Snowboarding the white sand dunes of Ruidoso, New Mexico was a short-lived love affair. More like a fling, actually. If they ever install ski lifts it’s a romance worth rekindling, but until then I’m more than happy to doodle my name next to a yucca tree instead.
What I DID truly love about New Mexico, though, were the colorful hanging ristras of dried peppers. What exactly one did with these peppers I had no idea – but unraveling the mystery over the last ten years has been a sumptuous journey for sure.
Anaheim chilies from New Mexico, chipotle’s, ancho’s from the legendary fields of Puebla, Mexico – each variety adds depth and excitement in its own way. Take the ancho, for example. It’s mid-range on the heat scale, but it’s peppery sweetness is what makes it perfect for a family of all ages.
No need to fiddle with it too much, either. The complex flavor is best paired with simple ingredients. Roast. Salt. Onion. Aaand a few other things. But yeah, that’s pretty much it. Did I mention that active prep time is only 10 minutes? (15 if you make gravy!)
Just one more thing. The sauce is absolutely fab over scrambled eggs.
- Beef roast, grass-fed if possible (about 4-4.5 lbs)
- 1½ tbs unrefined sea salt (where to buy sea salt)
- 3-5 dried ancho chilies, seeded and torn into little pieces (I find that using three produces a roast with a heat range that is usually comfortable for small children.)
- 4 large onions, peeled and quartered
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbs thyme
- 1 tbs parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup chicken broth or water
- Rub salt on the roast and place it in the crockpot to rest for ½ to 1 hour (this improves the tenderness of the meat).
- In the meantime, chop onions, dice chili's, peel and crush garlic, get your stock ready and pull the spices off the rack.
- When the roast has rested, place remaining ingredients in the crockpot and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until tender.
- Remove roast from crock pot and, if desired, make gravy with the ancho chili liquid. Here's how. (Note: I prefer to use arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch)
Photo credit: Mr. T in DC