My mom's side of the family comes from beautiful New Mexico and to this day, there are no foods on this planet that satisfy my soul more than the tastes and flavors I grew up with coming from this amazing region of our Country. They are truly the flavors of the sun.
Over the years as I dove deeper into becoming a professional chef, no matter how much I tried to branch off to explore and learn about so many other cuisines and cultures, to this day there's nothing quite like the flavors I grew up with coming from this beautiful area.
The foods are rich in depth and character, Chilies, spices, and beautiful aromatics such as onion and garlic. Such simple ingredients but so incredibly complex in their unbelievable combination.
I can remember my Nana making such dishes as Carne Adovada, Posole, and of course her unbelievably delicious red chili pork tamales at Christmas. I can remember hanging out in her kitchen where she gave me the chance to document her as she cooked and I just smile when I look at those notes written in my young handwriting. Even back then at around 14 years of age, I was paying close attention.
I apologize for romanticizing my thoughts here so much. They just truly come from the heart and when you cook from that place, that's how you taste the love in the food. There was nothing but love in Nana's food. So this recipe, it's in her memory. Each time I make this along with her homemade flour tortillas, I'm completely transported back to her tiny little kitchen. It seemed as though she could just seriously make something out of nothing. She was magical and such an honest culinary inspiration.
So on to the recipe. I hope you love it as much as I do.
The beef cut I recommend you use for this dish is beef chuck. It's going to yield you the most flavorful and tender result in this recipe, while also holding it's shape as it cooks. It's just perfect. You can see by looking at the map here, it comes from the shoulder and is considered a tougher muscle which needs the low and slow cooking to result into something so mouthwatering tender. Chuck is simply delicious!
If you've never purchased or worked with dried chilies before, prepare to have your taste buds explode in total delight. Most larger markets have these available or for those of you who have neighborhood stores that stock these ingredients, I would also venture there for even more cool ingredient choices. Be sure to clean the seeds and stems out well. The most surprisingly awesome thing though about these chilies I've chosen for this dish, they are all just true flavor and very low in heat! Directly, they will not burn your mouth! So prepare for some deliciousness ahead! Let's go.
- 3 dried Guajillo chilies
- 4 dried New Mexico Chiles
- 2 dried Chile de Arbol chilies
- 4 cups chicken broth or beef stock, divided
- 1 c. tomatoes, canned, diced
- 4 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3T. olive oil
- 1 large onion, small dice
- 6 ea garlic cloves, minced
- 1 T. ground cumin
- 2 t. dried Mexican oregano
- 2 t. chicken bouillon powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish: fresh cilantro (optional)
Sauce Base: Thoroughly remove the stems and seeds from the chilies. Place the chilies in a medium size sauce pan. Add 4 cups of broth and tomatoes. Bring to a gentle simmer to soften chilies, cook about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully ladle the chili mixture along with the liquid into a blender and process until smooth. Start the blender off slow as the heat will create pressure. Do this in manageable batches and with an abundance of caution as the mixture is very hot. The chili should be smooth. Set aside.
Stew: Season the beef with salt and ground black pepper to taste. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef to the pot in a single layer and sear on all sides until the beef turns golden brown. Remove the seared beef to a plate and set aside. To the same pot, add the onions and more oil if needed. Sauté the onions until they become soft and translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, bouillon, salt and pepper and continue cooking for an additional 3 minutes.
Return the beef and any collected juices back to the pot along with the freshly made red chili sauce. Add additional broth if needed. Stir to combine. Bring to a low simmer and keep the beef on low heat. Cover the pot and cook stir occasionally for about 1.5 hours or until the beef is tender. Add additional broth if the sauce becomes too thick. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt and black pepper. Garnish with fresh cilantro (if desired). Serve warm with fresh flour or corn tortillas. Enjoy!
Adapted From: Lemon Blossoms