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Carne en su Jugo

Carne en su Jugo
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  • Carne en su Jugo

    Post #1 - February 26th, 2006, 12:01 pm
    Post #1 - February 26th, 2006, 12:01 pm Post #1 - February 26th, 2006, 12:01 pm
    Image


    My routine was always the same: jump into the car and head to Chicago’s south or west side neighborhoods (Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards) or sometimes an area of the city that I never even knew existed. A warm greeting or at least a smile was usually served up by someone as we entered. After about a ten minute wait, I’d be presented with an enticing bowl of carne en su jugo. This would be my routine for several months in my pursuit of finding great examples of this delicious soup throughout our fair city.

    I was made aware of carne en su jugo by my friend, Antonius, during one of the beefathon outings last year. From my very first bowl, I was immediately taken by its base allure. Carne en su jugo consists of beautiful beef consommé peppered with chopped steak, and normally accompanied by bacon and beans, and garnished with the condiments of radish, avocado, raw onion, and chile de arbol. Being a soup man from way back, this is definitely was my idea of a great dish. I decided that carne en su jugo was worth a bit of research since, strangely enough, I had never noticed it on any menu before in my numerous Northside Mexican dining experiences over the years. Even after my extensive search throughout Chicago for this dish, I was only able to find relatively few examples of this treasure.

    As Antonius points out (on 4/21/05 - Tayahua) “though this dish is primarily associated with the state of Jalisco, one surmises that it is no less popular in the southwestern part of the state of Zacatecas…” Furthermore, it is most likely made in different variations in the neighboring states to Jalisco (i.e. Michoacan, Guanajuato, Nayarit, Aguascalientes, etc.). Some Mexicans I talked to suggested that CESJ could be found throughout Mexico. However, the majority of restaurants serving CESJ in Chicago appear to be coming from the people whose origins are from the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco.

    When one looks at traditional recipes from Mexico itself, the ingredients that go into CESJ are fairly minimal: beef consommé, chopped meat, usually bacon, beans, tomato or tomatillo, chiles, aromatic vegetables (such as onions, celery, scallions, etc), spices. The notable and critical element for many who make the dish is the use of cattle or cow head to make the broth. Although I’m not sure how often head is used in Mexican restaurants today, I was told by Mexicans from the area that it is a common practice, even today, to make the consommé with the head in one’s home in Mexico and even here in the U.S. According to some chefs I talked with, the broth comes out much richer this way as opposed to preparing a bone-based stock. Unfortunately, of the several restaurants I tried this dish at in Chicago, not one used this technique. I believe the primary reason for this has more to do with the time constraints for preparation (about 3-5 hours) than any economic or aesthetic considerations.

    As an alternative to the head, the soup’s base ingredients used in most places here in Chicago would be made either with meat or bones or sometimes even organs, and then further reinforced with bouillon, aromatic vegetables, steak, bacon, and beans.

    As I found out, the biggest variable to a good version of CESJ had more to do with whether a place made a homemade consommé or just some sort of flash stock using mostly bouillon, thus leaving the addition of chopped steak at the end to add a jolt of beef flavor. Luckily, most places made an attempt to make some sort of homemade broth. The biggest question being to what degree did they reinforce that stock with (granulated) bouillon, if at all? One restaurant claimed to make a vegetarian stock from guayillo peppers and got its rather weak beefy element strictly from adding chopped steak later (Taqueria Trespasada).

    After the trying several bowls, it became apparent that overly salty soups were the victim of an overdose of bouillon. Obviously, these were the least desirable versions.


    Techniques

    There are 4 general cooking techniques that appear to be used as far as the meat is concerned:

    1) Cattle head is used to make the broth. The cooked head meat is then shredded and added to the finished product. I never got a chance to try carne en su jugo made from the head of a cow but I’m anxious when that day comes.

    2) Another method is the way my Mexican friend makes their family’s version in Aguascalientes, which is to create a beef stock from aguayon (rump or sirloin steak). The cooked meat is then chopped and browned and used in the finished soup. (I’ll refer to this method as “stewed” later on). The trouble with this method, in my opinion, is that much of the meat’s natural juices have been extracted, rendering the meat usually fairly flavorless since most of its natural flavors were used to season the broth. If you’ve tried your share of various other Mexican dishes, such as barbacoa or birria tacos, you know that often times the meat being used is nothing more than spent stew meat that has been chopped up and served to you for a flavorless dining experience. However, I’m pretty sure that there are some nice bowls of carne en su jugo being made in this fashion around town (possibly Amenecer Tapatio?). I was told by the owner at Taco Mex (10675 S. Torrence) that this second method of creating a broth from meat and then using that same meat in the finished product was the most traditional method in Jalisco. Whether this is accurate or not, I cannot say for certain.

    3) A homemade stock is made, and the meat/bone used to create the stock, is discarded. Later, a fresh piece of steak is grilled, or sometimes poached to order and added to the stock. This often times turned out to be how my favorite versions of carne en su jugo are made. Since not only was a homemade stock being made, but that it was being further reinforced with a steak that is carmelized, adding either more wonderful beefiness to the soup without the loss of its meaty essence. (Mandrake…)

    4) A “stock” can be made strictly from bouillon and/or aromatic vegetables and then reinforced with the added chopped steak. Hopefully, you’ll not experience too many of these since they were attempts that made this endeavor, at times, a burden.

    I believe that prevalent methods used in Mexico today are the first two methods. The addition of steak after creating the beef broth using either method, as in the third approach, would appear to me to be too expensive for people of modest means since they would need to use two different cuts of meat instead of just one. The thought that a thrifty home cook would discard the used stew meat seems highly unlikely or downright implausible. However, I believe that this third method is the most common here in Chicago.

    Places that use this approach will sometimes marinate or baste their meat before directly adding it to the soup. More commonly than not, though, places usually just add the chopped steak without any enhancing whatsoever.
    Both methods of grilling or stewing are common around town. Sometimes, however, it is difficult to ascertain whether a place poached or grilled their steak. Either a place didn’t grill the steak long enough to create carmelization due to expediency, or it was the same stock meat.
    Other places failed to grill a piece of frozen (?) steak long enough to make a difference. All but one of my favorite places grilled their steak versus poached it or used stewed meat (Amanecer Tapatio).

    The bacon, too, could either be grilled or poached in the soup. I preferred the grilled, crispy versions. Many of the recipes from Mexico do not contain bacon at all. My guess is that, like adding a grilled steak after creating a stock as is common here in Chicago, bacon is a relatively expensive item. Most likely, aguayon is initially browned with inexpensive suet or pork fat when starting a consommé, ultimately giving the CESJ the pork element that bacon usually creates. Recipes using cow head sometimes bypass any use of bacon.

    A number of varieties of pinto beans are most commonly used in carne en su jugo. Although, as ReneG pointed out, Amanecer Tapatio appeared to use a yellow bean called peruano mayacoba which they served on the side.
    However, it’s not so much what kind of bean, but rather, how the beans are integrated into the final product that’s of interest. Some places clearly thickened their consommés with beans early in its construction by either processing it directly or simply cooking them in the soup for an extended period of time, thus thickening the soup (Taqueria Sanchez Bros & La Cecina). After the soup is contructed with steak, bacon, and beans, it is usually garnished with radish, avocado, raw onion, cilantro, and chile de arbol, either already in the soup or served on the side.


    Variations


    Not unlike its more recognizable cousin, Pozole, there are three variations of CESJ: green, red, and clear. The green variety is the base beef consommé with a green vegetable, usually tomatillo and/or jalapenos pureed into it. The green style is a signature of Guadalajara and is less often seen outside that city.

    The red style gets its color from processed guajillo peppers or some other red chile. I’m not quite sure where the red version is most commonly found but my suspicions are that it is more often found in the rural outlying areas in Jalisco and possibly its adjacent states. This is strictly a guess. (I only found this red version at Taqueria Trespasada.)

    The most common style found in Chicago is known as “clear” CESJ. This is basically just brown-based beef consommé without any significant coloration caused by such vegetables as chiles (green or red), heavy use of red tomatoes, tomatillos, or processed herbs such as cilantro or sometimes even parsley. This isn’t meant to suggest that none of these ingredients are used but are certainly not a main feature of the broth.

    Since a language barrier existed from my very first taqueria, and would basically continue through many of the places that I would try, I knew that gathering detailed information about this regional Mexican dish would be a challenge to say the least. Only about half of the folks I met spoke anything resembling English. Often times I couldn’t tell whether the conflicting accounts were due to poor translation or just regional differences in the dish. However, after trying several versions of carne en su jugo, certain facts naturally came to light.

    I have spent approximately three months now combing through Chicago’s predominately Latino neighborhoods looking for every lead that could result in finding a bowl of carne en su jugo. Although I have tested several places that serve this wonderful dish (mostly on the South and west sides), I’m sure that there are a number of other taquerias throughout the city that quietly create their own unique versions for the enjoyment of their local citizenry.

    The following chart describes what I think are some of the more significant characteristics about each particular version of carne en su jugo as well as my personal opinion of its quality.


    Image

    Image
    (Graphics by trixie-pea)

    I have selected a few of these places that I found either outstanding examples or had a particular factor that made it worthy of further discussion.

    For whatever it is worth, I believe either Los Gallos locations on Archer would be considered my most desirable CESJ, very closely followed by Los Tres Gallos in Melrose Park.

    Many of these places I have tried at least twice, especially if they produced a CESJ that I thought were good enough to recommend to my fellow LTHers. I think the only place mentioned above that was a decent version without a retry was Amanecer Tapatio in Joliet.

    Unfortunately, I had a few questions that went unanswered even though I asked many people about them; such things as what variety of carne en su jugo (red, green, or clear) is prevalent in which regions of Mexico, whether bacon is normally used in traditional Mexican recipes or which cooking techniques are most commonly used in Mexican homes today. For these questions, I often got conflicting answers from different sources and found that to be both interesting and a bit distressing. One thing I found quite common, though, was that virtually everybody that I talked to in these taquerias seemed quite fascinated that a non-Mexican would find learning about carne en su jugo an interesting enough pursuit. Though many of the younger Mexicans that were most likely born here in the United States seemed truly curious about some of these questions themselves but just didn’t have the answers. Some actually had enough interest about my questions to ask elders who might have some answers and even offered to get back to me. My initial goal of finding the best bowl of carne en su jugo became secondary to familiarizing myself with these wonderful people who run these taquerias and their neighborhoods.

    As I am nothing more than an enthusiast and certainly no authority, all feedback about any particulars on carne en su jugo would be greatly appreciated from those who have any knowledge or insights about this wonderful dish.

    Thank you, Antonius and Vital information for providing me with information about carne en su jugo from your past posts, both here and on other food sites as well as in person.
    Most of all, thanks to ReneG for making this pursuit more than just a “research” project but a sensationally great time. By having him accompany me on several CESJ outings throughout the last few months, I was able to have many wonderful and very informative conversations about his many discoveries of Chicago’s culinary world as well as its history. It is always a pleasure for those who are fortunate enough to be around him to learn a tremendous amount about some of the lesser talked-about neighborhoods of our city’s south and west sides. He is truly a wealth of knowledge, both in a culinary sense, and otherwise.


    NOTES


    Taqueria Tayahua 2411 S. Western Ave

    After trying this CESJ on several occasions, I have to say that it continues to grow on me. I liked it from the start, but as time goes on, it keeps gathering momentum. Its overall quality and proportions of ingredients I find quite pleasing.
    Tayahua's has a wonderful homemade broth with excellent balance to it. The bacon element is pronounced in the soup but since its consommé is good on its own, it doesn't conquer your palate which so often happens with lesser versions elsewhere. The soup is slightly salty and, on this occasion, I believe it’s from the bacon and not added bouillon.
    The bacon isn't overly crisped but still quite nice.
    Steak is grilled.
    Visually, it has an orange appearance from mostly if not all red tomato as well as onion (clear).
    There is no hint of tomatillo in this soup.
    Slightly sauteed onions adds a nice feature to the soup. Lots of pintos.
    Heavy on the usual condiments (radish, cilantro,chile de arbol, avocado). Already in the soup as well as on the side.
    Overall, a very pleasant CESJ.

    (CESJ Served daily)


    Amanecer Tapatio 573 Collins St. (Joliet)

    A minimalist version of CESJ (green).
    The only things in this carne en su jugo were the basic broth (with tomatillo), beans, meat, and bacon. NO condiments whatsoever served (cilantro, radish, raw onion, avocado, or chile de arbol). A white bean variety served on the side (mayacoba). A beautiful homemade broth lacking any oiliness. Very clean . Rich on the palate. Mildly salty suggesting to me absolutely no reinforcement. Poached bacon gave bold additional flavors to the soup. The meat, like the bacon, was also either stewed or poached in the broth. I suspect that this was stewed meat from the making of the broth. Possibly a more authentic version than most attempts in Chicago?
    This was a wonderful base for a CESJ. However, because it was missing so many crucial ingredients, I couldn't help but feel somewhat shortchanged.

    (Served periodically – call first)



    Taqueria Los Altos 1848 W. 47th St.

    Definitely tastes of a homemade broth quality. If they use bouillon, it would be sparingly. Actually talked with the owner quickly. She said that they start with plain water and build a flash consomme with the usually added ingredients (bacon, grilled meat, aromatics). I find this hard to believe (maybe poor translation?).
    Unlike some of the other neighborhood versions, this was a more usual thin consommé probably due to the lack of processed vegetables into the consommé. No bacon used at all. Since the broth was wonderful on its own, it actually took me half a bowl to realize that this was the case, which I believe says a lot about how much I was enjoying it. Again, possibly a more authentic Mexican version?
    ReneG noted that the beans were mushy and had been overcooked since many of them had exploded.
    Nicely grilled small pieces of steak. The best CESJ I have tried in the back-of-the-yards neighborhood. I'm not quite sure Peter felt the same way about this soup at all.
    Enjoyable and certainly above average but not at the highest levels.

    (Serves CESJ only on Saturdays & Sundays)

    Los Tres Gallos 112 N. Broadway (Melrose Park)

    Another apparent homemade broth. Thin version. Definitely little if no bouillon element. Talked to the owner for a bit. Said he was from Jalisco but never made CESJ until he came to the U.S. He noted that the broth was entirely made from bones. Uses a little tomatillo, red tomato, as well as celery, jalapenos, and garlic. Marginally salty but certainly acceptable. He claims that no additives were used at all. The broth is a clean, beef flavor with no other dominant flavors present, including the bacon. Although they use tomatillos, this CESJ wasn’t green in appearance (clear). Beans seem to be added at last minute. Since they did add them late, they didn’t thicken the soup at all. Firm pintos. No spice element at all. Chile de arbol, if used, was very hard to detect. No chiles served on the side: just raw onion, lime, and cilantro. Nicely crisped bacon definitely an asset to the natural broth. Well grilled small pieces of meat with a nice chew. I’m not sure if the added steak reinforced their broth much since they are starting with such a wonderful stock already. Outstanding.

    (Served daily)



    Taqueria #1 Traspasada 3144 N. California Avenue

    One of the real nightmare examples of CESJ (Red). From the time you are served the soup to the bitter end (whenever that might be), it never ceased to amaze me at its utter atrociousness. The soup arrives like a mess. Firey red from the use of guayillo peppers. There is no trace of beef stock in the consommé whatsoever. This is nothing more than a super red watery vegetable soup with mealy, tasteless inedible steak added. Bacon is added at the last second, making its influence on the broth superfluous.
    A number of other places would fare much worse than Trespasada.
    Since it is a restaurant talked about, I felt I should let it be known to northsiders that might try it out to stay clear of their CESJ.

    (Served daily)



    Taco Mex 10658 S. Torrence Avenue

    Talked to the owner at length and said that his broth is homemade (wouldn’t give me the details) and that he processes both the tomatillos as well as jalapenos finely, to give it its green appearance. He also stated that the typical color of Jaliscan CESJ is green and that red most likely came from areas outside Guadalajara and possibly other adjacent states to Jalisco. As is to be expected, the broth was spicy and had a certain dried spiced element to it as well as being just a bit salty. He said that the broth was made totally from scratch but I question that due to the saltiness. This is not to suggest gross oversalting but it was certainly apparent. An interesting facet of this version of CESJ is that the soup took on a slightly sweet character (possibly from a basting ingredient he uses with the meat). As I was eating, I kept thinking that epazote was the dominant dried spice but he denied it. He mentioned that he bastes the meat (aguayon) and poaches it directly in the consommé to reinforce the existing stock. He was surprised that other places often grill their steak( more than half did).
    Whole sautéed scallions accompanied the soup. Long strips of lightly grilled bacon and average–sized chopped meat. Small amount of pintos.
    He talked about the use of suet being used in place of bacon in Mexico because of cost considerations and that, most likely, using bacon as an ingredient there came from the Mexican-Americans versions made here. He still thinks most of the CESJ’s there don’t use bacon.
    As far as the use of cattle head in the U.S restaurants, he would be surprised if any place cooks CESJ from the cattle head because of time constraints. He said it takes about 3-5 hours to make a consommé from head which is more labor intensive than making a bone/organ based stock. He personally thought that you can make an equally good version just with bones or organs. He did say that the use of cattle head will make a richer and thicker soup, quite different than anything you’ll find in a restaurant. He believes that Mexicans who make CESJ at home often times still use cattle head.

    On my second try a few weeks later (with TonyC & ReneG), I found the broth to be way too salty; basically overwhelming the soup. The poached or stewed meat was quite unappetizing as well as having very mushy beans. I didn’t enjoy this bowl at all. The whole strips of poached bacon bordered on gross. I clearly disliked this retry.
    (Served daily)


    Los Gallos (#1 at 4211 W. 26th St., #2 at 4252 S. Archer, #3 at 6220 S. Archer)

    Beautiful consommé (clear) with a strictly beefy flavor only. Thin and clean but quite flavorful. No apparent bouillon characteristics at all. No spiciness to the broth at all. Mildly salty but enjoyable. Even after finishing the entire bowl, I wasn’t parched which is so often the case.
    A large quantity of grilled steak was used.The bacon was extra crispy.
    The bacon was definitely added at the last minute because the broth didn’t take on any of the bacon flavors.
    Could not see or taste either red tomato or tomatillo.

    I talked briefly with the owners and they claim that their recipe at all 3 of locations is exactly the same. I find this interesting since I enjoyed the bowls at the Archer locations significantly more than their 26th St. location, which I found fairly unmemorable (only tries once).
    They also said that they make the consommé strictly from whole rump roast (aguayon).
    No artificial additives (adobo, suizon, etc). Beautiful broth flavors. Clean. A hint of onion in the consommé.
    Super crispy bacon bits. Steak very well grilled, cut into small pieces. Chewy but very flavorful meat. Outstanding proportion of ingredients. Not too many pintos (added at last minute since they are completely intact and the soup wasn’t thickened in the least from their starches.
    Highly Recommend the Archer Locations.
    (Served daily)
    Last edited by PIGMON on November 3rd, 2011, 7:36 am, edited 4 times in total.
  • Post #2 - February 26th, 2006, 1:16 pm
    Post #2 - February 26th, 2006, 1:16 pm Post #2 - February 26th, 2006, 1:16 pm
    This. Is awesome.

    Of course, now you've raised the bar so high, I'll expect you to create a report/chart of this nature for various other foods as well. When can we expect the sukiyaki report? The hot and sour soup report? Do you need any assistants?
    Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
  • Post #3 - February 26th, 2006, 1:29 pm
    Post #3 - February 26th, 2006, 1:29 pm Post #3 - February 26th, 2006, 1:29 pm
    PIGMON,

    An excellent post and a sincerely great read. You are to be commended for your dedication to this facinating endeavor, and we're all richer from your efforts. I'm sorry you had to eat at eight different places that we should "avoid at all costs"

    I'm surprised that the verde base is so uncommon, since it is hardly a stretch for a pozoleria to use similar techniques for this dish. I guess you just stick to what you know.

    While I was reading your post I came up with a few questions, only to find them answered after I kept reading. Again, nice work.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #4 - February 26th, 2006, 2:19 pm
    Post #4 - February 26th, 2006, 2:19 pm Post #4 - February 26th, 2006, 2:19 pm
    Pigmon, bro, a tour de force, absolutely knock-out breaktaking review. Thanks for this landmark contribution to our community of fanatical eaters and talkers.

    I was very surprised that within the relative confines of this dish, there is such variation (Grilled bologna?!).

    Of the bowls I've had, I guess I like the first bowl I ever had best. It was at Los Tres Gallos with VI and dickson maybe two or more years ago, but I still recall the "clean" flavor you describe and the crisp bacon.

    Glad you finished this up while it's still, more or less, soup season.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #5 - February 26th, 2006, 3:17 pm
    Post #5 - February 26th, 2006, 3:17 pm Post #5 - February 26th, 2006, 3:17 pm
    Pigmon, Phd, CESJ

    Now I know what to have for a Fat Tuesday late lunch Tuesday while I am killing time before the LTH Cajun Charlie's Fat Tuesday feast. From the latter part of your post I will have to choose between the Archer street locations of Los Gallos or the Los Tes Gallos in Melrose Park.

    An outstanding work of culinary research, in fact your post is deserving of a presentation at a future Oxford Symposium.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #6 - February 26th, 2006, 3:23 pm
    Post #6 - February 26th, 2006, 3:23 pm Post #6 - February 26th, 2006, 3:23 pm
    Fantastic job. There is a place up the street from me that often has a sign for Carne en Su Jugo out front. I guess it is one of their specialties. I have never tried it, and even if I did, I would have had no point of reference for judging its quality or authenticity. Now I do. Thanks.
  • Post #7 - February 26th, 2006, 5:28 pm
    Post #7 - February 26th, 2006, 5:28 pm Post #7 - February 26th, 2006, 5:28 pm
    :!: :!: :!: :D :D :D

    Triple Wow. I have not had even close to enough time to savor this post, but savor I will.

    And yes, how much does the laminated CESJ chart cost. I'll take one thank you very much.

    Rob
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #8 - February 26th, 2006, 5:55 pm
    Post #8 - February 26th, 2006, 5:55 pm Post #8 - February 26th, 2006, 5:55 pm
    I stand in complete awe, mouth agape, drool pooling. Further words fail me.

    -ramon
  • Post #9 - February 26th, 2006, 6:16 pm
    Post #9 - February 26th, 2006, 6:16 pm Post #9 - February 26th, 2006, 6:16 pm
    Pigmon,

    Remarkable, simply remarkable.

    Both you, and Trixie-Pea for her assist, deserve praise, thanks and a 55-gal drum of extra strength tums.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #10 - February 26th, 2006, 7:00 pm
    Post #10 - February 26th, 2006, 7:00 pm Post #10 - February 26th, 2006, 7:00 pm
    Pigmon --

    a great project and a beautiful writeup. You've taught us all a lot about this dish and its variations.

    Somehow, I think your top spots are going to see an increase in their carne en su jugo sales over the next few days... :)

    Thanks again to you, and to trixie-pea.

    Amata

    p.s. could you tell us which photo corresponds to which restaurant?
  • Post #11 - February 26th, 2006, 7:17 pm
    Post #11 - February 26th, 2006, 7:17 pm Post #11 - February 26th, 2006, 7:17 pm
    Wow! :shock:

    An incredible amount of research and detail went into this post, and I am amazed at the detail you were able to provide. Now the rest of us just have to look at the chart and decide which to try.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this obvious labor of love.

    Suzy
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #12 - February 26th, 2006, 10:17 pm
    Post #12 - February 26th, 2006, 10:17 pm Post #12 - February 26th, 2006, 10:17 pm
    Amata wrote: could you tell us which photo corresponds to which restaurant?


    Sure Amata,

    1st row: Amenecer Tapatio, el Barzon, el Paso #1, Gorditas Tonala
    2nd row: La Cecina, Taq. el Gallo #2, Taq. el Gallo #3, Tres Gallos
    3rd row: Oscar’s, Taco Mex, Taq. Trespasada #1, el Tapatio #2
    4th row: Taq. Sanchez Brothers, Taq. Altos, Taq. Tayahua, el Taco Veloz

    .............

    Thanks, everyone, for all the more than kind words.
  • Post #13 - February 27th, 2006, 11:29 am
    Post #13 - February 27th, 2006, 11:29 am Post #13 - February 27th, 2006, 11:29 am
    Rob - simply excellent. Thanks for the time and effort that obviously went into making such an informative and helpful post.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #14 - February 27th, 2006, 1:44 pm
    Post #14 - February 27th, 2006, 1:44 pm Post #14 - February 27th, 2006, 1:44 pm
    I'm glad that the only one I have tried (at El Taco Veloz) is a winner. I really enjoyed it... glad to know that it's a good representative of the genre, since it's right around the corner!
  • Post #15 - February 27th, 2006, 11:24 pm
    Post #15 - February 27th, 2006, 11:24 pm Post #15 - February 27th, 2006, 11:24 pm
    Ah yes,this dish is worth all the attention to detail you have given it pigmon,I've had gallons of the CESJ (not in one seating). :lol:
    On many saturday mornings I've taken a drive to 26th and keeler where the original LOS GALLOS TAQUERIA is located,their CESJ is the best I've had,people wanting to take some of it home,wait around 15 minutes for a gallon or two of this delicious dish,however,my first plato of CESJ came from a well known restaurant west of california on 26th st, called LA kermes.Having lived in one the southern states of Mexico for about 15 years, I never encountered this dish until moving to chicago.
    Friends of mine from Jalisco have always known of CESJ,south of that in Michoacan,it is known but not by the vast majority,at any rate,I'm glad I'm only a ten minute drive from a plate full of CESJ.

    P.S. LA KERMES CESJ is a very close second according to my palate.
    P.S.2 First time in the forum.
  • Post #16 - February 28th, 2006, 5:31 am
    Post #16 - February 28th, 2006, 5:31 am Post #16 - February 28th, 2006, 5:31 am
    TAVO wrote:Ah yes,this dish is worth all the attention to detail you have given it pigmon,I've had gallons of the CESJ (not in one seating). :lol:
    On many saturday mornings I've taken a drive to 26th and keeler where the original LOS GALLOS TAQUERIA is located,their CESJ is the best I've had,people wanting to take some of it home,wait around 15 minutes for a gallon or two of this delicious dish,however,my first plato of CESJ came from a well known restaurant west of california on 26th st, called LA kermes.Having lived in one the southern states of Mexico for about 15 years, I never encountered this dish until moving to chicago.
    Friends of mine from Jalisco have always known of CESJ,south of that in Michoacan,it is known but not by the vast majority,at any rate,I'm glad I'm only a ten minute drive from a plate full of CESJ.

    P.S. LA KERMES CESJ is a very close second according to my palate.
    P.S.2 First time in the forum.


    TAVO,

    First of all, welcome to LTH. After reading your very first post and its contribution, I very much look forward to hearing from you often.
    When I was working on this post, my number one objective was to try and tap into those with REAL knowledge about carne en su jugo; those that grew up in or around Jalisco or live in the neighborhoods where it is often found in Chicago. It certainly sounds like you fit this description.
    At this point, I cannot express enough how excited I get when someone informs me of another great example of this dish.
    I’m pretty sure I’ll be trying “LA kermes” as soon as possible.

    Thanks so much…..and keep writing!
  • Post #17 - February 28th, 2006, 8:50 am
    Post #17 - February 28th, 2006, 8:50 am Post #17 - February 28th, 2006, 8:50 am
    Rob:

    What a beautifully researched and presented study. Though I will be writing in again with a more substantive reaction to your excellent piece (work has kept me away for the last several days), I just wanted to express my appreciation for it and for your effort now.

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #18 - February 28th, 2006, 5:04 pm
    Post #18 - February 28th, 2006, 5:04 pm Post #18 - February 28th, 2006, 5:04 pm
    Thanks for the great post! I joined GWiv and Bruce for a bowl today at the 4252 Archer location. Gary will be by shortly with pics I'm sure :) I started out with a tostada de ceviche while Bruce and I waited for Gary to arrive. Delicious, fresh and sweet fish in a perfect proportion to the vegetables.

    The CESJ was an eye opening experience. I thought I had tasted it before but I was so so wrong. Beefy and rich with the bacon giving just the right level of smoky accent. I was particularly taken with the large container of escabeche at each table. The pickled carrots, cauliflower and ESPECIALLY the whole heads of pickled garlic made the dish even better. I could munch on that garlic all day!

    Thanks again for such an informative post, you've added to my short list of must have dishes in Chicago.
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
  • Post #19 - February 28th, 2006, 5:52 pm
    Post #19 - February 28th, 2006, 5:52 pm Post #19 - February 28th, 2006, 5:52 pm
    There’s really not much to say after that staggeringly good post. I’ll only add a few random comments and some pictures. Of the many restaurants Pigmon tried (and he went to many more than once) I tried only a fraction: Altos, Amanecer Tapatio, El Barzon, Los Gallos #2, Taco Mex, El Taco Veloz, Traspasada, and Tayahua. Only on Taco Mex do we have substantial disagreement, almost certainly because we sampled different bowls on different days.

    Amanecer Tapatio
    Image
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    I tried their CESJ twice, over a year apart, and they were quite different versions. I only have pictures of the second, much greener batch. They brought onion, cilantro, and limes, but only after a request. We were there just before Christmas so I wonder if some of the staff might have been at home (our other two dishes were nothing special, unusual for Amanecer). Still, a very respectable bowl. I look forward to trying their CESJ again.

    El Barzon
    El Barzon served a pleasant enough version. The beans were somewhat unusual, like a very small, dark kidney bean.

    Los Gallos #2
    Image
    Image
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    Image
    I think Los Gallos (#1 on 26th) is one of the oldest and best-known vendors of CESJ in Chicago. I believe the owners are from Guanajuato. An excellent bowl, classic in its apparent simplicity. Each component is distinct but meshes perfectly with the others. This would probably be my suggestion if you are only going to try one version. I’ve had a few other things from Los Gallos, all decent but CESJ is the standout. Some of the better jalapeños en escabeche I’ve come across also.

    Taco Mex
    Image
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    I only tried their CESJ once and liked it a lot, my favorite of the greens. A very spicy broth. I regret not sampling the bowl that Pigmon and TonyC shared but this was late in the day after two big bowls of birria and I can’t remember what else. Leaving aside the CESJ, Taco Mex is now a favorite of mine and I’ll try to post more on it soon.

    El Taco Veloz
    A very good bowl, similar in style to Los Gallos.

    Traspasada
    Image
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    This is not a good version, with a salty insipid broth. Let me emphasize that there are better dishes at Traspasada, especially a not-on-the-menu offering of braised “heart and other things.”

    Tayahua
    Image
    Image
    I think I’d tend to put Tayahua’s in the red category, where it would be my favorite of that variety. I only tried one bowl but found the bacon fairly dominating (not necessarily a bad thing) and lightly cooked.

    Get out there and try some carne en su jugo! And don’t just stick with the safe, approved, “best” versions. There are many dozens of other places and lots of great bowls yet to be sampled. I’m looking forward to hearing about many more.
  • Post #20 - March 1st, 2006, 9:49 pm
    Post #20 - March 1st, 2006, 9:49 pm Post #20 - March 1st, 2006, 9:49 pm
    Pigmon, amazing post!

    PIGMON wrote:The notable and critical element for many who make the dish is the use of cattle or cow head to make the broth. Although I’m not sure how often head is used in Mexican restaurants today, I was told by Mexicans from the area that it is a common practice, even today, to make the consommé with the head in one’s home in Mexico and even here in the U.S. According to some chefs I talked with, the broth comes out much richer this way as opposed to preparing a bone-based stock. Unfortunately, of the several restaurants I tried this dish at in Chicago, not one used this technique. I believe the primary reason for this has more to do with the time constraints for preparation (about 3-5 hours) than any economic or aesthetic considerations.


    It's unfortunate that stock is not made from the head. I've seen heads for sale at the meat counter (at Pete's) and at least one sign declaring tacos de cabeza al vapor. The time constraint reason then is rather unfortunate and puzzling.
    On a related note, I was wondering if you (and others) could inform how the CESJ is different from birria, which IINM is a 'stew'. Wouldn't something like birria de barbacoa (or are they two separate items?) then be a closely related dish (especially if it is barbacoa de cabeza)?

    Thanks again for this treasure of a post!
  • Post #21 - March 2nd, 2006, 8:06 am
    Post #21 - March 2nd, 2006, 8:06 am Post #21 - March 2nd, 2006, 8:06 am
    Sazerac,

    There is quite a bit somewhere around here regarding birria. In a nutshell, birria involves a relatively strict procedure in which the meat (us. goat, but not always) is "steamed" with a small amount of liquid in a large, sealed container. At one time I had a link to a Mexican government cultural site that had a very old recipe with detailed instructions on the arrangement of animal parts in the cooking vessel, which would be set on a fire outdoors after being sealed with masa. The consomme part of birria is sort of a byproduct of the process that is often spiced and "beefed up" after the meat is cooked. It is often served on the side.

    Anyway, as I understand it, CESJ is much more of a "composed" dish, in which the ingredients are added together fairly late in the process. Of course, to the extent the broth might come from steaming a cabeza de vaca, there is a connection. But the meat itself is not, as far as I know, cooked this way.
  • Post #22 - March 2nd, 2006, 8:30 am
    Post #22 - March 2nd, 2006, 8:30 am Post #22 - March 2nd, 2006, 8:30 am
    sazerac wrote:On a related note, I was wondering if you (and others) could inform how the CESJ is different from birria, which IINM is a 'stew'. Wouldn't something like birria de barbacoa (or are they two separate items?) then be a closely related dish (especially if it is barbacoa de cabeza)?


    The consommé is a by-product of the moist roasting process for birria and barbacoa. CESJ is in origins a further use of the consommé that is produced by making barbacoa from cabeza de res, as discussed by Pigmon above.

    On birria and barbacoa, I offer the following longish citation of myself, the original post of which is buried in the Birrieria Reyes de Ocotlán thread.
    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=3639

    Antonius

    ***

    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=31497#31497
    Antonius wrote:Basic Point:
    Within Mexican cuisine, birria is regarded as a form of barbacoa, a status which reflects the fact that birria shares the same basic cooking method used to prepare barbacoa: these dishes are, to use Bayless’ term, moist roasted: Birria is not braised and the primary association of barbacoa in Mexican cuisine is not with dry roasting.

    *****

    Antonius wrote:For those who haven't had this dish or don't know anything of it, it is goat (chivo) or mutton (borrego) cooked by roughly the same method as is used in making barbacoa, that is, at least traditionally, baked in an underground pit or otherwise in a very tightly sealed vessel. Bayless refers to this method as "moist roasting." [emphasis added]


    extramsg wrote:My understanding is that barbacoa is traditionally roasted (although wrapped in leaves) whereas birria is traditionlly braised. (And, of course, there's also the barbacoa which is a head that's steamed.)


    My understanding of the relationship between barbacoa and birria is that traditionally they do indeed involve roughly the selfsame cooking method and, moreover, that to a degree the two terms can be seen as different regional names for analogous (though not identical) dishes. This last point needs to be qualified in the above manner because there are variations along several parameters which do not wholly conform to a simple and neat division between barbacoa on the one hand and birria on the other. Let me elaborate on this point:

    Regarding Mexican cuisine(s) as a whole, one can with justification say that birria is a term used in (roughly speaking) West-Central Mexico that refers to a style of meat preparation more generally known across the country as barbacoa; in other words, birria is the regional name for a form of barbacoa that is popular in West-Central Mexico. This term “West-Central Mexico” I happily borrow from Rick Bayless (1987: 22), who uses it as the appellation for one of six basic culinary regions into which he divides Mexico; his divisions are quite well considered (see the footnote, p. 22-3, and the map, p.24) and to my mind highly useful.

    In specific connexion to the relationship between barbacoa and birria, Bayless (1987) states the following:

    R. Bayless wrote: (p. 240-1) “...[K]id plays a role as well in barbacoa, pit cooked meat that has been wrapped in aromatic leaves and set on a rack over simmering broth. In Central Mexico, large open-air restaurants still cook maguey-wrapped lamb in brick pits and serve it with a salsa borracha of pasilla peppers and pulque... But in most areas , the method has evolved away from the pit: In the West-Central states, lamb or kid is chile-marinated and slow-roasted on a rack in a sealed container (birria they call it)...”
    (p. 256) “Birria is the West-central cousin of the Central barbacoa –– the special-occasion, pit-cooked lamb in maguey ‘leaves’. And for the most flavourful version of birria, lamb or goat is spread with chile paste and baked tightly covered to roast amd steam in its juices...


    While my understanding of the relationship between barbacoa and birria has been in part informed by Bayless’ comments on the subject, I also based my comments in the original post on information gathered from the reading of a wide number of sources in Spanish. From reading of recipes for various dishes called either barbacoa or birria, it has become clear to me that both names can involve pit-roasting or roasting in a sealed vessel on a rack and out of direct contact with any liquid present. To my mind, the requirement that the meat be out of contact with any liquid renders the term “braising” inappropriate as a description of the basic cooking method involved in preparing barbacoa and birria. Note too that the use of maguey leaves is found in recipes bearing both names but also is left out of others. For example, a recipe we have for birria de chivo y de res from the State of Nayarit uses only a chile paste rub and no maguey leaves (so too Bayless’ recipe for birria de chivo o de carnero (1987: 256-7)), whereas recipes for the classic birria estilo Jalisco generally include the use of maguey.

    To further support my claim that birria “is goat (chivo) or mutton (borrego) cooked by roughly the same method as is used in making barbacoa” I call attention to the following citations:

    _______________________________________
    http://www.mexgrocer.com/glossary.html

    Barbacoa: Meat cooked in an underground pit, usually wrapped in banana or agave leaves.

    Birria Jalisco's barbacoa specialty. Usually made from lamb or goat, or a combination of both.

    _______________________________________
    http://www.gestialba.com/public/recetas ... astb01.htm

    Birria. Especialmente en Jalisco, birria es una especie de barbacoa de chivo, borrego o puerco. Se cocina a vapor, y para ello hay dos métodos. uno, poner hojas de maguey y en la parte inferior de la olla para que el líquido no toque la carne; y el otro, utilizar una rejilla en la olla con el mismo objeto.
    _______________________________________

    http://www.pulsoslp.com.mx/Impulso/VerA ... &NP=8&rsu=

    La barbacoa es eso, un sistema de cocción en el que la carne no tiene contacto directo con el fuego, sólo con el calor de la tierra, sin mezclar líquido alguno que pueda hacerle perder parte de su sustancia y sabor...
    ...La birria, uno de los platillos más populares en Jalisco, también está hecha con barbacoa de borrego o chivo servida en un caldo de chile y jitomate.

    _______________________________________

    So then, does this mean I think barbacoa and birria are different names for the same thing or that I think they are prepared in exactly the same way? No. Birria, especially in the very famous style of Jalisco, is cooked in the presence of liquid (but not braised!) and the liquid is ultimately turned into a savoury broth (Spanish consomé) which is then typically (though not necessarily) served with the meat. The greater quantity of liquid present in the roasting pit (or vessel) and the serving of the mean in brodo is not characteristic of many or most recipes or regional varieties of barbacoa BUT there are, I believe, regional “barbacoas” which do involve such broth and, though at the moment, I can’t remember where I’ve seen such a recipe (perhaps it was one from Aguascalientes), I did just come across the following passage from Diana Kennedy’s Recipes from the regional Cooks of Mexico (1978: 118-9):

    Diana Kennedy wrote:Meat cooked en barbacoa is Sunday food in Mexico, and varies tremendously from region to region. The word barbacoa refers to pit barbecuing; meat cooked on stakes over a wood fire is called carne asada al pastor... There are specialists who dedicate themselves to this pit barbequing, as it takes a great deal of preparation and long cooking. Perhaps the most popularly known barbacoa is that of central Mexico –– the states of Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, and Mexico –– where the unseasoned meat, usually mutton, is cooked in a pit lined with maguey leaves... [b]A metal pan is placed under the meat to collect the juices, which are served separately in small cups as consomé de barbacoa; thick, rich, and tasty, this is almost the best part.


    Quite obviously, this dish of central Mexico, despite various differences of details, is in all basic ways prepared like the famous birria of Jalisco in West-Central Mexico.

    To sum up: barbacoa and birria both involve roasting in a tightly closed space, either in a pit or a sealed vessel. Both may involve the wrapping of the meat in maguey leaves. Birria is, however, generally roasted in the presence of a certain quantity of liquid which serves as the basis of a broth with which the meat is served. Barbacoa, it seems to me, typically involves the presence of some liquid (often just water, for the moist element of the moist roasting) and may be (regionally) but is not necessarily accompanied by a broth. I would then suggest that these terms can be regarded in the following semantic continuum:

    1 *“barbacoa” = dry roasting (aberrant or marginal usage)
    2 “barbacoa” = moist roasting, sometimes with broth (normal usage)
    3 “birria” = moist roasting, typically with broth (normal usage)
    4 *“birria” = braising? (aberrant or marginal usage)

    In terms of what is common around Chicagoland, I think one can usually expect barbacoa here to be beef, especially beef head, and to be served with a sauce, whereas birria here is typically mutton or goat and generally –– though not necessarily –– served in broth.
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #23 - March 2nd, 2006, 5:56 pm
    Post #23 - March 2nd, 2006, 5:56 pm Post #23 - March 2nd, 2006, 5:56 pm
    JeffB wrote:Sazerac,

    Anyway, as I understand it, CESJ is much more of a "composed" dish, in which the ingredients are added together fairly late in the process. Of course, to the extent the broth might come from steaming a cabeza de vaca, there is a connection. But the meat itself is not, as far as I know, cooked this way.



    Gary has some pictures of our bowls being "constructed" which I hope he posts soon. The "dry" ingredients, i.e. meat, beans, radish, etc. are placed in the bowl and the broth is ladled over. I plan to attempt to recreate this meal in the very near future.

    Having said the above, Gary, Octarine, and myself met for lunch before the Cajun Charlie's Fat Tuesday. We each had an outstanding bowl of CESJ. As I get to the bottom of my bowl and scoop out the last pieces of meat I was impressed that the bacon pieces had maintained their texture and crispness while I had been slurping through the bowl.

    Image

    The tostada de ceviche was quite good as Octarine has noted in is post above.

    Image

    Gary and I also had an al pastor taco that helped round out a great lunch. Earlier while waiting for the others I had a steak taco which was rather bland.

    Los Gallos
    4252 S. Archer
    Chicago, IL
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #24 - March 5th, 2006, 7:47 pm
    Post #24 - March 5th, 2006, 7:47 pm Post #24 - March 5th, 2006, 7:47 pm
    Pigmon, thanks for this great post! I feel a new obsession coming on.

    I had never heard of CESJ until yesterday while reading through some posts on tacos. I am not a soup person at all and I prefer chicken stock soups when I do eat it but I was intrigued by Erik M.'s recommendation of El Taco Veloz so I went for it. I have to say it was awesome. I highly recommend Taco Veloz's version.
  • Post #25 - March 7th, 2006, 8:34 am
    Post #25 - March 7th, 2006, 8:34 am Post #25 - March 7th, 2006, 8:34 am
    PIGMON wrote:Los Gallos (#1 at 4211 W. 26th St., #2 at 4252 S. Archer, #3 at 6220 S. Archer)

    Beautiful consommé (clear) with a strictly beefy flavor only. Thin and clean but quite flavorful. No apparent bouillon characteristics at all

    Pigmon,

    Of the 4-5 Carne en su Jugo I have tried the 4252 S Archer Los Gallos is by far and away the best. As you say, all the components line up perfectly , from clear, clean flavored broth to crisp bacon, nice portion of griddled steak and beans that retain integrity.

    I particularly appreciated, and Bruce referenced, Los Gallos layered component construction built prior to adding broth, though this may be standard technique with carne en su jugo.

    Los Gallos (4252 S Archer)
    Image
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    Image
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #26 - March 8th, 2006, 12:38 pm
    Post #26 - March 8th, 2006, 12:38 pm Post #26 - March 8th, 2006, 12:38 pm
    What a beautiful thread - Rob excellent work!

    I had some comments as I read through it, but I see Rene has covered almost all of them. I will also confirm that Carne en su Jugo at Amanacer is different at different times (which is consistent with how they do their cooking - Mom goes to the grocery store in the morning and buys what looks good, then constructs meals from it) - I have had green and a more brown/clear version which did have grilled meat in it, as I recall.

    Now I need to print this guide out and see how many I can visit - so far just three, but they were all quite tasty. I tend to hit Taq. Los Gallos on 26th a few times a year because it is a convenient detour when around Midway, and then stumble on this at Amanacer. My last order from Taqueria Los Gallos was to go, and way too heavy on bacon for me, compared to earlier versions. It overwhelmed all the other flavors.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #27 - March 8th, 2006, 6:01 pm
    Post #27 - March 8th, 2006, 6:01 pm Post #27 - March 8th, 2006, 6:01 pm
    I had no intention of having another bowl of carne en su jugo for awhile. However, while visiting my parents in Palm Springs, California, the past few days gave me a chance to try another variation of this dish. After trying several different soup versions of CESJ in Chicago, it never occurred to me that it could possibly come in another style other than soup form.
    Popping into a random taqueria there (Cenaduria), I was surprised to discover that they offered carne en su jugo in 2 forms, either as a soup or a stew. Never seeing the stew form, I obviously opted for that.


    Image


    Instead of being a soupy broth, this version was a rich stew with a wonderfully beefy sauce. Besides the usual chopped meat, pinto beans, and grilled onion, the carne en su jugo contained nopales and cubes of uncured fresh bacon, things that I've never seen in versions here in Chicago.
    Our waitress, who was originally from Jalisco, said that carne en su jugo in stew form is very common there.
    Surprising, coming from Chicago.
    Last edited by PIGMON on October 14th, 2009, 6:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #28 - March 9th, 2006, 3:56 pm
    Post #28 - March 9th, 2006, 3:56 pm Post #28 - March 9th, 2006, 3:56 pm
    I just wanted to thank you for such an excellent post. I actually ran out yesterday after reading about it and went to Los Tres Gallos (since I was passing by it on the way to work anyway). Never having had carne en su jugo before, I have nothing to judge it against, but I can say that it was excellent. Tasty and clean broth, nice bacon and meat, good firm beans... My only complaint would be it was a tad salty. I literally was not hungry for many hours afterwards (which is rare). Thanks again!
  • Post #29 - March 9th, 2006, 4:03 pm
    Post #29 - March 9th, 2006, 4:03 pm Post #29 - March 9th, 2006, 4:03 pm
    PIGMON wrote:Popping into a random taqueria there (Cenaduria), I was surprised to discover that they offered carne en su jugo in 2 forms, either as a soup or a stew. Never seeing the stew form, I obviously opted for that.

    Image

    That looks quite a bit like the carne apache I was served at Los Gallos #2. This is their other specialty, with carne en su jugo. If I understand correctly carne apache is usually a dish of raw meat “cooked” with citrus juice, like a beef ceviche. The version I had was clearly cooked on the griddle. I don’t know if that’s the way they always do it or if they made it gringo-style especially for me. It was pretty good and an awful lot of food (I lost count of how many tacos I made before I admitted defeat) but carne en su jugo is clearly their best dish.

    Carne Apache at Los Gallos #2
    Image
  • Post #30 - March 9th, 2006, 5:35 pm
    Post #30 - March 9th, 2006, 5:35 pm Post #30 - March 9th, 2006, 5:35 pm
    borborigmy wrote: My only complaint would be it was a tad salty.


    If you thought Los Gallos makes a salty CESJ, make sure not to venture into the "avoid at all costs" territory! Often times, the salt levels were so ridiculous that they rendered the soups inedible. Some were so salty that after only a few spoonfuls, my meal was over. I suspect that these places mainly use bouillon to derive their consomme and that, after a further reduction of that broth, they would become excessively concentrated with salt.
    The better places, by relative comparison, usually had a noticable decrease in saltiness mainly due to using little if no salty bouillon.
    The point you bring up here about the saltiness is one of the most significant factors in a good or bad version of carne en su jugo.


    Rene G wrote:That looks quite a bit like the carne apache I was served at Los Gallos #2. This is their other specialty, with carne en su jugo. If I understand correctly carne apache is usually a dish of raw meat “cooked” with citrus juice, like a beef ceviche. The version I had was clearly cooked on the griddle. I don’t know if that’s the way they always do it or if they made it gringo-style especially for me. It was pretty good and an awful lot of food (I lost count of how many tacos I made before I admitted defeat) but carne en su jugo is clearly their best dish.



    Rene G,
    From your description, I would have to say that this most likely wasn’t carne apache. The dish didn’t have a citrusy element at all. The meat appeared to be stewed or poached in its broth. It had all the elements of a soup version of CESJ except that its broth was significantly reduced to something between a thick broth and a thin sauce. I’d be very surprised if they don’t create this “sauce” by further reducing the consommé and later adding the other ingredients (meat, nopales, beans, etc.).

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