Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hilachas / Guatemalan Beef Stew

RECIPE: Hilachas / Guatemalan Beef Stew
(serves 6)

- 2 pounds beef, cubed
- 5 cups water
- 2-3 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped tomatillos
- 2 to 3 guajillo (say 'gua-HE-yo') chiles, warmed over a flame, deseeded and chopped
- salt and pepper - to season
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped

> place the beef, water, and a big pinch of salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat
> reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef is very tender
> while the beef is simmering, place the onion, tomatoes, tomatillos and chiles in a food processor or blender and puree, adding a little water if necessary
> heat the oil in a large pot over medium; add the onion-tomato puree and simmer until the puree is cooked down and darkens somewhat in color, about 10 minutes; do not burn
> add the shredded beef and about 3 cups of the broth to the onion-tomato puree and season with salt and pepper; reserve the rest of the broth
> stir in the potatoes, onions and a little more broth if necessary
> simmer until the potatoes and carrots are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes
> stir in the breadcrumbs to thicken the sauce (optional)
> stir in the chopped cilantro, adjust seasoning and serve hot with corn tortillas or rice with shredded cabbage and chopped cilantro to garnish

- add 2 teaspoons achiote seasoning to the onion-tomato puree for added flavour; bricks of achiote seasoning can be found at many Latin markets
- the potatoes and carrots can be eliminated if you like
- canned tomatoes and tomatillos work just fine in this recipe
- tomatoes can be used if you would like to eliminate the tomatillos
- if you can't find guajillo chiles, use anchos or pasillas (say 'pa-SEE-yas') or substitute with 1 tablespoon of paprika and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

To see the full menu for the Guatemalan lunch, go here.  

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