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Author Notes: Adapted from a recipe in Saveur (Saveur, #22, Nov. 1997), I used some of my mother's techniques for her cuisine she brought with her from Mexico, where she was born. This dish is deep, complex, and richly flavored with the combination of spices and the two chiles, Red New Mexican, Ancho and Poblano. The blending of these chiles enhance the flavor exponentially.
This is definitely a chile dish that stands on flavor, not heat. In fact, there is no call or need for incendiary spices here, which would mask and drown the subtle seasoning that releases its layers with each bite. The meat I used was boneless short ribs, and it was fork tender.
I served it with cornbread I made with stoneground cornmeal, a bright green mesclun salad and a lovely coconut ice with rhubarb cake. You could serve the chile with tortillas, of course, or rice, but the dish stands on its own. —romanolikethecheese
Serves 6 servings
1 can pinto beans (15 oz.) 4 cups beef broth 1 yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup) 1.5 lbs. (approx.) beef chuck or stew meat, cut in bite-sized chunks 4 garlic cloves 2 tbs. vegetable oil 1 can tomato paste (6 oz.) 2 tbs. cider vinegar 1 tbs. lemon juice
½ tsp. ground coriander ½ tsp. fennel seeds ½ tsp. ground cloves 1 cinnamon stick, ground (or approx. 1 tbs.) 1 tsp. black pepper 1 tsp. paprika ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg 1 tbs. ground cumin 1 tbs. oregano 1 tsp. salt 3 dried red chilies ¼ cup semi-sweet
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in cast iron or other heavy-bottomed stew pot; sauté onions until translucent.
- Add beef chunks and brown for 3-5 min. Add all the spices (not chocolate) and stir briefly, then add beef broth, red chile blend, and tomato paste, vinegar, and lemon juice.
- Drain and rinse the pinto beans, then add to other ingredients in pot. Add crumbled tortilla and chocolate and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer slowly on stove top, uncovered, for 3-5 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent a tendency to stick slightly to bottom of pan and adding water only if necessary to maintain consistency of a thick stew. Taste occasionally and adjust seasonings.
- For the SPICES: ½ tsp. ground coriander ½ tsp. fennel seeds ½ tsp. ground cloves 1 cinnamon stick, ground (or approx. 1 tbs.) 1 tsp. black pepper 1 tsp. paprika ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg 1 tbs. ground cumin 1 tbs. oregano 1 tsp. salt 3 dried red chilies-2 New Mexico Red Chiles and 1 Ancho or Poblano (dried) ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate bits Pour a cup of boiling water over chiles to soak for 20 minutes. When soft, discard stems and place the chiles and soaking liquid into blender. Blend until there are no chunks of chile. Add this to the meat along with tomato paste and broth, etc. While chiles are soaking, add all the spices (except chocolate) in a small bowl or molcajete, and hand smash/grind the spices together. Add these to meat while it is browning to capture and release flavors.