Photo of Mexican beef stew in red chile-garlic sauce by WW

Mexican beef stew in red chile-garlic sauce

Total Time
1 hr 27 min
22 min
1 hr 5 min
This hearty Mexican beef stew recipe has bold flavors, lean beef, and a chile-garlic sauce that is so good, you'll want to scoop every last bit of it up with the stew’s potatoes or the spoon. Just like roasting deepens the flavor of fresh chiles, toasting dried chiles enhances their flavor, too. Pan-roasting the unpeeled garlic cloves imitates the effect of slow roasting a whole head of garlic in the oven, but this method does it in a fraction of the time. It produces garlic that is soft (but not quite as buttery soft as in the oven) and more mellow in flavor. The chiles and garlic serve as the base for the richly flavored sauce.


Dried ancho pepper

4 item(s), stems removed and seeds shaken out


2 cup(s)


8 large clove(s), not peeled

Canned chipotle pepper

1 Tbsp, chopped

Olive oil

2 tsp


1 large, chopped

Tomato paste

2 Tbsp

Uncooked lean beef round

24 oz, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes


2 large, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Uncooked new potatoes

12 potato(es), red, scrubbed, not peeled, halved

Ground cumin

½ tsp

Ground cinnamon

¼ tsp

Table salt

½ tsp


  1. Cut open ancho chilies with kitchen scissors so they lay flat. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and toast chilies, pressing them flat with a spatula, for 30 seconds per side. Place chilies in a large bowl with water; set aside.
  2. Add garlic to same skillet and roast in its skin, letting skin blacken, turning as needed, about 4 to 5 minutes. When garlic is cool enough to handle, remove skin.
  3. Remove chilies from water and reserve liquid.
  4. Place soaked chilies, chipotle, peeled garlic and 3/4 cup of reserved water in a blender container. Blend on high, pulsing on and off, to make a smooth sauce. Add more water as necessary to make a loose sauce; set aside until ready to use.
  5. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until onions begin to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Pour chile-garlic sauce over onions and stir to combine.
  6. Add beef, carrots and potatoes to pot; stir. Cover and cook for 30 minutes; remove cover and stir. (If stew seems dry, add 1/4 cup more water.) Season with cumin, cinnamon, and salt; stir, reduce heat to low, place cover back on pot and cook until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes more. Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.