Saturday, December 27, 2014

Red Chile Stew

spice mixture:
2-3 Tablespoons pure New Mexico Chile Powder, depending on your tolerance for spicy foods, and the heat of the chiles involved.
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
scant 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 finely ground black pepper

for stew:
1/2 cup oil, half olive and canola or other veg oil
2-3 pounds of chuck roast or stewing beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large white onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 Tablespoon dried whole oregano
3 cups of water
1 16 oz can of chunky tomato sauce
1 bottle of medium-dark beer, such as negro modelo
2 cans of pinto beans, drained (or 1 cup dried beans, cooked and drained)

In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, chile powder, cocoa, cinnamon, chipotle, sugar, pepper and salt. Set aside.

Brown the meat in a large pot, being careful not to crowd it, and adding more oil after each batch. Add a little more oil to the pot and add the onion and garlic, saute until soft. Add the spice mixture and stir to coat. Fry for about two minutes, until the seasonings are evenly distributed. Add oregano.

Add the water, tomato sauce and beer, and bring to a boil. Add the meat, and return to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 2-3 hours, until the meat is tender.
Adjust seasonings to taste.
For a chili texture, shred the meat by pressing it against the bottom of the pan with a potato masher, pulling it gently across the bottom of the pan as you press down. For a more stew-like consistency, leave the chunks whole.

Add the beans and cook for another ten to twenty minutes. At this point, the stew is ready to serve, but it is best if allowed to cool and refrigerated for at least one preferably even two days - then reheated. The liquid will be thicker, and the flavors will meld and develop over time.

Serve chili-style in bowls with tortillas or cornbread, or as a stew over soft polenta or grits. Offer garnishes of chopped red onion or scallions, cilantro, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

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