Hilachas-a Guatemalan stew, is common to all central american countries, not just Guatemala. There are many, many versions of it, I just happened to come across this one.
The word Hilachas translates to rags. I assume that it got it's name as the meat falls apart with the slow cooking it gets in this recipe and then 'looks' like rags.
The recipe is made in a few stages, first you cook the meat, simple, then you make the sofrito, then you add a few more ingredients and your done, it really is easy.
I'll just go on a bit about a sofrito for a minute, I am amazed by it. My whole life stews were cooked very differently, but with central american cooking I have learnt a whole new way to make stews. Here you make the sofrito in a food processor, and add it to your meat after it is already cooked, it just works so well, I've used it in a few recipes already and I love this way of cooking.
I use tinned tomatillos as in Australia I cannot find fresh ones, it works beautifully.
I didn't add the breadcrumbs as I didn't think the sauce needed any thickenening, I like it as is. So you decide whether or not to add it. This is what cooking is all about, finding a recipe and adjusting it to your personal taste.
The chillies I substituted with what chillies are available to me in Australia. Add what you can find and add as much as you like.
Use tinned tomatoes if fresh ones are not at their best.
The Guatemalan style rice I just make in a rice cooker, so easy, but I have added normal cooking methods also.
So here you have a delicious stew that I know I will be making for years to come.
Step 1: The Meat
1kg chuck steak
1 litre beef stock, preferably salt reduced
1 teaspoons salt
1 bay leaf
Step 2: The Sofrito
400g fresh tomatoes, diced or 1 x 400g tin peeled, whole tomatoes
6 medium small tomatillos, I used tin ones as we don’t have fresh ones
1 whole onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 - 4 guajillo chiles, or 1 dried ancho or paasilla, I used a jalapeno as we don’t have those chillies
3 - 4 cloves fresh garlic
Step 3: The remaining ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
more salt, as needed
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Spanish paprika
85g fresh bread crumbs (about 1 cup), optional
800g potatoes, peeled, cubed
1/2 cup coriander, finely chopped
Step 4: Guatemalan Style Rice
1 cup long grain rice
2 tablespoons oil or butter
1/2 cup shredded carrot
2 tablespoons thinly sliced onion
1/4 small green capsicum, sliced thinly
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Earlier in the day, place the chuck steak in a large pot with the stock, salt, bay leaf and onion half. Bring to boil, lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until tender. Remove the meat to a dish to cool, slightly, remove the onion and bay leaf, and reserve the stock. Once the meat has cooled, shred it into small chunks with two forks (or use a knife).
While the meat is cooking, place the sofrito ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until relatively smooth. Heat a large saucepan and add in the oil. Add the sofrito, be careful, it will splatter. Stir and cook, covered, for 15 minutes to cook out the raw taste. Stir occasionally. Once the sofrito has cooked, add in the reserved meat cooking liquid to the sofrito, along with the black pepper, paprika, shredded meat and potatoes. Cook this mixture for about 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
Make the Guatemalan Style Rice: I made mine in my rice cooker, just put all the ingredients in, stir and turn it on, but here is the recipe if you don’t have one. Place all the ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook the rice for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes more.
Back to the stew, add in the fresh bread crumbs (I did not add the breadcrumbs as my sauce was thick enough for my liking) and stir well. Taste for salt, and adjust. Stir in the coriander.
Serve stew hot with Guatemalan style rice.
Pin it: www.pinterest.com.au/pin/399413060700475948/