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  • Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa:
  • 3 (1/4 ounce to 1/2 ounce) stemmed, dried -- (3 to 6) chipotle chilies (or canned chipotle chilies en adobo)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 8 ounces (about 5 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • Salt, about 1/2 teaspoon, plus a little coarse salt for the final presentation, if you have it
  • Sugar, about 1/4 teaspoon
  • Roast:
  • 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast, 2-1/2 to 3 inches thick
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 chayotes, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 medium boiling potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
    1. The salsa: For dried chilies, toast them on an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat, turning regularly and pressing flat with a spatula, about 30 seconds. In a small bowl, cover the chilies with hot water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even soaking. Drain and discard the water. (Canned chilies need only be removed from their canning sauce.) While chilies are soaking, roast the unpeeled garlic on the griddle or skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally until soft (they will blacken in spots), about 15 minutes; cool and peel. Roast the tomatillos on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on one side, about 5 minutes, then flip and roast the other side. Scrape the tomatillos (and their juices), rehydrated or canned chilies and garlic into food processor or blender, and process to a rather fine-textured puree. Transfer to a bowl and stir in enough water (3 to 4 tablespoons) to give the sauce a medium consistency. Taste and season with salt and sugar.

    2. The roast: In a shallow dish, smear the meat with the salsa, cover and refrigerate for several hours (the longer the better - up to 24 hours - to infuse the meat with the smokiness). When you're ready to cook the meat, turn on the oven to 325 degrees. Scrape as much salsa as possible off the meat and reserve. Dry the meat on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Heat the oil in a heavy, medium-size (4 quart) pot, (preferably a Dutch oven) over medium-high; when hot, add the roast and brown on one side about 5 minutes, then flip and brown the other side. Remove the roast to a plate; pour 1 cup of water into the pot and boil over medium, scraping up the browned bits. Stir in the reserved salsa, then return the roast to the pan. Cover tightly and bake for two hours, until the meat is just tender. Distribute the vegetables around the meat, stir to coat them with the pan juices, cover and continue cooking until the meat and vegetables are tender, 30 to 45 minutes.

    3. Serving: Use two large metal spatulas (or meat forks) to transfer the roast to a large, warm serving platter. Scoop out the vegetables with a slotted spoon and distribute them around the meat. Skim off the fat from pan juices, and if necessary, boil them to reduce until lightly thickened; there should be about a cup. Taste and season with salt if necessary, then splash the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Sprinkle with cilantro and coarse salt.