Maybe it’s the early morning light and the cool nights, but I’ve found myself turning to the slow cooker once again for making hearty bean dishes and braised meats.

 This Mexican Pot Roast from Santa Rosa Junior College cooking instructor Mei Ibach, which she adapted from a recipe from John Ash, is made in the slow cooker and is delicious served up in tacos with some sliced avocado, cabbage  and sour cream. The flavor is sweet, spicy and tart.

Mexican Pot Roast

Serves 6 to 8

3 large dried ancho chilies, or ¼ cup pure chile powder

1 ¾ cup dry red wine

1¼ cup fresh orange juice

¼ cup balsamic or red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons chopped garlic

1½ tablespoons seeded and minced Serrano or jalapeno chile

2 teaspoon ground cumin

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 ½ teaspoon dried)

2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

4 tablespoons olive or corn oil

2 pounds onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup golden raisins or currants

3 pounds, center-cut beef brisket, fat removed and cut into three parts

4 cups beef stock

Fresh tortillas, cilantro sprigs, lime wedges, sliced avocados, and crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese for garnishing.


 1.  Remove the steams and seeds from the dried chilies and rinse.  In a small saucepan, cover the chilies with water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

2.   In a blender or food processor, puree the softened chiles with the wine, orange juice, vinegar, garlic, fresh chile, cumin, cinnamon, oregano and salt until smooth. 

3.   In a big sautéed pan, put 4 tablespoons of olive or corn oil and preheat, sear the beef brisket until caramelized. Scatter the onions and raisins with the beef.

4.   Transfer the beef and onion mixture into the insert of the slow-cooker and set on high.  Pour in the chiles mixture,  the beef stock and the beef and cook for 3 to 4 hours or until tender.

5.   To serve, shred the meat with a fork, serve on warmed tortillas, garnished with cilantro, a squeeze of lime, sliced avocados, and cheese.