(Adapted from the "Today Show")
2 1/2 lbs. tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 large carrots, peeled and cut in half
1 small sweet onion, peeled and halved
3 bay leaves
14 whole black peppercorns
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 lbs. flank steak, cut into 1 inch x 1 inch cubes
5 dried Guajillo peppers, de-stemmed and seeded (I found these at Whole Foods)
5 cloves garlic
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 large white onion, chopped
1 lb. baby potatoes, quartered
Cilantro, for garnish
Flour or corn tortilla with cheddar cheese (quesadilla), on the side
I like to do all of the prep work on this dish at the beginning, so I start by peeling/husking the tomatillos and placing in a strainer. Run room temperature water over them to clean off all of the dirt. Peel the carrots, and cut in half. Chop the large white onion and set aside. Cut the flank steak into cubes (do not cut these too small or the steak will dry out while cooking). Quarter the potatoes.
Place cubed meat, bay leaves, peppercorns, sweet onion and carrots into a large Dutch oven. Using filtered water, pour enough into the pot to cover all of the ingredients. Sprinkle salt, to taste. Simmer over medium heat (semi-covered) until meat can be pulled apart with a fork (about 45 minutes).
While meat is cooking, use a separate Dutch oven (or large pot) to cook the tomatillos. Begin by de-stemming the dried Guajillo peppers (once the stems are cut off, the seeds basically fall right out) and then toasting them in the pot over medium heat. This only takes a minute; make sure to turn them often or they will burn. Add in the tomatillos, garlic and then cover with more filtered water. Cook until tomatillos become soft, cooked through and slightly blistered, about 25 minutes. Once cooked, drain the Dutch oven, saving the tomatillos, garlic and peppers. Transfer to a blender (I looooooove my Vitamix), add salt to taste, and blend away until totally puréed through!
Once meat is done cooking, drain the meat from the broth, reserving all of the cooking liquid. This is now your beef broth! Save it and then transfer the meat to a cutting board, plate or tray. Once cool enough to touch, start shredding apart with your fingers or a fork. Keep set aside.
Using the original Dutch oven (the one from the meat), heat to medium and add olive oil (about 2 tsp.). Cook the onions until soft and translucent (about 10 minutes), but first sprinkle with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Slowly add in the puréed tomatillo mixture and stir to combine with the onions. Add 3 cups of the reserved beef broth and season with a bit more salt. At this point, I like to simmer and stew soups for a long time, so do so for your desired length, but I would cook for at least 45 minutes on low. Add in the quartered potatoes and simmer until cooked through. About 10 minutes before serving, add the shredded beef back into the stew.
Serve in large bowls and top with chopped cilantro and an oozy gooey cheese quesadilla on the side.