Birria

(courtesy of Anthony Fish, chef of Sassafras, in Carson City, Nev. Serves 4)

3 pounds lean chuck diced to 1- to 1½-inch pieces

3 dried pasilla chiles

3 dried ancho chiles

3 dried New Mexico chiles

¼ teaspoon crushed thyme

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 quart good quality beef or vegetable stock, preferably homemade

Tortillas, diced yellow onions, and cilantro, to taste

Chuck Rub: Remove stems and seeds from chiles and toast in a 350 degree F oven until fragrant and slightly crispy (about 3 minutes). Grind in a spice grinder or a molcajete, a traditional Mexican mortar and pestle. Mix with thyme, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper, oregano, salt, and cumin. Dry rub the diced chuck and let marinate overnight, or for at least 2 to 3 hours. Place marinated meat in an ovenproof dish and add bay leaves, apple cider vinegar, and stock. Wrap tightly with aluminum foil or a tight-fitting lid and place in a 350 degree F oven for 4 hours. Remove from oven and check the sauce thickness. If it is too thin, strain the meat and reduce the sauce in a saucepan and check for salt after reduction. Serve with warm tortillas, diced yellow onions, and cilantro.

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