Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Taco night

We've talked about tacos before, but can you believe it's been over two years since Rachel and I made these? That's because these tacos are made with meat #14 (I think it's called פלדה), which is a hind cut, and hard to find.

I was always under the impression that, in Israel, hind cuts are generally available in most places you go to get meat. This impression was based on the knowledge that Israeli shochtim perform ניקור, the process of removing the גיד הנשה. This is true, but it turns out that the reality is this: hind cuts exist in Israel, but most butcher counters don't have them, and frozen meat sections definitely don't have them.

The reason seems to be that the majority of meat is imported from חוץ לארץ, especially South America. There, the hind quarters are simply sold off to non-Jews, so they don't make it here. I'm pretty sure nearly, if not all frozen meat is imported, and a lot of the fresh meat you see at the counter probably is too.

This week I was told that the only brand that does hind quarters is אדום אדום. I'm sure there are other, boutique ranches (in places like the Golan) that offer hind quarters, but אדום אדום (owned by Tnuva) is the only one you're likely to find in a grocery store nearby; specifically Shufersol, which carries א"א. Even then, not all Shufersol locations will have this cut. If you're in the Haifa area, the one in קניון חיפה carries it.

(Also, if you live in Jerusalem, go to the shuk to find the best variety when it comes to meat. That's where I found sausage casings, and that's where I've seen... um... a whole variety of... cow parts that are not usually found in other places... basically, you can probably find beef #14 somewhere.)

Ok, but what if you want to make tacos and, for one reason or another, you can't get #14? The most important thing is that you get a tender cut of beef. The two most tender cuts that are readily available pretty much everywhere are #1 (entrecote) and #6 (false filet, פילה מדומה). In both cases, ask the butcher to slice the meat thin for you, or do so yourself if you're buying a big frozen piece. To cook, season all over and sear in a hot pan with oil for really just a couple minutes, max, on each side. Slice against the grain into little strips.