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Shredded Red Chile Meat

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Makes About 3 cups 1x

Time 2 hours or more

Units Scale


  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, pork shoulder, lamb shoulder, or chicken thigh meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 dried guajillo chiles, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 dried ancho chiles, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne (optional)


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine all the ingredients except the cayenne. Add water to cover and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that comes to the surface. Partly cover, and adjust the heat so that the mixture bubbles steadily; cook until the meat is very tender, 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Transfer the meat to a bowl, reserving the cooking liquid. When the meat is cool, shred it with your fingers. Transfer the garlic, onion, and chiles (discard the bay leaf) to a blender along with a splash of the cooking liquid. Blend until smooth. Add the sauce to the meat and toss. Taste, adding a little cayenne if you want it spicier; you may want to over-season the meat slightly if you’re using it as a filling. Use, or store in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to a few months.

— Recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix