“Oh this looks pretty easy,” my then-husband said. Was it the sight of me using tongs to place steaming chiles into a blender – when I could have been making myself a friggin’ Margarita? Their dried yellow seeds scattered recklessly across the floor? The stems and tails(?) snipped and flung haphazardly in and around my kitchen trash can?
Yes, Eddie wasn’t thinking clearly as I was attempting step one of one of HIS favorite Mexican recipes: Chili Colorado.
My favorite is the one Tito’s Tacos in Culver City makes; Eddie, only this one time to be less picky, liked it everywhere. And this Chef 101er, thought, “How hard can it be?”
1. What is a “New Mexico dry chili”? The man shopping in the produce department (As the grocer now has learned to go on an extended break when I’m spied in the video cam) thought they were the dried chilis you see hanging, decoratively in my opinion, in Mexican restaurants. So I’m supposed to cook with home decor?
I called Eddie from the market yet again. He told me to get the fresh green ones. At press time I don’t remember the name. Maybe Anaheim? Even I knew that wasn’t close enough to New Mexico.
I captured a store employee when, by that time, I had found the aisle with Mexican food and had two different bags of dried chiles. He hid his name badge (as he knew I was writing about this) and Googled it like I didn’t do…duh. The lighter colored bag from Julia’s Spices “Chile Guajillo Entero pods” were the same as New Mexico chilis.
2. 3 and 1/2 pounds of beef chuck roast looked ginormous to me. But, as it was cold, the firmness held and my newly sharpened knives slipped right through.
3. I had thrown out Eddie’s toxic beef bouillon cubes as they were dated 1989. Now, I had bought new bouillon, but this time I got it in a concentrated wet form. I had cooked with it once, not refrigerated or told on the label to refrigerate, so I hesitated. I finally went for it and put it right back into the pantry when I was done.
4. I didn’t use the kosher salt because I don’t have any. What’s the difference? Will I go to kosher hell?
Okay, enough about me. The only real difference in the recipe below and mine that day was I put it in my crock pot, and not a regular pot on the stove, to simmer all day. I had a wine event to go to.
- 9 New Mexico dry chilis – washed, with stems and seeds removed
- 3 cups water
- 5 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cups beef stock or water
- Place chiles and 3 cups water into a medium stockpot, and bring to aboil. Remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes to soften. Strain intoa bowl, reserving the cooking liquid. Place the chiles and some of theliquid into a blender, and puree until smooth. Add more liquid asnecessary to form a smooth sauce. Pass sauce through a fine meshstrainer to remove any seeds and the tough skins; set aside.
- Cut the roast into 1 to 2 inch chunks. In a medium bowl, combine flour,salt, and pepper. Dredge the beef chunks in the seasoned flour; setaside.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion untiltender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add beef chunks a few at atime, so as not to overcrowd the pot, and cook until evenly brown.Remove cooked meat, and continue browning remaining meat. Returnreserved cooked meat to the pot. Stir in pureed chile mixture. Add beefstock to just cover beef chunks, or to personal preference. Bring to aboil over medium heat. Reduce heat to lowest setting, and simmer for 3hours, or until meat is tender. If necessary, adjust with more stockduring cooking. From: All recipes.com