I could have named it "what to do with that block of Achiote seasoning in the cupboard", but that would be a bit too long. This is actually the Missus' idea....She basically requested that I come up with something. So far I've made it three times with prime sirlion, pork butt, and a combination of dark and white meat chicken. The amount of meat is the same, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds. The process is the same.......brown the meat, then braise. The winner by far is the pork.....which is kind of a pain; trimming it down to size and keeping just the right amount of fat. It's typical browning, season with salt, pepper, ground cumin, and granulated garlic, then if it's beef or pork, drain the fat and start the aromatics. If it's chicken, keep most of the fat since it's much leaner. The fundamentals are the same; help to seal with parchment and braise in the oven. If you ever get the chance, check out Molly Stevens' book, All About Braising, it has some rally great fundamentals, I love the first 36 pages or so of the book. Beer really helps the flavor and I thought it would be a nice touch.....I realize that two cups is 16 ounces and two cans of Tecate, which is what I used is 24. I'm sure you'll, ahem, find some use for the other 8 ounces....
We have celery growing in the yard. The Missus isn't fond of celery, but I've convinced Her that using the leaves almost as a herb is wonderful and She has bought into it.
As always, you know your preferences....we should treat these type of recipes as a palette for your palate. I basically use what I have on hand. I like to garnish with cilantro, onions, and lime....topping it with an egg is very nice. The Missus doesn't eat much rice anymore and we have no tortillas in the house, but those do well....I'm thinking enchiladas would be really good as well. The Missus likes Hers with slices of avocado.
It seems like a lot of steps, but is really pretty simple.
2 1/2 - 3 pounds of cubed chicken (a combination of white and dark meat), pork butt (trimmed of excess fat), or beef
1 Tb ground cumin
1 Tb granulated garlic
3 Tb Avocado Oil s
alt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 - 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce
5 Cloves of garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce (I used Aloha Shoyu)
1/4 cup Worchestershire Sauce
1-2 Habanero Chilies (optional)
3-4 Tb Agave Syrup
1 medium onion sliced thin
1/4 cup celery leaves roughly chopped
1/2 tsp ground Cayenne Pepper (optional)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves roughly chopped
1 Tb Mexican Oregano
1 Tb Ground Cumin
1 Tb Granulated Garlic 4
bay leaves 2 cups beer (I used Tecate)
2 Tb Red Wine Vinegar
- Preheat oven to 325
- Combine sauce ingredients in a blender and blend into a sauce
- Combine Meat with 1 Tb ground cumin, granulated garlic, salt and pepper
- Heat pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil and brown meat in batches. Do not crowd. Remove meat to a large bowl or pan when browned.
- If using pork or beef drain excess oil from pot, keeping about 1-2 tablespoons. Add onions, celery leaves, cayenne pepper (if using) and saute until onions are translucent.
- Add oregano, ground cumin, granulated garlic, and bay leaves. Allow spices to "bloom". - When nice and fragrant, add beer to deglaze.
- Add meat. It should be in almost a single layer completely covered by the sauce. Add cilantro.
- Place a layer of parchment paper, just enough to touch the food and extending over the edges of the pot. - Cover and place in the oven.
- Check after 30 minutes. If the stew is simmering too vigorously lower the temp by 10-15 degrees or so. I also have a taste at this time and adjust my seasonings.
- Check every hour until your desired texture of the meat is reached. If you will not be eating on the same day, stop a bit earlier. Carry-over cooking will take care of the rest.