Think of a beef stew, with all of its charms — the rich beef broth, tomatoes, potatoes and carrots. But add to that garlic, minced jalapeños, cloves, a dash of mild vinegar and Mexican oregano, and you have a dish with a delicious difference. This recipe, from Diana Kennedy’s book “Oaxaca al Gusto” (University of Texas Press, $50), is credited to Aldegunda Cisneros de Andrade, in Tezoatlán.
Asado de Res (Beef Stew)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1-3/4 pounds beef, cut into 4 or 5 thick pieces
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 chiles jalapeños, cut into 4 pieces lengthwise
2 Mexican bay leaves
3 whole cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon dried Oaxaca oregano leaves or 1 heaped teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/3 cup pineapple or fruity mild vinegar (5 percent acidity or less)
1 pound tomatoes, toasted (see Editor’s note)
12 ounces potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
6 ounces carrots, scraped and cut into thin slices
Put the oil into a heavy but not too deep casserole. Spread the onion and garlic in one layer, top with the meat and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the chiles, herbs and spices. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for the meat juices to exude, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and gently cook again, covered, for about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes (see note below) and reduce their juice over high heat for about 5 minutes. Spread the potatoes and carrots over the meat and add water just to cover. Cover the casserole and cook over low heat until all of the ingredients are very tender, approximately an hour.
Editor’s note: To “toast” the tomatoes, put them in a hot skillet or comal and roast them lightly, turning to get more surface area. You want the skin blistered and lightly browned, not burnt.
From Señora Aldegunda Cisneros de Andrade, Tezoatlán/Diana Kennedy’s “Oaxaca al Gusto”
Makes 4-5 servings.