Yesterday I did a TBT cookbook review of Rosa’s New Mexican Table by Roberto Santibanez. Suzi and I love the book because of the bright spiciness of the food and the long lasting satisfaction of each bite. And the sophistication. You’ve probably had chiles stuffed with cheese, perhaps the definition of decadence. Here, ancho chiles are treated with high respect. There is cheese here but primarily as the binder for meat and mushrooms generating a “stuffable” filling. This dish is hearty, not gooey.
Beef tenderloin and mushrooms are cooked and edged into the anchos, which are then baked. The toppings suggested for this very substantial dish are Rosa’s Cooked Green Salas, a Roasted Yellow Tomato Sauce, or a Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Sauce. I’m going to let you get your own copy of the book for those sauces — cruel I know but I want the author to still sell some books. Or you can top with the salsa of your choice.
This recipe says it serves six, but I think six really means three. I could not stop with just one, and I bet you cannot either.
Ancho Chiles Stuffed with Beef Tenderloin, Shiitakes and Cremini
Yield: serve 6 normal people or 3 devotees of Mexican food
For the filling:
- ⅓ cup (about 3 ounces) soft goat cheese
- ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 ½ pounds trimmed beef tenderloin or skirt steak, cut into ¼-inch dice
- 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps coarsely chopped (about 2 ½ cups)
- 6 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
- 1 large white onion, finely chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
- 2 medium jalapenos, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped garlic
- 2 ½ teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
For cooking and presentation:
- 6 large (about 6 inches long) ancho chiles, prepared for stuffing [see the preparation technique below]
- 3 cups salsa
To prepare the chiles for stuffing, cut a slit down each one form the shoulder of the chile to the tip. Carefully remove as many of the seeds and as much of the core as you can without tearing the chile or pulling out the stem. In a saucepan, combine 4 cups water, ⅔ cup vinegar, 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoons molasses, and a 2-inch piece of Mexican cinnamon. Bring to a simmer. Add the chiles and remove the pan from the heat. Weight the chiles with a plate to keep them submerged and soak until they are very soft, about 1 hour. Then drain thoroughly and blot dry with paper towels. The chiles are ready to stuff.
With a rack in the center position, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Prepare the filling: Put the goat cheese and cilantro in a large bowl and set aside. Toss the beef, mushrooms, onion, jalapenos, garlic, oregano, salt, and cumin together in a bowl. Heat half the oil in a large skillet over high heat until very hot but not smoking. Carefully add half the beef mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the beef is cooked through and the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. (The timing may vary, and the beef and mushrooms may give off liquid that will have to be cooked off before the mushrooms will brown.) Scrape into the bowl with the goat cheese and cilantro and repeat with the remaining beef-mushroom mixture, using the remaining oil. When all the beef-mushroom mixture has been cooked, stir well to blend in the cheese and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
Drain the chiles and stuff them. There should be enough beef mixture to fill each chile, open side up, without overstuffing, so the cut in the chile can be closed over the filling. Place the chiles in a baking dish that holds them comfortably. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until warmed through, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, reheat the sauce to simmering.
Ladle about ¾ cup of the sauce onto each plate, top with a chile, and serve.
Source: Rosa’s New Mexican Table by Roberto Santibanez