Mexican Beef Stew

TOTAL TIME: 4 hr 20 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive Prep: 1 hr
Cook: 3 hr
YIELD: 4 servings


  • 6 ancho chiles
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • Vegetable or olive oil, for drizzling
  • 4 ounces smoky good quality bacon, chopped
  • 2 pounds beef top round, cut into bite-size chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • About 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
  • About 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • About 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle Mexican-style lager beer (recommended: Negra Modelo)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole, diced or crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
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    This dish is a Chili con Carne made with stew meat rather than ground chuck. It is pretty enough to entertain with and made with top round rather than bottom, so it's lean enough to feel good about eating.
    Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

    Stem and seed the chiles and place in a pot with beef stock over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently to reconstitute. Cook's Note: Use a little water to supplement if stock alone will not cover peppers.

    Heat a large Dutch oven with a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat, and add the bacon to the pan and stir until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Pat the meat dry, season with a little salt and lots of black pepper, then add to the bacon drippings and brown evenly to caramelize the meat. Brown the meat in 2 batches if necessary in order not to crowd the pan. Remove the meat and add another drizzle of oil, if necessary. Add the onions, and garlic and soften a few minutes. Stir in the cumin, coriander, cocoa, cinnamon, and cloves, and stir to toast the spices and combine. Deglaze the pan with beer and evaporate.

    In a food processor, puree the softened peppers and stock with tomatoes. Pour into the pot, slide the browned meat and bacon back in, and drizzle in the honey. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven for 2 1/2 hours or until the meat falls apart with a fork. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal. Reheat over medium heat and add the lime juice just before serving.

    Garnish with sour cream and fresh cilantro leaves, and serve with tortillas or rice and warm black beans.

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