…except for the 5 Vultures, but so far I haven’t seen any in our stores.
Ingredients (serves 4 or more with additional sides):
- 1 cup beer (I used a German lagger)
- 1/3 cup cider
- 1 dried ancho chile, stemmed, seeded, and broken in ~1 inch pieces
- 2 Tb tomato paste
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- salt and pepper
- 1 large onion sliced in 1 inch rounds
- 2 pounds beef short ribs cut in ~ 2 inch pieces
- cabbage carrot slaw (3/4 cup cider vinegar, juice from 1 lime (or more cider vinegar), 1/2 cup water, 1 Tb sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 head cabbage sliced, 1/2 onion sliced thinly, 2 large carrots shredded, 1 serrano, 1 tsp dry oregano, 1 cup fresh cilantro)
- 16 tortillas
- cotija cheese
Preheat oven to 325 F. Place onion rounds on the bottom of a Dutch oven.
Whisk together the first 10 ingredients, salt (~1 tsp) and pepper (~1/2 tsp). Add the beef chunks and mix. Place beef chunks over the onion. Pour over the liquid.
Cover pot and place in the oven. Cook until meat gets very tender 2.5 – 3 hrs. Pardon the dirty pot ;-)
Meanwhile work on the slaw. I used my food processor to slice the cabbage, shred the carrots, and chop the cilantro and serrano pepper. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, water, sugar, salt, and oregano. Add the cabbage, carrots, onion, pepper, and cilantro. Mix, cover, and refrigerate for ~ 1 hour or overnight.
Shred beef. Place beef on top of warm tortillas. Top with the slaw and cotija cheese. Skip the lime wedges as the slaw is sour enough ;-)