Durango Beef Stew: Caldillo Duranguense

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

Mexican Kitchen

This is probably the most famous dish to come from the state of Durango, and can be prepared with beef, pork, or the dried, shredded meat called machaca. If made with beef, a cut called bola, rump, is usually used, but I have gotten better results with filet. When using pork, I use pierna, leg, rather than loin, since the pork in Mexico is usually quite lean. Although traditionally made with tomatillos, an equal amount of tomatoes can be substituted.


  • 8 ancho chiles, seeded and deveined
  • ¾ pound tomatillos, husks removed
  • 2 tablespoons corn oil
  • 2 ½ pounds beef filet, cut into ½” cubes
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups beef stock


Place the chiles in a saucepan with water to cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until softened. Drain and place in a blender container.

Cook the tomatillos with water to cover until soft. Drain, add to the blender container with the chiles and 1 ½ cups water, and puree until smooth.

Heat the corn oil in a large pot or clay cazuela, add the beef, onion, garlic and salt, and fry until golden brown. Add the flour and cumin and continue to brown, stirring constantly to prevent the flour from sticking, for about 5 minutes.

Add the pureed chile-tomato mixture and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes. Add the oregano and stock, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender. The gravy should be soupy. Serve in bowls, accompanied by flour tortillas. Serves 6-8.

Published or Updated on: July 1, 2006 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2008
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