Farmers Market Kitchen: Cocoa-Chile Beef or Roots | Bite Club

Farmers Market Kitchen: Cocoa-Chile Beef or Roots


  • Photos courtesy of Hannah Palmer Egan
Here at the Seven Days food desk, we're on a bit of a taco kick. So when I planned a Sunday Supper the same week as a big taco feature, I couldn't resist the pull of a Mexican(ish) taco night. 

My guests' diets ranged from gluten-free vegan to staunch meatatarian, and I wanted to feed everyone with minimal preparation, since I only had a couple hours to put it all together. So I took a lesson from Peter Berley's Flexitarian Table cookbook and created a recipe that would work for meat and veggies simultaneously.

I missed the Burlington Winter Farmers Market on Saturday, but my mom gave me several pounds of garden carrots, and a quick stop at Montpelier's Hunger Mountain Co-op yielded two supple, thick-cut London Broil steaks from Boyden Farm in Cambridge. Coated in a spicy chile-cocoa mixture with salt and slow-roasted at a low temperature for a couple hours, both the roots and the beef made a singing base for the taco feast.

And, stuffed into tortillas beneath a cool spread of chopped lettuce, tomato, cheddar, sour cream and salsa (among other accoutrements), the spice level kept to a quiet but satisfying hum.

Cocoa-Chile Tacos
Serves 4, as a base taco filling


2 pounds London Broil (in thick-cut steaks) — or — 2 pounds carrots and/or beets, peeled and cut into spears
Juice of 1/2 a lime
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying the steaks
4 tablespoons finely ground chipotle powder
3 tablespoons finely ground unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons finely ground kosher salt
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. 

Place the steak or carrot/beets in a large bowl. Drizzle the oil and squeeze the lime over the contents of the bowl, making sure both liquids are evenly distributed. Let sit at least 15 minutes.

Mix the dry ingredients in a shallow dish.

For beef: Pat the steaks dry and dredge with the cocoa-chili mixture until the steaks are fully coated and powdery. 

In a large skillet, sear the steaks with a bit of oil over high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side. Re-dredge the meat in the powder mixture until it is again dry and powdery.

Place the meat in a shallow baking dish, cover and bake for two hours until the beef is tender and comes apart easily. Pull apart with two forks and use as the base protein for your favorite Mexican dish: tacos, burritos, enchiladas, nachos, etc. 

For carrots/beets: Dredge the roots with the cocoa-chile mixture, mixing thoroughly until all are well coated. Place in a baking dish, cover and cook for two hours until the carrots are soft. Then use as the base for your favorite Mexican dish!

Cha cha cha!! 

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