Simple Shredded Beef

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PIAZZA/STYLED CATRINE KELTY

SERVES 6

This is an incredibly versatile dish and can be prepared in a slow cooker or in an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. The Instant Pot is a super fast way to concentrate flavors and cook large stews in a much safer way than your grandmother’s scary, whistling, “might-blow-up-at-any- moment” pressure cooker. If you haven’t jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon yet, no worries—instructions on how to make this in a slow cooker are included below. Serve the shredded beef over mashed potatoes, creamy polenta or rice, and a side of sautéed spinach or steamed string beans.

1 (3½-pound) grass-fed chuck roast
Sea salt, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil, duck fat or lard
2 medium onions, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
½ cup beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup tomato purée
3 cloves garlic, minced
3–4 sprigs fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Juice of ½ lime

INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS

Cut the roast into 2-inch pieces and season with salt. Press the sauté button and add the oil or fat, then brown the meat in batches. Once browned on both sides, set the meat aside.

Next, add the onions and spices and sauté for 5 minutes, until fragrant, adding a bit more fat to the pot if necessary. Pour in the stock and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits, then add the tomato paste, garlic and thyme, stir, then return the meat to the pot. Put the lid on, making sure the air valve is in the rear-facing position to trap in the pressure. Hit the “cancel” button, then hit the “manual” button, and increase the time to 90 minutes. When finished, you can release the pressure manually or allow to release naturally before unscrewing the lid.

Remove the meat to a dish and shred with a fork. Add about ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste, garnish with the parsley and drizzle with lime juice.

SLOW COOKER METHOD

Cut the roast into 2-inch pieces and season with salt. Heat a cast-iron pan to medium-high and add the oil or fat, then sear the meat on all sides, working in batches if necessary. Remove the meat as it is browned to the bowl of the slow cooker. Add the onions and spices to the pan, sauté until lightly browned and fragrant, then scrape the mixture into the slow cooker. Pour in the stock and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits, then add the tomato paste, garlic and thyme, stir, and pour the liquid over the meat in the slow cooker. Place the lid on and set it on “low” for 9 hours. Remove the meat to a dish and shred with a fork. Add about ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste, garnish with the parsley and drizzle with lime juice. Ideas for leftovers

  • Have shredded beef tacos—mix in a bit of your favorite salsa or hot sauce and serve the meat on warmed corn or flour tortillas.
  • Mix in a bit of cold mashed potatoes, chopped cooked cabbage, an egg and a little flour, then fry in a pan for “bubble and squeak.”
  • Make a hash with cubed cooked potato, adding a pinch of curry powder and cumin for a twist.
  • Make sandwiches with melted cheese, shredded beef and some sauerkraut for zing, or kimchee for heat.
  • Combine with rice and diced tomatoes to stuff peppers; top with cheese.
  • Try hot shredded beef over crispy lettuce topped with pico de gallo and some guacamole.

DIANA RODGERS, RD, LDN, NTP is a “real food” nutritionist and writer living on a working organic farm in Carlisle, Massachusetts. She runs a clinical nutrition practice, and speaks internationally about the intersection of food, sustainability, animal welfare and social justice. She can be found at sustainabledish.com.