Machaca, (muh CHA kuh) in its traditional form, is beef that has been marinated, cooked, shredded, and then dried—a kind of Mexican beef jerky. It developed in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States and remains popular in that region
It used to be that cooks had to rehydrate machaca before using it, but that step is no longer necessary; as refrigeration has become widely available, machaca rarely gets fully dried anymore.
One of the easiest ways to eat machaca is in the scrambled egg preparation called machaca con huevos. Look for the seasoned meat in the Latino foods section of a large supermarket or in a Mexican grocery store and whip up a flavorful, hearty, high-protein breakfast, brunch, or dinner. If you can't find authentic Mexican machaca, use a shredded beef jerky, or make the recipe with fresh shredded beef or pork.
Since machaca con huevos originated in northern Mexico, hot flour tortillas generally accompany it.
- 1 teaspoon pork lard or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup onion (coarsely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon
- fresh serrano or jalapeño chili (finely diced)
- 1/4 cup machaca (finely shredded)
- 1 small tomato (seeded and diced)
- Pinch of cumin
- Pinch of salt
- 3 eggs (beaten)
- 2 tortillas (flour)
- Garnish: sliced tomatoes, smashed avocado
- Optional: refried beans on the side
Heat the lard or oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Saute the onion and serrano chili for about 20 seconds. Add the machaca and cook for about 1 minute more.
Mix in the tomatoes and seasonings. Remove the mixture from the pan and set aside, keeping it warm.
In the same pan, scramble the eggs until they just barely set. Remove the pan from the heat and fold in the tomato and machaca mixture. Let the eggs sit in the hot pan for an additional minute to finish cooking.
Serve machaca con huevos with hot flour tortillas and refried beans if you like. Garnish with a scoop of smashed avocado and tomato slices.
Variations on Machaca con Huevos:
Omit the chili in the recipe (or substitute green pepper for the chili) and serve machaca and egg scramble with a spicy guacamole or Mexican table sauce.
Omit the onion, tomatoes, and chili from the recipe, then serve a simplified machaca con huevos with a fresh pico de gallo salsa (same ingredients, different presentation).
Use machaca con huevos as a filling for burritos or tortas.
Fry the machaca with the other ingredients, omitting the eggs. Cook the eggs independently (scrambled or over-easy) and serve them alongside the prepared meat.
Edited by Robin Grose