6 pasilla chiles, veins and seeds removed
2 inch stick cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3-4 teaspoons salt
1.8kg beef brisket
2 medium white onions, sliced into 1cm rounds
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 handful epazote leaves, roughly chopped
My Mexico, p36, 83
Grind the spices and oregano together in a mortar or spice grinder.
Cover the chiles with hot water in a saucepan, simmer for 5 minutes, and set aside to soak for 5 minutes more. Drain reserving liquid for paste and cooking.
Put the soaked chiles into a blender, add the spices and oregano, and blend until smooth – add a little of the reserved chile liquid to release the blender blade, but do not dilute too much because the loose paste should coat the meat well.
If the brisket has a thick layer of fat you may want to trim some, and score through it into the meat.
Salt the meat well on both sides and coat with the chile paste. Cover and leave in a cool place or in the bottom of the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Line the bottom of a roasting pan with the sliced onion. Cover with a rack and place the meat on top. Add the remaining chile liquid to the pan. Add boiling water until the level of the liquid covers the onion.
Cover the roasting dish with aluminum foil and roast for 5 hours. Remove from the oven every hour to spoon the liquid over the meat. Cook uncovered for the final 30min to form a crust.
Set meat aside to cool. Shred to a medium texture – if the meat is too finely shredded, it will lose some of its flavor.
Put the onion and 2 cups of the liquid from the roasting pan into a blender, add the garlic, and blend until smooth.
Heat the oil in a skillet, add the sauce, and fry, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan from time to time to prevent sticking, until it is well seasoned and reduced a little, about 5 minutes. Add the shredded meat and salt if needed and continue cooking for a couple more minutes. All the sauce should be absorbed. Stir through the epazote and serve with fresh corn torillas.