My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

Knock-Off Recipe Test: Cafe Rio Beef in a Pressure Cooker

34 Comments

A few years ago, my sisters (who live in Maryland and Utah) were just RAVING about Cafe Rio, especially about their freshly made tortillas and their salads.  Cafe Rio is a “Mexican” (notice the quotes) fast service restaurant similar to Chipotle.  So, while stopping for gas when passing through Utah, I went by a Cafe Rio and ordered a shredded roast beef burrito.  Mind you, I am not usually a “meat” gal.  I usually opt for vegetarian dishes, but I was told that the roast beef was great.  So, I tried it.  It was fine, but not as amazing as everyone said.  At least, that was my initial reaction.  I could only eat half of my burrito (it was huge!), so I saved the rest in the cooler.  When I ate it later, I realized how yummy it truly was!  The roast beef was well flavored and tender, the tortilla was wonderful, and the salsas were fresh and yummy.  Since then, I’ve been a Cafe Rio fan.

 

What’s the problem?  For a very long time, there were no Cafe Rio restaurants anywhere within an hour drive of my home.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t often drive an hour just to eat roast beef.  It was tempting, but I couldn’t justify the gas expenditure.  So I did what I often do…  I turned to my friend Google and started looking for knock-off recipes.  I found this one by Jill.  (She has a great website full of yummy recipes.  I highly recommend you take a look and poke around.)

 

Her recipe is a crock-pot recipe which makes it easy, right?  Only when you realize it’s a crock-pot recipe before hand, and you give yourself enough time to cook it.  So, there I was, in the early afternoon, ingredients assembled and ready to make dinner and not enough time to make it.  I needed to stew the roast in the crock-pot for 9-10 hours.  I didn’t have 9-10 hours!  So, I adapted and made it on the stove.  It was tender, delicious, and a big hit with EVERYONE at home!  So much so that they asked me to make it again and again.  I’ve made a couple of tiny adjustments to the recipe for personal taste and ease, but, for the most part, it’s the same as the recipe by Jill.  Here’s my slightly altered version.

 

DSCN6374

 

Cafe Rio Beef

Adapted from Jill’s recipe found here

 

2-3 pound Chuck Roast (or Chuck Tender Roast, my favorite)

2 small cans green enchilada sauce (I use Old El Paso.)

1 tub of Knorr Beef Homestyle Stock concentrate mixed with 2 cups of warm water

2 8-ounce cans of tomato sauce (to taste)

1 tablespoon cumin

1 small onion, halfed and sliced

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press

salt and pepper to taste

Oil for browning roast

 

Remove roast from packaging and lightly salt and pepper.  Use a very light hand!  Preheat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy stockpot, then add the roast.  Brown on all sides.  If the roast is too large, cut it in half and brown the halves separately.  Do not rush or skip this stage!  It adds a fabulous flavor that you will miss if you don’t brown the meat.

 

When the roast is almost done browning, add the onions to the pan and let cook for a minute or two.  Next, add the garlic and let cook for a minute.  If you let it go too long, the garlic will get bitter, so better to under cook it than overcook it.  After a minute, add the sauces, stock mixture, and cumin to the pan.  Stir to combine, then put a lid on the pan and let the meat cook until tender (2-3 hours), stirring occasionally.  Once the meat is tender, remove it from the pot, shred it with a fork, and return the shredded meat to the pan, mixing it in with the sauce.

 

Serve with rice, in burritos, quesadillas, tacos, etc.

 

It’s a super easy recipe, and it tastes great! You can do it in the crock-pot if you desire, but I highly recommend browning the meat first.  It adds a lovely flavor.   How does that flavor rate in a head-to-head test with Cafe Rio?  For similarity in taste, this recipe gets a B.  For overall flavor, I give this recipe an A+.  I think it’s even better than Cafe Rio! 

 

When I made it last week, I fully intended to follow the instructions above, but life got crazy, and I realized I didn’t even have 2-3 hours to stew the meat.  So I used my trusty pressure cooker and had this super tender and flavorful beef ready in about an hour.  (If this makes you want a pressure cooker, check out this pressure cooker on Amazon.) Watch how in my photo step-by-step.

 

As always, I start by assembling the ingredients.  This recipe uses a canned green enchilada sauce.  Please feel free to substitute for a different brand or for a homemade green enchilada or chile sauce.

As always, I start by assembling the ingredients. This recipe uses a canned green enchilada sauce. Please feel free to substitute a different brand or a homemade green enchilada or chile sauce.

 

I cut my chuck roast in half, because it was a little big for my pressure cooker.

I cut my chuck roast in half, because it was a little big for my pressure cooker. I put a touch of salt on this, but not much.  Just a couple shakes with the salt shaker.  I didn’t add pepper.  I let my hubby, a pepper lover, adds that to his own bowl.  He likes a lot of pepper!

 

I browned the roast in the pressure cooker one half at a time.

I browned the roast in the pressure cooker one-half at a time.

 

While the meat was browning, I cut up the onions and used my well-loved Pampered Chef garlic press to prep the garlic.  If you prefer, you can crush the garlic with the side of your knife or use jarred garlic.  But, I promise you, it's better with fresh garlic.

While the meat was browning, I cut up the onions and used my well-loved Pampered Chef garlic press to prep the garlic. If you prefer, you can crush the garlic with the side of your knife or use jarred garlic. But, it’s MUCH better with fresh garlic.

 

When the second half was almost done browning, I added the onions to the pot and allowed them to cook for a minute or so.  I added the garlic to the pot and then the first half of the roast.

When the second half was almost done browning, I added the onions to the pot and allowed them to cook for a minute or so. I added the garlic to the pot and the first half of the roast.  I let the garlic cook for about a minute.

 

Next, I added the enchilada sauce, tomato sauce (I used 1 1/2 cans 8-oz cans), the cumin, and the stock-water mixture.

Next, I added the enchilada sauce, tomato sauce (I used 1 1/2 cans 8-oz cans), the cumin, and the stock-water mixture.

 

I stirred it to combine and put the lid on my pressure cooker.  I let it cook for about 30 minutes.  (Sorry for the glare from the flash!)

I stirred to combine and put the lid on my pressure cooker. After bringing it up to pressure, I let the roast cook for 30 minutes. (Sorry for the glare from the flash!)  When I checked on it at the 30 minute mark, and it was not as tender as I like it, so I put the lid back on and cooked it for another 10 minutes. 

 

And it was ready to shred!

After 10 more minutes (40 minutes total pressure cooking time), it was fall apart tender and ready to shred!

 

I simply removed the meat from the pot and shredded it with two forks.  I removed any large pieces of fat before adding the meat back to the cooking liquid.

I simply removed the meat from the pot and shredded it with two forks. I removed any large pieces of fat before adding the meat back to the cooking liquid.

 

And dinner was served!  Doesn't it look delicious?

And dinner was served! Doesn’t it look delicious?

 

Dinner also included Cafe Rio black beans, cilantro-lime rice, and a tomato-corn salsa.  I’ll share those recipes with you soon.

 

We make this pretty regularly, because as much as I love Cafe Rio, it costs us over $40 for 4 of us to eat their delicious food.   We can’t do that every day or even every week.  This lovely meal cost about $17.  For that $17, we got several meals out of it:  dinner for 5 the first night (with most people eating 2 servings); 2 lunches each for my hubby, me, and my youngest son; and at least 4 “midnight snacks” for my other two boys.  So that makes 19 hearty meals/snacks for $17 which everyone LOVED.  Not too shabby, huh?

 

What do you think?  How about that for easy?

 

* This post contains an affiliate link.  For more information about affiliate links, please visit my about page. *

Advertisements

Author: Laurie Nguyen

I am a happily married, stay at home mom with four sons, ages 24, 22, 18, and 14. I'm not a professional blogger, and I'm certainly not a foodie or a chef. But I like food, so I think I'm qualified to write about my own life experience with food. Want to be a little more prepared for the unexpected? Check out my Food Storage Blog, http://forayintofoodstorage.com. Have a question about Food Storage? Email me: forayintofoodstorage@gmail.com.

34 thoughts on “Knock-Off Recipe Test: Cafe Rio Beef in a Pressure Cooker

  1. This all looks Soooo delicious! I’ll have to give it a try 🙂 thank you!

    Like

  2. You’re making me want a pressure cooker! Meat that tender in so little time, genius. Looks really delicious x

    Like

  3. This looks fabulous!

    Like

  4. So good!!! This is the perfect weekend lunch!

    Like

  5. I don’t think they have that restaurant chain in the Northeast, but I do love Mexican food. Your beef looks delicious, tender and flavorful.

    Like

  6. Electric pressure cooker. Push the button, walk away. It will beep when done…and keep food warm until you are ready. It was the best purchase I ever made. Will try this recipe soon…..looks so yummy

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I LOVE pressure cooking a good chuck roast!

    Like

  8. This looks so good! I have never heard of, let alone been to a cafe rio but this recipe has me wanting it! I LOVE my pressure cooker so now I’m excited to have another project for it….

    Like

  9. oh wow that looks so good! awesome recipe!

    Like

  10. Now I know I’ll have to dig my pressure cooker out and start using it again. Just hope the rubber seal isn’t rotted away after so many years of non use. I’ve had it for years and years and used to have it going for every meal, but just got out of the habit. Now I’ll have to get back in the habit, because that dish looks and sounds to wonderful. And I really miss that falling apart tenderness I used to get on every cut of meat imaginable.

    Like

  11. Awesome call on using a pressure cooker. I love how it explodes the meat in such a short time!

    Like

  12. Ooh, the flavors! You’re really making it hard to resist that pressure cooker, Nancy! 😉

    Like

  13. Wow this looks amazing! and very detailed post. the picture kind of reminds me of chipotles…

    Like

  14. Here in Spain we have none of the restaurants mentioned above but the recipe is great for a Mexican menu.

    Like

  15. This looks utterly gorgeous, will have to give it a go soon!

    Like

  16. Pingback: Knock-Off Recipe Test: Cafe Rio Black Beans | My Foray Into Food Storage

  17. Sounds real good to me!

    Like

  18. Pingback: Knock-Off Recipe Test: Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice | My Foray Into Food Storage

  19. Pingback: Chipotle Inspired Corn Salsa | My Foray Into Food Storage

  20. Do you ever add Chipotle Tabasco to your recipes.. my family loves it! I spice up my whimpy’s tacos etc.. even pulled pork!

    Like

  21. Pingback: Mexican Pulled Beef and Rice with Black Beans | therapy bread

  22. Reblogged this on My Foray Into Food Storage and commented:

    One of my favorite things to make at home! You can do it on the stove in a regular pot or a pressure cooker or in a crockpot. It’s so delicious!

    Like

  23. This is making me hungry. 😦 🙂

    Like

  24. I just ordered a pressure cooker yesterday. I’ll have to try this recipe! Any suggestions on where to find good pressure cooker recipes?

    Like

  25. I love it when a good recipe makes left overs! This looks scrum diddly umptious

    Like

  26. I’m not sure I can find green enchilada sauce in Ecuador, but this looks delicious! I may have to look for a recipe to make it from scratch just so I can try making this recipe 🙂 I’ll let you know if I figure something out!

    Like

  27. YUM YUM! Looks so amazing!

    Like

  28. Pingback: I Have A Super Power: Speed Cooking | My Foray Into Food Storage

  29. Would you recommend a pressure cooker or a crock pot?

    Like

    • It depends on what you want to do with it. Most people don’t can, so, for most, a pressure cooker is best. Also, pressure canners tend to be large and unwieldy, so they aren’t the best for every day cooking.

      IF you want one tool to do both pressure cooking and canning, a pressure canner is a better value.

      Like

  30. Ohhh nice recipe! I’m really having fun trying out new recipes with my pressure cooker – I think I’ll try yours! The best part of cooking with a pressure cooker is it’s hard to make something that tastes bad. Do you know Miss Vickie’s (you may know her as the go-to pressure cooking lady) recipe book? She’s got some really good recipes in there that you might enjoy.

    Like

Question? Comment? Please share with me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s