Mole de Olla (Beef Stew in a Pot)

This recipe is one of my mom’s favorites, which should speak for itself as to its flavor. It is an authentic Mexican recipe that reminds my father of meals he ate while growing up. Traditionally, the soup is cooked in an “olla” or clay pot that sits over a wood burning fire. My father claims the wood-burning fire adds another dimension to the soup. Fortunately, you can make this recipe in a regular pot and it will still taste great and authentic. With lean beef and plenty of vegetables, it’s not only healthy, but very filling. It is the perfect meal for a cold winter day. The best part is that it tastes better the next day and heats up well so you can make it on Sunday to enjoy during the week, or make it the night before a party or other event and simply heat it up when your guests arrive. If you serve smaller portions, pair it with cornbread or tortillas to make a complete and hearty meal. I hope you enjoy this popular Barajas family recipe!

Ingredients (Serves 8-12)

  • 2 lbs beef stew meat, cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups beef stock, divided as in directions
  • 1/4 cup snipped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 14.5 ounce can chopped tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 medium onion, cut up
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 medium zucchini or summer squash, cut up (1 pound)
  • 3 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 ears fresh corn, cut in 1-inch pieces

Approx. cooking time: 2 hours (but worth it!)

1. In large pot, brown pieces of meat in two batches. Then return meat to pot and add 1 1/2 cups water, and 1 1/2 cup beef stock, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

2. In a blender, place 1/2 cup beef broth, tomatoes (not drained), onion, sesame seeds, garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, and cumin. Blend till smooth. Add to beef mixture along with squash, potatoes, and corn. Cover and simmer 25 to 30 minutes or until meat is tender and vegetables are done. Garnish with parsley

After blending

3. Can be made a day in advance and easily reheated before serving.

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