I haven’t posted here in a while, I know. But this dish is worth the wait.
Recently my brother (see his blog here, though it’s not usually about food) sent me a text alerting me to check out a recipe for enchiladas verdes that he had found on Youtube. The video showed a Mexican abuela, Maria Contreras Rico, assisted by her granddaughter, demonstrating her method for making that dish, and after watching it, I was hooked. I quickly subscribed to her Youtube channel, Abuela’s Kitchen, and watched pretty much every video they had there (except for the ones about tripas and chicharrones, because ew.)
I’ve made a few of Abuela’s recipes now and this Carne con Chile is my favorite so far. It is not like the chili con carne that I am used to here in Texas (for one thing, it doesn’t contain cumin), but it has an amazingly rich and deep flavor.
Here is the video, and though I’m going to include here the transcription of the recipe as I copied it down while watching, it’s definitely worth watching the video just to experience this very nice lady’s cooking style. Abuela’s Kitchen has quite a following these days, and I’m happy to jump on the bandwagon.
Carne con Chile
2 lb. thin beef steak (Maria Contreras Rico uses a thin sirloin that is marketed in some areas as milanesa. In my Latino-influenced area in South Texas, I was able to find the exact cut she uses. Probably any very thin cut of steak would work)
3-4 good sized tomatoes, cut in quarters and boiled until somewhat soft but not falling apart, then drained
2 chiles California and a handful of chiles japones (these are dried chiles)
1 clove garlic
On a comal or in a dry frying pan, toast the chiles until they are slightly browned. In a hot pan this happens very quickly, and as the Abuela says, if you burn them they will make you cough. Set aside to cool slightly. Remove the seeds (“so you don’t get sick in your appendix”) and break the peppers into a blender container. Add a little water just to start to soften them.
Cut the meat into thin strips. Swish them around in a little water (the Abuela says you don’t know how many people have handled that meat.) Drain the meat and place in a dry frying pan. There will still be a little water on the meat and that will help it cook. Turn on the heat and start to cook the meat; cover the pan and let it cook for a while, then uncover and let the liquids evaporate. When the meat starts to look dry, add a spoonful of lard (okay, you can use oil, but the Abuela doesn’t like it.)
To the peppers in the blender, add the garlic clove and the tomatoes. Blend until smooth. Add this salsa to the meat. The Abuela likes hers with more liquid and adds some water, but I liked mine without it.
This recipe serves about 4 people. I think the proportions are pretty flexible. I made beans to go with mine, and white rice with salsa was a good accompaniment. And tortillas, of course–always.