Fiesta Stew

Fiesta Stew

12 cups water, divided
1 1/2 medium white onions
3 carrots, cut into large chunks
3 celery ribs with leaves
1 1/2 garlic heads, peeled, divided
5 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
25 black peppercorns, divided
1 whole allspice
1 chili de árbol
1 pound beef ribs
2 pounds boneless stewing beef
10 chilies guajillos, stemmed, seeded and deveined
1 (1-inch) piece Mexican cinnamon
2 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
1 pound tomatoes, halved and sliced
2 cups yellow onions, halved and sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced with greens
1 1/2 cups chunked pineapple
1 ripe plantain, sliced in 1/2-inch pieces
1 apple, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons capers, chopped if they are large
1/2 cup raisins
4 tablespoons pickled jalapeños, sliced
Salt to taste
Warm tortillas or steamed rice to serve

In a large 6-quart stockpot, bring water, onions, carrots, celery, 1 head garlic, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 15 peppercorns, allspice and chili de árbol to a boil. Add beef ribs and stewing beef; bring to a boil. Skim off foam that appears on surface; discard. Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Strain; set meat aside and reserve stock.

In a small saucepan, bring remaining 2 cups water to a boil. Remove pan from heat, add chilies guajillos; soak 10 minutes or until soft.

Place chilies, remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, remaining 10 peppercorns, cinnamon and remaining 1/2 head garlic in a blender; purée until smooth. Pass mixture through a food mill or sieve.

In the stockpot, heat oil until smoking; add chili paste and fry about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes, yellow onions and green onions. Fry about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 6 cups reserved stock and meat. Add pineapple, plantain, apple, olives, capers, raisins and jalapeños. Simmer 30 minutes more; season with salt. Serve with soft corn tortillas or steamed rice.

Makes 8 servings.


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