Spring is here, which means Summer is right around the bend. Celebrate the upcoming season with a Caribbean-inspired dish of braised, warmly spiced, shredded beef that’s packed into lettuce cups and cooled down with a sweet and zesty fruit salsa.
Caribbean Beef Lettuce Wraps with Pineapple and Mango Salsa
½ pineapple, cored and cut into ½-inch dice or wedges
2 mangos, peeled, pitted, and cut into ½-inch dice
¼ red onion, cut into brunoise dice or minced
½ jalapeno, minced
2 scallions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, minced
In a large bowl, combine the cut pineapple and mango, minced red onion and jalapeno, sliced scallion, white wine vinegar, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Combine these ingredients and allow the salsa to marinate for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to evenly distribute the vinegar.
Stir in the olive oil and minced cilantro before serving the salsa.
1½ pounds boneless short rib, cut into 2-inch cubes
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons curry powder (preferably the West Indian variety)
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced raisins
1 orange, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ jalapeno with seeds
2 to 2½ cups beef stock
2 medium heads red or green leaf lettuce
Preheat an oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gather a large soup pot with a heavy lid. Heat the pot over medium-high heat* and add the beef cubes in a single layer. Work in two batches to spread the meat out and prevent the pieces from steaming. Transfer the browned beef to a medium bowl and season them with the salt and pepper.
*There’s no need to add oil to the pot first because the beef has enough fat marbled through the meat.
Reduce the heat under the pot to low. Add the canola oil to the pot along with the curry powder, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, and minced raisins. Stir the sugar and spice mixture around the pot for 15 to 20 seconds, or until very fragrant.
Squeeze the orange halves into the pot and stir to combine the juice with the spice mixture. Add the minced garlic and jalapeno halves to the pot along with the browned beef and enough beef stock to almost cover the beef.
Place the heavy lid on the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook for 50 minutes then remove the pot’s lid and cook for another 50 minutes. At this point the beef should be tender enough to shred and the sauce will be reduced. Transfer the pot from the oven to the stovetop.
Remove the beef to a shallow bowl or cutting board. Pierce the beef with two forks and shred the meat by pulling the forks away from one another. Add 1 to 1½ cup of the sauce to the meat to moisten it and transfer the lot to a serving bowl. Serve the flavorful beef with lettuce cups and mango salsa.