Red chili beef

 

This is a very versatile dish, and it features the taste of chili, which I love, and can be made as spicy as you like. It goes well served over rice, wrapped in tortillas for tacos, or on its own with cornbread and salad. Sliced radishes, chopped red onion, and cilantro are great toppings. The dish freezes well, too. Replace some of the beef with pork for a tasty variation. The dried peppers are widely available, if not in the local supermarket then at any tienda. They keep forever, so buy extra. These peppers are not spicy, but you can add heat to the dish with cayenne if you wish.

3 lbs beef chuck or 1-1/2 lbs each beef chuck and pork shoulder
2 baseball-size onions, peeled and cut in quarters
8 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
3 dried guajillo chiles
3
dried ancho chiles
6 dried whole bay leaves
4 tsp ground cumin (see note below)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 bottle of flavorful beer (optional)
cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

Note: If at all possible, you should roast and grind your own cumin – the flavor is much improved. Put whole cumin seeds in a small, dry fry pan and cook over medium heat, shaking often, until fragrant and just beginning to brown. When cool, grind in a spice mill.

Trim the meat of excess fat and membranes and cut into 1-2 inch chunks. Remove the stems and seeds from the chilis and cut each into a few large pieces. Put the meat, chilis, and all other ingredients (except the cayenne) in a heavy-bottomed stew pot. Add water to just cover (less water, obviously, if you used beer). Bring to a slow simmer, cover, and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The meat will become very tender.

After the dish cools a bit, remove just the meat to a large bowl. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the remaining solids – peppers, onions, etc – along with a bit of the cooking liquid to a blender or food processor. Zap to an almost-smooth puree, adding more cooking liquid as needed. Taste and add some cayenne if desired.

Use two forks to shred the meat into coarse shreds. Add the sauce to the meat and combine. Check for salt. Eat.

 

 

Explore posts in the same categories: Beef, Ethnic, Pork

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