You Will Need:
-1 1/2 lbs. beef (I used chuck, but any slow cooking meat will do fine) cubed.
-1/2 onion, sliced.
-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed.
-2 teaspoons salt.
-1 tablespoon pepper
-1 tablespoon cumin
-4 tablespoons ground ancho chilies
-4 tablespoons shortening, or lard
Cut the meat into 2 inch chunks and brown with 2 tablespoons of shortening in a heavy bottomed pan. When brown, add enough water to cover meat. Add onions and garlic and simmer until tender-2-3 hours.
While the meat simmers, grind the chilies. When the meat is tender, separate the meat from broth reserving liquid, but straining out garlic and onion. Shred the meat.
Heat 2 tablespoons shortening in a heavy skillet (cast iron works great if you have one). Add the chilies and cumin and stir into a paste. Add the meat and fry 2-3 minutes. Add reserved broth and simmer until reduced. This will take at least an hour, so don't despair if it seems like the liquid is not reducing-it will. Resist the urge to boil it. The final mixture will have a somewhat liquid consistency.
Let cool while you prepare the masa, or make ahead and store tightly covered in the icebox. This recipe will make more than enough for a couple nights of tamales, or leftover can be used as a burrito filling.