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Caldillo Duranguense: A Taste of Durango’s Culinary Heritage

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Caldillo Duranguense is a hearty and flavorful stew that originates from the state of Durango in northern Mexico. Known for its robust flavors and use of local ingredients, this dish exemplifies the rustic and traditional cuisine of the region. Caldillo typically refers to a stew or broth, and in this context, it features tender beef simmered with a variety of vegetables and spices, creating a comforting and satisfying meal that is perfect for family gatherings or casual dinners.

Ingredients

For the Stew:
  • 1 pound beef chuck roast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups beef broth or water
For Garnish (optional):
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Lime wedges
  • Sliced radishes
  • Avocado slices

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Beef:
    • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
    • Add the beef pieces and cook until browned on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
  2. Sauté the Aromatics:
    • In the same pot, add the chopped onion and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
    • Add the minced garlic and jalapeño pepper, and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Simmer the Stew:
    • Return the browned beef to the pot. Add the diced tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, dried oregano, ground cumin, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
    • Pour in the beef broth or water, ensuring that the ingredients are fully submerged.
    • Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beef and vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded together.
  4. Serve:
    • Remove the bay leaf from the stew and discard.
    • Ladle the Caldillo Duranguense into bowls. Garnish with chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, sliced radishes, and avocado slices, if desired.
    • Serve hot with warm tortillas or crusty bread on the side.

Tips for Serving

  • Consistency: Adjust the thickness of the stew by adding more broth or water if desired.
  • Spice Level: Increase or decrease the amount of jalapeño pepper to adjust the spiciness according to your preference.
  • Storage: Caldillo Duranguense tastes even better the next day as the flavors continue to develop. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Variations

  • Vegetarian Option: Replace the beef with mushrooms or extra-firm tofu for a vegetarian version of Caldillo Duranguense.
  • Slow Cooker Method: For added convenience, prepare the stew in a slow cooker. Brown the beef and sauté the aromatics as directed, then transfer everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until tender.
  • Additions: Experiment with adding corn kernels, bell peppers, or chayote squash to enhance the flavors and textures of the stew.

Conclusion

Caldillo Duranguense captures the essence of traditional Mexican cuisine with its hearty beef stew infused with aromatic spices and fresh vegetables. This dish not only nourishes the body but also satisfies the soul with its comforting flavors and rustic charm. Whether enjoyed on a chilly evening or as a centerpiece for a festive gathering, Caldillo Duranguense is sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire. Embrace the flavors of Durango and savor the rich heritage of Mexican cooking with every spoonful of this delightful stew.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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