(Guatemalan shredded beef in tomato-tomatillo sauce)
Hilachas is a popular Guatemalan dish made of cooked and shredded beef that is simmered in a mildly spicy tomatillo-tomato sauce. Pair it with a side of rice and fresh corn tortillas for a full meal.
6 to 8 servings
- Beef, flank or skirt steak, cubed -- 2 pounds
- Water -- 5 cups
- Oil -- 2 or 3 tablespoons
- Onion, chopped -- 1
- Chopped tomatoes -- 1 cup
- Chopped tomatillos -- 1 cup
- Guajillo chiles, warmed over a flame, deseeded and chopped -- 2 or 3
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Potatoes, peeled and chopped -- 1 pound
- Carrots, peeled and chopped -- 2 or 3
- Breadcrumbs -- 1/2 cup
- Cilantro, chopped -- 1 bunch
- Place the beef, water and a big pinch of salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef is very tender. Remove the beef to a bowl, reserving the broth, and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, shred the beef with your fingers and set aside.
- While the beef is simmering, place the onion, tomatoes, tomatillos and chiles in a food processor or blender and puree, adding a little water if necessary.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium flame. Add the onion-tomato puree and simmer until the puree is cooked down and darkens somewhat in color, about 10 minutes. Do not burn.
- Add the shredded beef and about 3 cups of the broth to the onion-tomato puree and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the potatoes, onions and a little more broth or water if necessary. Simmer until the potatoes and carrots are cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Stir in the breadcrumbs to thicken the sauce. Then stir in the chopped cilantro, adjust seasoning and serve hot with corn tortillas or rice.
- Use 1 or 2 shredded fresh corn tortillas to thicken the sauce instead of the breadcrumbs if you like. If the sauce has thickened enough while simmering, neither thickener may be necessary.
- Add 2 teaspoon achiote seasoning to the onion-tomato puree for added flavor. Bricks of achiote seasoning can be found at many Latin markets.
- The potatoes and carrots can be eliminated if you like.
- Canned tomatoes and tomatillos work just fine in this recipe.
- Two cups of chopped tomatoes can be used if you would like to eliminate the tomatillos.
- If you can't find guajillo chiles, use anchos or pasillas. Or substitute with 1 tablespoon of paprika and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.