Inspired by the Spanish puchero (stew), this one-dish meal has its roots in the early days of the vice-royalty in Mexico City. It makes a hearty supper dish preceded by quesadillas. Serve with hot tortillas, finely chopped onion and lime quarters.
3 lb (1.5 kg) boneless lean beef, cut into 1 1/2-in (4-cmd) cubes
1 beef shank with bone, about 10 oz (315 g)
8 cups (64 fl oz/2 l) cold water (approximately)
1 tablespoon salt
1 spring epazote
5 cloves garlic
3 chiles anchos
2 chiles pasillas
2 tablespoons oil
1 chayote (vegetable pear/choko), about 10 oz (315 g), peeled and cut into 6 pieces
2 ears (cobs) corn, each cut into 3 pieces
1 lb (500 g) zucchini (courgettes), cut into chunks
4 oz (125 g) tender green beans
- Place the beef and beef shank in a large pot or Dutch oven, cover with the water and bring to a boil. Add the salt, epazote and 2 cloves of the garlic. Cover and cook, skimming occasionally, over medium heat for 45 minutes.
- While the meat is cooking, toast the chiles, discard the seeds and membranes and place the chiles in a blender.
- Roast and peel the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes with their juice to the blender along with the onion and remaining 3 cloves of garlic. Purée.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat and add the purée. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.
- Add this purée to the pot containing the meat. Correct the seasonings, adding more salt if necessary. Cook, covered, over low heat for 30 minutes.
- Add the chayote and cook for 10 minutes, then add the corn, zucchini and green beans and cook, covered, over low heat for 10 minutes or until tender. Serve very hot.