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Chile Colorado

8 Dried Numex chiles
6 Dried de Arbol chiles
4 Dried Ancho chiles
3 Other assorted dried chiles
3 -(up to) 4 Beef tri tip (or high quality sirloin; cubed for stewing)
6 sl Lean bacon
1 tb Cumin
1 tb Oregano
1 tb Salt (or to taste)
4 Cloves garlic; crushed (or to taste)
1/4 c Chopped cilantro
1 lg Red onion; diced
2 c Chicken or beef broth

Step 1: The chile base: Cut the heads off the chiles, being careful to remove the seed pod, clean the remaining bits of seed pod out, and cut the chiles up with a pair of scissors into small pieces. Place the chiles into a steel, ceramic or glass mixing bowl. Don't use plastic if you don't want to have it permanently stained.

Once all the chiles are cut up, place enough boiling water into the bowl to partially cover the chiles. Place a lid over the bowl and allow to sit for 10 min or so to soften the chiles.

When the dried chiles have softened in the hot water, tranfer the contents a little at a time into a blender or cuisinart and puree the chiles into a slightly watery paste. Strain through a metal mesh strainer, by using a wooden spoon to move the chile paste back and forth along the mesh. The hard bits of chile pod will remain on the one side of the strainer allowing the paste to pass through into a bowl placed at the bottom.

Strain the entire contents of the pureed chiles. You should have enough for three cups or so. If you don't, soften more chilis and repeat the process until you do.

Step 2: The Beef: Take the bacon and brown (not crisp) in a metal skillet. Remove the bacon and set aside, place the tri-trip (whole) in the skillet and brown evenly in the bacon fat. Place the Tri-tip and the bacon into a slow cooker (yes a slow cooker). Add as much of the bacon fat as your arteries can stand. (About 1/4 cup for me.)

Dice the red onion and add it to the slow cooker. Add the spices to the slow cooker Add the chili paste to the slow cooker Add the garlic to the slow cooker. Add the beef broth to cover the contents completely.

Put the lid on and turn on high for 1 hour then put on medium and cook for 6 or so hours (the longer the better). Stir occasionally. (The tri tip should fall apart when done.) Add spice and salt to taste. 30 minutes before ready to serve, stir in the diced cilantro.

Serve in a bowl with fresh grated monterrey Jack on top and hot corn tortillas on the side. Its heaven with a cold beer!

Note: The capsicum tends to migrate into the bacon fat which resides on the top of the chile in the slow cooker, so don't remove too much of it or you'll "cool" the chile.

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