Pulled beef tacos with pickled beetroot

Pulled beef tacos with pickled beetroot

Pulled beef tacos with pickled beetroot

I’ve had some success with naturally fermented food and am learning loads about how ridiculously nutritious they are. It’s the lactobacillus bacteria that are wonderful for your digestive system. With my overall health not great, I’ve decided to do my bit for my gut health by including naturally fermented foods when I can. I used to make great sourdough bread. I had great success with my batch of sauerkraut and next year I think I’m going to use natural fermentation to make my blackberry wine. Anyway, I thought the seasonal beetroot in the market at the moment would make a great raw, tangy and crunchy pickle for beef tacos. You need to make the pickle a few days in advance. But it’s very simple. I fermented mine for four days. Next time I’m going to leave it for longer to increase the tanginess. I picked up some gravy beef from my favourite beef supplier, Gilmore Braes Heritage Beef. Slow cooked with Ancho chilli powder and smoked paprika gave a good hit of smokiness and just enough heat to the beef. Boy was I on the money with this idea! These are my best beef tacos yet. That beef was an absolute winner with my pickled beetroot, sour cream and some fresh rocket. A squeeze of fresh lime makes the whole combination sing.

Serves 3-4

Pickled beetroot

2 fresh, medium sized beetroot
½ teaspoon salt

Pulled beef

1.3 kilograms gravy beef
2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Ancho chilli powder
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup tomato passata


8-12 tortillas
250 grams sour cream
120 grams rocket
1 fresh lime

Make the pickle a few days in advance. Peel the beetroot and remove the tops. Finely slice the beetroots on a mandolin, or the long blade on your vegetable grater. Then cut the slices into fine matchsticks. Pack the matchsticks of beetroot into a sterilised jar that has a wide mouth, sprinkling in the salt and packing them down as you go. You want to be very firm with the matchsticks. The idea is to draw out as much moisture from them as possible. This liquid, or brine, will create an anaerobic environment for the healthy lactobacillus bacteria to grow. When you’ve packed all your beetroot, use a clean lid from a smaller jar (or some other device to weigh the beetroot down) so the beetroot sits below the surface of the liquid. Then loosely cover the jar with its lid. Leave the jar on the bench top for at least three days. At this point, you may need to mix the beetroot a little, to allow any excess carbon dioxide to escape. The pickle should smell slightly acid, and the liquid may be a bit gooey, these are all good signs. You can keep it fermenting for as long as you’d like. The pickle will continue to increase in acidity the longer you ferment it. When it has reached the desired level of acidity, screw the lid on the jar and place it in the refrigerator.

To make the beef, gently toast the Ancho chilli powder and paprika in a dry frying pan and transfer to your slow cooker with the black and white pepper, salt and tomato passata. Increase the heat of the frying pan to high. When the pan is hot, add the beef and brown it all over. Do this in batches, rather than letting it stew in an overcrowded pan. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker. Deglaze the frying pan with a couple of cups of water, being sure to lift all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Tip this water into the slow cooker with the beef. You want enough water in the cooker to just cover the meat. Turn the slow cooker to high and cook for about twelve hours.

Lift the lid of the slow cooker and let the liquid evaporate. Shred the beef with two forks. Gently heat the tortillas in a hot, dry frying pan. Spoon about half a cup of pulled beef across the middle of the tortillas, top with a generous quantity of sour cream, then a very good handful of fresh rocket. Lastly, scatter on a good amount of the beetroot. Eat immediately.


This entry was posted in Autumn, Dinner, Lunch, Winter and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Pulled beef tacos with pickled beetroot

  1. I love pulled anything. And I adore my slow cooker. I’ll be trying this for sure. I wonder if pickling my radishes would do the same job?

    • Susan says:

      I was totally thinking about adding pickled radishes to this Fran, they would be great! It would be a little shame to miss the beetroot though.

  2. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things says:

    How delicious! I wish my Peter would eat pickles… he won’t touch any of them!

    • Susan says:

      Thanks Liz, I never used to like pickles, but I had so much success with my naturally fermented sauerkraut, I thought I’d try another one. These naturally fermented foods are ridiculously good for you. With our health the way it is, I thought I’d do my gut a favour and it totally paid off. I’m looking forward to using the beetroot in a salad too.

  3. Oh man… commenting on food at lunch time is killing me. I adore pulled anything, its like the best food on the planet. I want this now… 🙂 Solid use of beetroot too, I struggle to enjoy beetroot, will have a crack at eating it pickled.

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