Chipoltle Braised Beef
Marinate about 1 lb or so of beef stew meat in a few springs of thyme, about a 1/2 a tsp of red chili flakes, and a few pinches of grey salt, moisten with extra virgin olive oil, all together in a ziplock bag. Marinate for at least an hour at room temp.
Sear in a hot heavy bottomed pan with a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil until browned on all sides (chuck, brisket, rib are all great cuts for this braise-cut into rather largish cubes, app 2″sq)/
Remove to a plate, you may need to add a bit more fat to the pan before adding 1/2 a large chopped onion and saute, bringing up all the browned bits-adding a dash more of grey salt to lead the onions into sweating out their sugar and ease that fond off the bottom of the pan. Fire should be meduimish but it depends on your stove…at this point my pan is screaming from the searing and I am waving towels all around to stop the fire alarm from going off so I like to turn it down a bit while doing the onions./
Add 3-4 cloves of garlic- peeled and smashed, saute and let go a bit/
Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock (to start) and stir to incorporate, 2 heaping tablespoons of thick tomato puree, and about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar/
Stir and bring up the heat a bit – you want to get a light boil going now/
Add a few dashes of cinnamon, red chili and about a 1/2 teaspoon really fresh chipoltle powder (or canned in adobo- use 1 or 2-with the juice, depending how hot you like it) /
As it comes to a bubble put the beef back in and cover and simmer on low for app. 3 hours or until very tender. The result is an intensely smoky, sweet, dense, beefy pot of goodness to tuck into warm tortillas with tangles of fresh cilantro, pico de gallo, or a bit of chopped fresh onion to finish.
If you notice that your sauce is reducing too much add more chicken stock. I ended up using about 2 cups total from start to finish.