RECIPE: Aguayón Estilo Oaxaqueño (Oaxacan Roast Beef)

This dish is simple yet elegant in its presentation and flavor profile. I compare it to the great braises of European cooking (i.e. Beef Bourguignon, Ragu) and but with the strong fruity profile of the Pasilla chile in the sauce that makes it truly Mexican. This recipe is loosely based on Diana Kennedy’s Aguayón Estilo Leonor from “The Essential Cuisines of Mexico.”

I plate this with blanched green beans and boiled turned potatoes. On the side serve with fresh corn tortillas, a salsa de chile de arbol, and a full bodied red wine (Bordeaux, Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Merlot.)

Serves 6


  • 2lbs beef roast (rump roast preferred)

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil

  • 3 pasilla chiles

  • 1 chile de arbol (optional, see note in Method)

  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted

  • 1/2 inch slice of bread (kaiser roll preferred)

  • 2 garlic cloves


  1. Salt and pepper every side of the pot roast before placing it in a dutch oven with hot olive oil. Brown on all sides and remove from heat leaving the juices and browned bits in the dutch oven.

  2. Open the chiles and remove the stem, seeds and veins. Toast the chiles over a comal until brown and blistered but not burnt. If you burn them, the sauce will become too bitter. If you want the sauce to be spicier, then use the chile de arbol as well, keeping the seeds intact but removing the stem. Soak the chiles for 10 minutes in water until ready to blend.

  3. Add the soaked chiles, tomatoes, toasted sesame seeds, slice of bread and garlic to a blender with 1.5 cups of water. Blend on varying speeds until smooth.

  4. Add this mixture to the dutch oven and cook for five minutes, adding more water as necessary. The sauce will splutter. Add the pot roast to the pan and fill the pot with water so that the beef is 3/4 submerged. Cover and simmer for 4 hours until tender on low heat.

  5. Remove the beef from the pan and allow to rest while the sauce reduces uncovered until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

  6. Arrange the beef with the green beans and boiled potatoes. Serve with warm tortillas and salsa.