This is a winter favorite which is filled with flavor and surprisingly easy to make. It comes from a recipe we saw in Bon Appetit but has morphed a bit over time. We’d encourage playing with the spices as you explore this as there’s a great variety of hot, sweet, savory and other great flavors to tease out of this recipe. And it goes great with Ciabatta bread or even skillet cornbread.
For 2-4 servings you’ll need some vegetable oil, 1.5 lb of boneless beef chuck (cut into 1/2-3/4″ cubes), 1 medium onion (chopped), 4-6 cloves of garlic (crushed and chopped), 1/4 cup dried ancho chiles (ground into a powder), 1 Tbsp cumin, 1/4 tsp allspice, a dash of cinnamon & ground cloves, 6 oz of dark beer (we used a chocolate stout and it was yummy), x1-14 oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes (or chopped fresh, with juice), 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp coarse salt, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, and grated cheddar cheese and sour cream (for serving).
Heat some veg oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and season the beef with some salt & pepper. Lightly brown the beef cubes in small batches, removing each batch when done to a side plate, reserving the oil and juices in the pot.
Reduce the heat to medium and add a little more oil, and then add the chopped onions and garlic. Toss and sauté until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the ground ancho, cumin, allspice, cinnamon and cloves and stir until fragrant. It will be a bit of a dry mess, but toss it around good and make sure it all blends and collaborates.
Add the 1/2 bottle of beer and stir well, scraping up the sticky bits at the side of the pot. Then add the tomatoes, 1.5-2 cups of water, oregano and the coarse salt. Stir well, add the meat back in, bring to a boil, and then lower heat, cover (with a tilted cover), and simmer until the beef is tender, and liquid is thickened and reduced, about 1 hour.
If you can, let sit and cool and stabilize and serve with grated cheddar cheese and sour cream.