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Vaca Frita

Vaca Frita

This Vaca Frita is Cuban Shredded Beef  that is moist, tender, and crispy on the outside. It's infused with orange and lime juice for a mojo flavor. Your family will love this Vaca Frita.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Cuban
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Yield 4 -6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck-eye roast pulled apart at seams, trimmed, and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest plus 1 tablespoon juice plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1 onion halved and sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth or vinegar

Instructions

  1. Bring beef, 2 cups water, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt to boil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until beef is very tender, about 1 hour 45 minutes. (Check beef every 30 minutes, adding water so that bottom third of beef is submerged.) Remove lid from skillet, increase heat to medium, and simmer until water evaporates and beef starts to sizzle, 3 to 8 minutes.
  2. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to rimmed baking sheet. Pour off and reserve fat from skillet. Rinse skillet clean and dry with paper towels. Place sheet of aluminum foil over beef and, using meat pounder or heavy sauté pan, pound to flatten beef into 1/8-inch-thick pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Some of beef should separate into shreds. Larger pieces that do not separate can be torn in half.
  3. Combine garlic, oil, and cumin in a small bowl. Combine orange juice and lime zest and juice in a second bowl.
  4. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons reserved fat in now-empty skillet over high heat (don't discard the rest yet). When fat begins to sizzle, add onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden brown. Add chicken broth or vinegar and cook until liquid evaporates. Remove onions from the pan. Return skillet to high heat, add 1 1/2 teaspoons reserved fat, and heat until it begins to sizzle. Add beef and cook, stirring frequently, until dark golden brown and crusty, 2 to 4 minutes. It's important to get it nice and crisp.

  5. Reduce heat to low and push beef to sides of skillet. Add garlic mixture to center and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden brown, about 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat, add orange juice mixture and onion, and toss to combine. Season with pepper to taste. Serve immediately with lime wedges. Can be used as taco filling or just plain.

Recipe Notes

I haven't tried it but I definitely think you could cook the meat in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours on low instead of on the stove top in step 1 of the instructions. Reserve fat from slow cooker and continue to step 2 in the instructions.