This recipe combines two signature ingredients of the Michoacán region of Mexico: pasilla chiles and tomatillos. The acidity from the tomatillos helps to break down and tenderize the brisket while it braises, while the chiles add a hearty dose of rich spicy flavor.

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 220 min

Total time: 240 min

Slow-Cooked Brisket in Pasilla Chile-Tomatillo Sauce
Copyright Recipe © 2015 Woodland Foods


Makes 6 to 8 servings

  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil, divided

  • 3 Ounces Granulated Pasilla Chiles, stemmed, seeded and cut along one side

  • 3 Cups Boiling Water

  • 1 Pound Tomatillos

  • 1 Small White Onion, peeled and cut into eighths

  • 5 Whole Cloves Garlic, unpeeled

  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Sea Salt Flakes, plus more to taste

  • 3 Pounds Trimmed Beef Brisket, cut into 2-inch chunks

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Korintje Cinnamon

  • 1 Cup Beef Stock

  • 1 Tablespoon Honey

  • 1/2 Cup White Onion, finely chopped, for garnish

  • Fresh Cilantro Leaves, for garnish

  • Corn Tortillas, for serving


  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Spread the granulated chiles onto the skillet and use a wooden spoon to move them around, toasting thorougly. When the chiles are very fragrant and slightly darker remove to a bowl. Pour boiling water over chiles, and soak 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat broiler and place tomatillos, onion chunks and unpeeled garlic on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for about 10 minutes, turning at least once. Tomatillos will turn olive-green, soft and mushy, with charred spots on skin. Onion should be softened and lightly charred at edges. If garlic begins to burn, remove before other ingredients. Remove sheet from oven.

  3. Set oven to 325°F.

  4. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy-bottomed lidded pan or Dutch oven. Season brisket with 1 teaspoon salt. Add single, uncrowded layer of brisket to pan, making sure all beef makes contact with bottom of pan. Sear until well-browned on all sides, transfer to plate and repeat with remaining brisket.

  5. Peel roasted garlic and transfer to blender along with chiles, roasted tomatillos and onions, cumin and cinnamon. Add about 1 cup chile soaking liquid and stock, and blend until smooth. Consistency should be thick, but flowing. If too thick, add more chile soaking liquid.

  6. Reheat oil and beef drippings in Dutch oven over medium heat. And add chile purée and use heat-resistant rubber spatula to fry purée until slightly thickened and turns shade or two darker, about 5 minutes.

  7. Add brisket to pan, cover and place in oven until beef is fork-tender, 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. If sauce gets too thick, stir in a bit of water and continue cooking.

  8. Remove brisket from oven, stir in honey, and adjust seasoning with salt to taste.

  9. Transfer to serving platter, and garnish with finely chopped onion and cilantro leaves. Serve with warmed corn tortillas.