Zacatecas cowboy stew: Puchero vaquero de Zacatecas
This stew, a product of Mexico's cattle ranches, originally utilized just about any part of the cow that was available, including the udders. It is a simple, tasty one-pot meal that reflects the lifestyle of the hard-working vaqueros, who often had to prepare their meals over a campfire.
- 3 1/2 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 1" cubes
- 3 tablespoons achiote paste, dissolved in 1 cup water
- 1 cup rice
- 4 ounces fideos or thin noodles
- 1 lb. chayotes, cut into cubes
- 1 lb. zucchini or crookneck squash, cut into cubes
- 1 bunch spinach, washed and chopped
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 5-6 güero or largo chiles in vinaigrette (available canned)
- Salt or powdered beef bouillon to taste
Place the meat in a large stockpot with 2 1/2 quarts water to cover.
Bring the meat to a boil, skim off any foam, and add the achiote dissolved in water.
Cook until the meat is tender, then add the rice, noodles and vegetables and cook another 20 minutes or until the rice is done.
Meanwhile, arrange the onion, cilantro and chiles on a platter, so that each diner may add condiments to taste.
Add salt or beef bouillon to the stew according to taste.
Serve in deep bowls, or serve the broth first, with rice and noodles, followed by the meat and vegetables.
The world's most versatile stew: Puchero