Breadwinner

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Mexican Beef Stew over Chipotle Sweet Potatoes March 30, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Soup — krandle @ 11:17 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Stress manifests itself in two ways in my cooking: there are times when I’m stressed so I just stay in the kitchen and make a bunch of things that I end up taking to the office and leaving in front of my coworkers with no willpower, and there are other times when I don’t cook at all. During the non-cooking times, I do things like have two breakfasts–yogurt and a fruit, then oatmeal later–or throw mixed frozen vegetables into a container of plain rice and call it a meal or eat nothing but cheese for dinner. It’s been the latter type of stressed lately, if you hadn’t noticed.

But, tonight I decided to get myself back on track cooking-wise and to try something totally different. Which is how we landed at a unique beef stew recipe of unknown origin (I typed it up at one point and put it in my recipe file, and it might have been from my mom, or it might have been from somewhere else).

This is different for me because (a) I very rarely cook beef, (b) I’ve never cooked “stew” beef before, and (c) I don’t actually like beef stew. But this recipe sounded cool – chipotle peppers in adobo is one the finest flavors I can think of – and the meat was on a great sale.

Really, really awesome stew, even if I was up until the middle of the night cooking, waiting for the beef to become “fork tender.” Great flavors and not too spicy – not even too spicy for the boyfriend.

Mexican Beef Stew

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon ground ancho chile pepper
2 pounds beef for stew, cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed red, yellow and green bell pepper blend [By the way, does this blend actually exist? When I told the boyfriend I was looking for it again, he reminded me that I’ve looked before and been unsuccessful. I had to go for “Pepper Stir Fry” which also involves onions and, sadly, green beans.]
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups ready-to-serve beef broth
1 teaspoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon adobo sauce from chipotle peppers

Combine flour, cocoa and ancho chile pepper in large bowl. Add beef and toss to coat with flour mixture. Remove beef and reserve any excess flour mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in stockpot over medium heat until hot. Brown half of beef and remove from stockpot. Repeat with remaining beef, adding remaining 1 tablespoon butter, if needed. Remove beef from stockpot; season with salt and black pepper. [While it may seem unnecessary to do this in two steps, 2 lbs of meat is a lot, and you’d have to have an incredibly wide stock pot to cook it all at once.]

Add bell peppers to the stockpot and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, broth, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce and reserved flour mixture. Return beef to stockpot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover tightly and simmer 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours or until beef is fork-tender.

Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons butter, optional
1 teaspoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper

Place sweet potatoes in large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. [Easiest way to do this is to just dump out all the hot water and aim it toward a glass measuring cup placed in the sink. Just dump the extra water out of the measuring cup later.] Return potatoes and reserved cooking liquid to saucepan; add butter, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, salt and ancho chile pepper. Mash potatoes until just blended and slightly chunky.

Serve stew over sweet potatoes.

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2 Responses to “Mexican Beef Stew over Chipotle Sweet Potatoes”

  1. vespachick Says:

    Did you use Ancho Chile powder–that spice was so hard to find I had to wait until I could go to the spice market in the Reading Terminal to get it. The stew looks great.

  2. krandle Says:

    (shhh! don’t give away my laziness!)

    I didn’t use ancho chili – I’m sure it would have made everything better. I had to buy cocoa to be able to make the recipe, so I decided I get the chili to try another time.

    Does it taste really different from normal chili powder?


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