- 2 dried ancho chillies
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 ½kg braising steak, cut into 4cm cubes – meat from the brisket, short rib, blade or chuck steak are all good
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- ½ tsp instant espresso powder
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1l beef or chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- small piece of cinnamon stick
- 2 tbsp semolina, polenta or Mexican masa flour
- 25g dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa solids)
- 400g can kidney beans, drained but not rinsed (optional)
- STEP 1
Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Over a high heat, toast the whole chillies on all sides until you can smell them cooking, then remove and set aside. Keep the pan on the heat and toast the peppercorns, cumin seeds and coriander seeds until they just start to change colour, then grind to a powder using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Mix with the smoked paprika and oregano (this is a standard tex-mex seasoning), then set aside.
- STEP 2
Return the casserole to the heat, add half the oil and heat until shimmering. Fry the beef in batches, adding more oil if you need to, until it’s browned on all sides, then set aside. Fry the onions in the pan over a low heat for about 8 mins until soft and golden, then add the garlic and cook for 1 min more. Working fast, add the meat and juices, the spice mix, tomato purée, peanut butter and coffee to the pan and cook for 2-3 mins, stirring to coat the meat until everything is thick and gloopy, then pour in the vinegar and stock.
- STEP 3
Add the toasted chillies back into the casserole, along with the bay leaves, cinnamon and some salt. Bring to a simmer and stir well, then cover with the lid and cook in the oven for 3hrs, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender but not falling apart. Take the casserole out of the oven, put back on the stove and remove the lid. Simmer the sauce for 5 mins, then stir in the semolina flour and simmer for 2-3 mins more. Finely grate over the chocolate, stir through with the beans and simmer for a minute more to heat through. Fish out the chillies, then leave everything to rest for at least 15 mins.
- STEP 4
Bring the pan to the table. Serve with bowls of accompaniments and the chilli paste (see tip below) to add heat.