A taste of the Southwest
By June Naylor
Photos by Meda Kessler
With this issue, we’re launching our Home Cooking series featuring favorite dishes and recipes from local residents. Residents of 092 and surrounding areas come from around the U.S. and the world; we look forward to showcasing the foods they love.
It’s a good thing that Southlake resident Brandon Kahle taught himself to cook, because the skill helps assuage any homesickness for his home state of Arizona.
As a child growing up there, he fell hard for the chile Colorado made by his best friend’s mother, who also made homemade tortillas with “love and lard.” (The name of the dish comes from the Spanish word “colorado,“ which means “colored red.”)
He still craves the deep, velvety Mexican version of chili so popular throughout the Southwest and northern Mexico and makes it for his own family (he’s OK with store-bought tortillas). “This recipe reminds me of a big bowl of Texas red, but it’s the Mexican version — a lot like a stew,” says Kahle, a vice president at American Airlines.
Kahle enjoys shopping for ingredients almost as much as he does making the hearty, brick-red comfort dish. He favors La Michoacana stores (Arlington, Dallas, Irving and Fort Worth) for the chiles, choosing either the dried Hatch variety from New Mexico’s Mesilla Valley or a combination of ancho, guajillo or pasilla chiles, bought in bulk. His advice for the perfect chile choice? “Make sure the pods aren’t too brittle — they should bend without breaking easily.”
Fiesta stores (the closest ones are off Airport Freeway in Irving and in Fort Worth) or Central Market also are a good source for dried chiles. Or order from Pendery’s World of Chiles and Spices online, penderys.com.
Chile Colorado offers a little heat and lots of flavor thanks to the roasted peppers. The sauce prep time is well worth it — your kitchen will smell wonderful. Served with a traditional side of Mexican rice, it’s perfect for dinner around the fire pit on a cool spring night.
Serves 6 to 8
- 1 pound dried red chile pods
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- ½ white onion, finely chopped
- Beefsteak tomato, roughly chopped
- 4 to 6 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided use
- Juice of 1 small lime
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 1 (2½ to 3 pound) chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons flour or 4 tablespoons masa harina
- Flour tortillas, sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges, chopped avocado for serving
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Use a knife or scissors (wearing gloves is advised) to cut stems and open chile pods. Scrape out seeds and membranes, and discard. Spread chiles on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast chiles for 8 to 10 minutes on one side and then flip them over and roast until fragrant, an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from oven.
Place roasted chiles in deep, heavy-bottomed pan along with chicken stock, onion, tomato, garlic, cumin, oregano,
2 teaspoons salt and lime juice. Bring mixture to boil, then turn off heat; cover tightly and allow mixture to sit and chiles to soak in liquid and seasonings.
Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy pot or Dutch oven. Sprinkle pepper and remaining salt on cubed beef. Add beef to pot, browning the meat in batches without overcrowding the pot. Use a slotted spoon to remove meat to a plate. After browning is completed, turn off heat and return the warm meat to the pot. Sprinkle flour or masa harina onto the beef and mix until coated; this will help the sauce thicken.
Transfer cooled chile mixture to blender and process until smooth, then press through a fine mesh strainer; discard remaining solids. (We added just a little chicken stock to the mixture in the strainer to make this process easier.) Add chile sauce to pot with meat, cover and place in 325-degree oven for 2 hours until meat is tender.
Serve in bowls with warm tortillas, sour cream, cilantro, lime and chopped avocado.