This recipe is super special to me because it landed me a spot as a finalist in the 2006 Southern Living Cook-Off. And I have to give credit to my bilingual hubby for helping me come up with the title. When I was writing the recipe, I was brainstorming about what to call this dish. Beef tips just didn’t seem creative enough, so I asked my husband to give me a Spanish word that meant “pieces or chunks.” He shot out a few of them, but when he mentioned “pedazos”, it had a nice ring to it, so I put it all together in one twelve word title, called it a day, and sent it in. A couple of months later I got the call that I would be competing in Charleston, South Carolina for $100,000. No, I didn’t win (click here for the yummy recipe that won that year) but as always, I met wonderful people and had the time of my life. (One of the people I competed with is now a blogger too. Here is her delicious category winning recipe, FYI.)
So this meal is comfort food with a little bit of Southwestern spice. The mashed potatoes, if I do say so myself, are to die for. They are jazzed up with roasted corn and garlic, a little chipotle and lots of cilantro. The tender chunks of beef are swimming in a gravy flavored with chili powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, and chipotle. This is really a soul-warming winter meal.
Here are my notes:
-If you can’t find Mexican oregano, regular oregano will work just fine.
-The chipotle seasoning, as all the seasoning, can be adjusted to your liking. I don’t like things too spicy, so this amount is good for me. Just stir all the seasonings together in the flour, add water, and whisk until smooth. This mixture is poured into the beef broth with the meat and it will thicken to a rich sauce/gravy as it cooks.
-This is important–you will need to stir the meat every 15-20 minutes or it will stick. I promise that it will.
-If you have a hard time finding fresh corn, you can use frozen. I did.
-I HATE peeling potatoes. And I love the texture of the skins in mashed potatoes, so I leave them unpeeled. I used golden skin potatoes this time, but I have used red skin in the past.
-I would really love to try this with venison. In fact, if I can find another venison ham in my freezer (hubby hasn’t killed one this year yet to restock our freezer and I am almost out of last year’s supply), I will try this soon.
-Roasting garlic is a cinch, so if you’ve never done it, try it. The flavor it gives mashed potatoes is unbelievable.