With late-summer heat in mind, I went to the web to research some Caribbean-style braises. Many times over, a Cuban or Puerto Rican recipe would be written by a well-meaning cook out of New York or Kansas followed by snippy commentary from readers about inaccurate technique or ingredients. So I am putting my disclaimer out front and center: I am a New England WASP, with a background in classic French cuisine, cooking for young children who don’t tolerate hot peppers. I created this recipe pulling together flavors of the Caribbean and ingredients available from a Vermont farm in August. Feel free to throw in as many hot peppers as you please.
For the beef:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1½ pounds London broil or chuck
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 1 head or 6 large cloves garlic, separated, peeled and chopped
- 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste (If you don’t have any tamarind, add an extra tablespoon of vinegar.)
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 2 star anise, whole
- Hot peppers, chopped, to taste (optional)
For the slaw:
- 2 kohlrabi, peeled and grated
- 2 carrots, peeled and grated
- Juice of 1 lime
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- Sesame hamburger buns
Heat the oil in a pan, season the meat and then brown on both sides. Take your time to get a good sear since it will add depth and flavor to the final sauce. Add the onions and garlic and cook another few minutes.
Transfer all to the slow cooker and add remaining ingredients for the braise. Set the cooker for 4–6 hours, checking occasionally to make sure there is enough liquid to come halfway up the meat, adding a little water if necessary.
When the meat is falling-apart tender, remove from the cooker. Shred the meat with a fork. Return the remaining braising sauce to the stove, simmer until thick and add it back to the meat.
While the beef is braising, toss together all the ingredients of the kohlrabi slaw and put it in the fridge to let the flavors meld.
When ready to eat, put a large spoonful of beef on a bun, top with the slaw and serve.