I do so love green chiles. They are quite handy for giving dishes a lift. But usually, it involves putting a tiny 4 ounce can in a recipe full of other creamy things. This recipe is all about the green chiles. You cannot escape them. You will know whether or not you want to try this recipe by the end of this sentence because I am about to tell you that there are 28 ounces of canned green chiles in this recipe. Are you still with me? Yes, that is four of the big cans or seven of the little ones. Yeehaw!
If you don’t cook with green chiles often, don’t worry. These are not jalapenos or habaneros or serranos. In fact, they are a very mild green pepper. The resulting stew is not so much hot, as peppery. That is, it is a sensation of flavor, not heat. The use of tomatoes softens the dish a little bit. Other than that, it is a very straightforward braise.
There is a scene in City Slickers where the cook says: “You ain’t gonna get any nouveau, amandine, thin crust, bottled water, sauteed city food. Food’s brown, hot, and plenty of it.” That is where we are here.
Anyway, this stew starts with the browning of the meat. Then onions are sautéed. Garlic is added to the onions. The pan is deglazed with a mixture of chicken broth and beef broth. The tomatoes, chiles and beef are all thrown into the pot and then it is put in the oven for four hours. That is it. The meat becomes very tender. You can thicken the sauce with masa or flour if you choose to. I did. And then I served it over rice. It is simple. It is basic. And, it is good.
2 pounds stew meat
Salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
4 cans (7 oz.) chopped green chiles (yes, for a total of 28 ounces)
1 Tablespoon corn masa or flour, for thickening
Cooked rice (optional)
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large oven-proof pot, or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Pat the stew meat dry with paper towels and season the meat with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, brown the stew meat in batches. Allow the meat to have at least 1 inch between chunks so that they brown instead of steam. Add additional oil, if necessary, between batches. You do not want the brown bits (“fond”) to burn as you brown the meat so monitor your temperature carefully. As the meat browns, set it aside in a rimmed plate while you complete the browning. This will allow juices to accumulate.
Once the meat has all been browned and removed, add a bit more oil and sauté the onions until they are softened. This will begin to deglaze the pan. The brown stuff on the bottom of the pan is immensely valuable for flavor and you do not want to burn it or lose it. Add the garlic and allow it to cook for a minute. Add the broth and scrape up all of the remaining brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes with juices and all of the green chiles with juices. Add the beef back to the pot with any accumulated juices.
Stir all of the ingredients to combine them and then heat until the liquid begins to simmer. Place two layers of foil over the pan and put the lid snugly in place. Put the pot in the heated oven and allow it to remain there for four hours. You may check after 2 hours and add additional broth, if needed.
Remove the stew to the stove top and let it sit for approximately 30 minutes before serving. If you prefer a thicker broth, you can thicken it with masa or flour. To do so, bring the stew to a very slow simmer on the stove top. Place about 1 tablespoon of corn masa in a small bowl. Spoon about ¼ cup of the hot stew broth into the into the masa and stir it until it forms a smooth paste. Pour the masa mixture back into the pot and stir to incorporate the masa fully. Allow the stew to lightly simmer for a few minutes while the broth thickens. Remove the stew from the heat and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve over rice in bowls.