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The other day, I was working on a recipe for Caldillo Durangueño and needed the star ingredient – chile pasado. I was tied up at the house, and instead sent my husband (aka “My Gringo”) and my freckled-face, redhead son to a Mexican market to buy it. When they couldn’t find the chiles, my husband asked one of the workers, but he didn’t speak much English. So, my Gringo asked him again but this time in Spanish. Guys, I wish I had been there. Not to help them communicate, but to see this native Mexican, non-English speaker’s face when my Gringo (accompanied by his redheaded son) start speaking Spanish, asking for a hard-to-find chile that is regional to Durango.
Durango, Mexico. It has a special place in my heart, my friends. Most of my family still lives there, and up to just a few months ago, my dad also lived there. It’s what you think of when you think of Mexico – cowboy boots, sombreros, horses, and trucks. But it is also deep in history and traditions. A cathedral in the capital city of Durango, Durango where I had my quinceañera and where my parents got married. 500-year-old cobblestone streets and buildings that will make you think you’re in Paris, Madrid, or Florence. Caldillo Durangueño is probably the most famous dish to come from DGO. I’m sharing it with you, but I’m mainly publishing it for my son. That he may always be proud of coming from this gorgeous state and keep our family memories alive.
Caldillo Durangueño is not something you’ll find listed on the menu of a Mexican restaurant. You’ll mostly find this dish made by little abuelitas at home. I called several family members to get their recipes until I finally played with it enough to make my own version. Caldillo Durangueño must have chile pasado. Here’s the problem: It is hard to find chile pasado even in San Diego, California, and it’s expensive. Luckily, you just need a few. So, it’s worth the buy.
Chile pasado is a poblano chile that has been roasted. The seeds and the stems have not been removed. Then dried. This chile is native to Durango and to the neighboring state of Chihuahua. Both claim ownership of this chile. Since I’m from Durango, I will say … Get your own chiles, Chihuahua! 🙂 If you can’t find it, use 2 more chile poblano. Roast, peel, and slice the poblano peppers. From here, cut them into smaller pieces to fit your spoon better.
Cut the beef into large chunks. I used a lean top sirloin because it’s less fatty. You can also use chopped and ready-to-use beef stew meat that you find at the grocery store. Or chop up a beef roast like chuck roast. Brown and drain any excess fat.
In the meantime, make your tomato mixture. Blend until smooth. Add to the pot. See how it’s more of a pink color? That’s because the tomatoes are not cooked. It will develop a stronger red color as it simmers.
Caldillo Durangueño is a Mexican stew full of deep, robust flavors and made with chiles. It’s a delicious bowl of comfort food from the beautiful state of Durango, Mexico. From my familia to yours, I hope you enjoy!
Caldillo Durangueño, a Traditional Beef Stew from Durango, Mexico
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lbs beef chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tbspn Salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 4 chile pasado toasted, cut lengthwise, deveined, and finely chopped
- 4 poblano pepper roasted, skin removed, and sliced
- 6 tomatoes diced
- 1/2 onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon whole cumin
- 8 cups beef broth divided
- In a large stockpot, heat up the oil.
- Salt and pepper the beef.
- Add the beef to the pot and brown on all sides.
- Remove meat from pot and set aside.
- Drain any excess fat.
- Add the chile pasado and chile poblano to the pot.
- Cook for 2 minutes. Stirring constantly.
- In a blender, add tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin and just enough beef broth to blend everything.
- Blend until smooth.
- Add the tomato mixture to the pot and stir to combine.
- Let cook for 1 minute.
- Return the meat to the pot.
- Add the remaining beef broth.
- Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Don’t forget to check for salt.
- Serve and enjoy.
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