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Spicy Beef Stew (similar to Pozole)

Sometimes all it takes to be inspired is a sale. Beef stew meat was on sale yesterday at Whole Foods and we haven’t had any type of beef stew in a while. We usually have tacos on Tuesday per the kids insistence but yesterday with the looming rain I thought a Mexican inspired beef stew that I could prepare ahead in the crock pot would be perfect. I happened to already have a large can of hominy in the pantry and a poblano pepper and an opened jar of green chilis in the fridge. Thus, a peppery beef stew was born. I used the peppers I had on hand, but you could use whatever variety makes you happy. I think canned chipotle peppers would be amazing in this.

This is almost a classic pozole but I added sweet potato because I love sweet potatoes. I wanted to make a more complete meal and sweet potatoes are nutritious and they add a subtle sweetness to the dish while also working as a thickener. I am in the habit of adding sweet potatoes to my beef and turkey chili so this was a no-brainer today.

What you need:

2 tbsp olive oil

1-1.5 lbs of cubed beef stew meat

1 small yellow onion

1 poblano pepper

1 jalapeño pepper

1 bell pepper

2 tsp dried cumin

3 tsp chili powder

1 tsp dried oregano

Salt and pepper

3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 cup of diced green chilis (4 oz can)

15oz can of tomato sauce

1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 quart of low sodium beef broth

25oz can of hominy

Begin by chopping the onion and peppers finely and tossing the pepper seeds if you don’t want too much spice. Make sure to wash your hands well after handling the jalapeño so you don’t accidentally rub your eyes with the spicy oil (ask me how I know). Add the onion and peppers to a pot with olive oil and begin cooking over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. After a few minutes of softening the vegetables scoot them to the outer edges of the pot and add the beef to the middle. Season with salt and pepper and sear on one side (about 2 minutes). Now turn the beef to sear the other side and add the spices. Stir to combine everything in the pot and add the garlic. Cook for one minute to release the garlic aromas and then deglaze the pot with the tomato sauce. Use the tomato sauce to help release the brown bits from the bottom while stirring and then transfer everything to the slow cooker.

Set the slow cooker to low and add the sweet potato, green chilis, and beef broth. Stir to combine and cook on low for 5 hours. Next drain the hominy and rinse in a colander. Add the rinsed hominy to the slow cooker and continue cooking for another hour or two. I like to mash up a few of the sweet potato cubes at this point to release the starch and thicken the broth. The beef should be meltingly tender at this point but slow cookers can vary. I would allocate anywhere between 6-8 hours for this recipe.

It could also be done on the stove top, simmering on low for about 2 hours or in the instant pot (check the manual for cooking time). Serve with queso fresco or your favorite melting cheese, hot sauce, and sour cream.

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