Recipe: beef barbacoa with salsa fresca and quickle onions


For our third and final DofE camp out of the summer, I was inspired to continue with my budget saving menu choices whilst not compromising on flavour. I’ve been twice to Jive Bar and Kitchen in Norwich and on both occasions I have been inspired by the freshness of the food and how you can taste each individual component of a meal. Some contemplation led to me proposing a meal of beef barbacoa tacos with homemade salsa and pickled red onions (henceforth to be known as ‘quickles’).

I prepared everything at home the night before as previously, supervisory duties for the students doing their qualifying expeditions have meant dinner for the adults being prepared by torchlight. Fortunately, it didn’t happen this year!

Altogether, the ingredients for the below recipes, tortilla chips and salsa, 2 bottles of alcohol-free wine and dessert came to just under £5/head, comfortably feeding 7 adults.

Beef barbacoa


  • 1.5kg braising steak (cubed)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 – 4 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 4 tsp garlic
  • 1½ tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 60ml fresh lime juice


  1. Combine the chilis, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, lime juice and beef stock, and use a hand blender to combine.
  2. Brown the braising steak on a medium heat, and pour the spice/stock mixture over the beef.
  3. Cook on the hob on a low heat for 3-4 hours. To serve, shred with a fork and put in a serving bowl. Garnish with coriander and serve with corn tortillas.

Pico de gallo salsa img_20180705_183416_4187402836461404583309.jpg


  • 6 vine tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 green chili pepper
  • handful of coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lime juice to taste


  1. Finely chop the onion, tomatoes and the chili
  2. Combine in a bowl, add the salt, pepper and lime juice. Leave for one hour.
  3. Finely chop the coriander and add to the mixture. Add more lime juice if required.

‘Quickle’ Onions img_20180705_183416_4311466230951931445146.jpg


  • 2 red onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 250ml distilled white vinegar


    1. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and spices, and bring to the boil. Set aside to cool.
    2. Thinly slice the onions and peel the garlic clove. Add to the cooled vinegar mixture, ensuring that all the onion and garlic is covered. Leave to cool and transfer to an airtight container.


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