Beef Stew with Chipotle, Bleu Cheese, and Green Onions
Morita chiles are red, fully mature Chipotles. This gives them a unique, medium – hot smokey flavor which is popular in many Southwestern dishes. These can be added to sauces (including Mole) to add smokey flavor and maintain the red color of the sauces. These peppers are about 2-4 inches in length, 1 inch in width, and have a deep brick reddish brown color. The word Chipotle translated to smoked chile. Consider the Chipotle a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the hottest). Scoville heat units 7,000-25,000.
Use Morita in enchilada sauces, chili, stews, barbecue ribs, and corn bread. Their smoky quality combines well with poultry, meats and fall squash.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 lbs beef chuck – 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 strips hardwood smoked bacon, chopped into very small pieces
1 large yellow onion, cut into wedges
1/8 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (grind dry chipotle chile in coffee grinder till a fine powder)
1 bottle dry red wine
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 lb carrots, peeled and cut into largish pieces
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese
1/8 cup green onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Heat a large and heavy ovenproof pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Coat the bottom with vegetable oil and when it’s sizzling hot, carefully place 1/3 of the beef in the pan. Season with salt and black pepper. The pieces should hiss when they hit the oil. Don’t crowd the pan. Brown the meat, about five minutes per side, and remove to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the beef, adding more oil as necessary.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon until the fat renders and it begins to brown and remove to a plate. Add onions and cook until they begin to soften, about two minutes. Remove them to the plate. Add flour and cook for about two minutes, stir in paprika and chipotle powder. Pour in the wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Return beef, bacon, and onions to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and bake until the meat becomes tender, about an hour and a half.
Return pot to the stove and add potatoes. Bring to a boil, then add the carrots. Let it simmer uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about thirty minutes. Stir in the butter, bleu cheese and green onions.
Serve in deep bowls with red wine or craft beer. This stew is intense, smoky and reddish-burnt sienna in color. It won’t taste “right” until you stir in the creamy, pungent cheese and bright green onions. Then, it will be perfect!