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Carne Asada con Guajillo


  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 ounces dried chiles guajillos, stems and seeds removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 3/4 to 2 cups beef broth, divided
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt, depending on saltiness of broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 3 (6 ounce) beef steaks cut about 1 inch thick
  • 1/2 large red onion sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • Cilantro for garnish

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  1. Place the unpeeled garlic in a heavy ungreased skillet or a griddle over medium heat. Turn occasionally until soft - the skins will blacken in spots. This takes about 15 minutes. Cool and peel.
  2. While the garlic is roasting, toast the chiles in the other side of the skillet or griddle.
  3. Open chiles flat; toast pressing down firmly on them with a spatula; turn and toast the other side. Place toasted chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them rehydrate for 30 minutes. Stir frequently so all chiles get soaked. Drain and discard water.
  4. Put the oregano, black pepper, cumin, drained chiles, roasted garlic and 1/3 cup beef broth in a food processor or blender. Blend to a smooth puree, scraping and stirring every few seconds. Add a little more broth if needed to facilitate blending. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy pot. When hot, add puree and stir constantly until thickened. Stir in 1 1/2 cups broth, partially cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little more broth, if needed to maintain sauce consistency. Season to taste with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the sugar.
  6. Mix 2 tablespoons of the sauce with the vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a dish.
  7. Place steaks in and turn to coat all sides. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or so (but not more than 4 hours).
  8. Heat grill.
  9. Oil the grate; cook steaks 4 to 6 minutes per side.
  10. Separate the onion into rings and toss with 2 to 3 teaspoon of oil, enough for light coat. Place on grill with the steaks. Stir and turn until lightly browned, but still tender crisp - 6 to 8 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, heat the unused sauce.
  12. Serve steaks with sauce spoon on and topped with the grilled onions.

The sauce may be prepared a few days ahead.