Shredded Beef in Guajillo Sauce


For Beef:
3 lbs skirt (“fajita”) steak
1 white onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves
2 Bay Leaves
1/4 tsp Black Peppercorns
3 Whole Allspice Berries
1 Whole Clove

For Sauce:
3/4 lb tomatoes (2 to 3 medium), quartered
3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp crushed Guajillo Chile
1/4 tsp Black Peppercorns
1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
3 Whole Allspice Berries
1 Whole Clove
1/2 Cup chopped white onion
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Pizza Flakes


Cook Beef:
Put all beef ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot, along with 1 teaspoon salt and enough water (about 2 quarts) to cover the beef. Simmer, partially covered, skimming foam (and adding more hot water if necessary to keep beef covered). Cook until beef is tender, about 2 hours.

Remove beef, allow to cool, and then shred with a fork.

Strain beef broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids, and skim off fat.

Make sauce:
Preheat broiler.

Toss tomatoes with 1 Tbsp oil in a 4-sided sheet (jelly roll) pan. Broil tomatoes in oven, 3 to 4 inches from heat source until softened and charred, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Toast guajillos, peppercorns, cumin seeds, allspice, and clove in a hot skillet over medium heat on the stove, stirring constantly, until spice mix is fragrant and a shade darker, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer toasted spices to a blender.

Purée in the blender toasted spices, broiled tomatoes, onion, garlic, 3 chiles de árbol, 2 cups broth, and 1 teaspoon salt until tomato-toasted spice mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes.

Tip: For a spicier sauce, add remaining 2 chiles de árbol and purée again.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp oil in cleaned heavy pot over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Slowly add sauce, stirring (it *will* spatter), and simmer, stirring frequently, 5 minutes.

Add shredded beef and 1 cup broth (reserve remainder for another use) and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until meat is heated through, about 5 minutes.