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Carne con Chile

Jorge Cortez at La Margarita in San Antonio remembers when his family made this Mexican beef and chile stew with big chunks of meat. The ingredients are nearly the same as in chili. “But we never called it chile con carne, we called it carne con chile,” he says with a laugh.

Makes 4 cups 
1/4 c. vegetable oil 
1 lb. 2-inch by 1/4-inch sirloin strips 
1/2 c. chopped onions 
3 garlic cloves, minced 
1 tsp. all-purpose flour 
1 tsp. ground cumin 
2 bay leaves 
1 tsp. ground black pepper 
1 tsp. salt 
2 ancho chile pods, stems removed 
Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven and brown the meat well, 5 to 10 minutes, until any water evaporates. Add the onions and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, flour, cumin, bay leaves, black pepper, and salt. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes or until the flour is browned. Add 2 c. water and the ancho pods. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring, and adding more water until the ancho dissolves completely and the meat is tender. Remove any large pieces of ancho skin. Serve in a bowl with tortilla chips or as a sauce over enchiladas or tamales. 
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