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Chile Pepper Stew

Called guisado a los tres chiles in Spanish, this three-pepper stew uses a variety of dried roasted peppers to create a flavorful and spicy dish. Native to South and Central America, chili peppers were among the American foods popularized around the world in the 16th century by European conquistadors. They are believed to be among the first plants cultivated in Central America. Farther north, evidence of chili peppers in the human diet date back to 1150–1300 in northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States. Surprisingly, chili peppers were not as popular in Mexican cuisine until after the Spanish arrived. There are about 25 species in the chili pepper genus. In this recipe, the guajillo and ancho peppers form a base, and the third variety, puya peppers, add more flavor and heat.

Recipe Servings: 6

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 45 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free




    For Meat:
  1. Combine the meat, onion, garlic cloves, bay leaf, and water in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Cook over medium heat for about 50 minutes, until the meat is cooked through.
  3. Strain off the cooking fluid and reserve, returning the meat to the pot.
  4. For Sauce:
  5. Roast the peppers over medium-high heat for a few seconds per side in a skillet. Avoid burning and work with one type of pepper at a time.
  6. Soak the roasted peppers in a medium saucepan with 3 cups of water.
  7. Toast the sesame seeds over medium-high heat in a skillet until lightly golden.
  8. Add the toasted seeds to the saucepan with the peppers.
  9. Add the ¼ piece of onion and two unpeeled garlic cloves to the skillet and cook for 4–6 minutes, turning to roast on all sides.
  10. Transfer the onion and garlic to the saucepan with the peppers.
  11. Add the cumin. Adjust the heat to medium-high and cook for about 5 minutes.
  12. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes, until the ingredients cool and soften.
  13. Transfer the pepper mixture to a blender or a food processor, discarding the cooking water and adding 3 cups of the previously strained meat broth. Blend to a smooth sauce.
  14. For Assembly:
  15. Return the pot with the meat to medium heat.
  16. Pour the sauce over the meat and slowly fry, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes.
  17. Season with salt and pepper.
  18. Reduce heat and simmer for about 7 minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened. Add additional broth to thin as desired.
  19. Serve hot.

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