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Carne Guajillo

3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 ounces dried chili peppers, stems & seeds removed
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/16 teaspoon ground cumin
1 3/4 to 2 cups beef broth, divided
4 tablespoons oil
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons salt, depending on saltiness of broth
3/4 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
3 6-ounce beef steaks cut about 1 inch thick
1/2 large red onion sliced 1/2 inch thick
cilantro for garnish

Place the unpeeled garlic in a heavy ungreased skillet or a griddle
over medium heat. Turn occasionally until soft--the skins will
blacken in spots. This takes about 15 minutes. Cool and peel.
While the garlic is roasting, toast the chilies in the other side
of the skillet or griddle. Open chilies flat; toast pressing down
firmly on them with a spatula; turn and toast the other side.
Place toasted chilies in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let
them rehydrate for 30 minutes. Stir frequently so all chilies get
soaked. Drain and discard water. Put the oregano, black pepper,
cumin, drained chilies, roasted garlic and 1/3 cup beef broth in
a food processor or blender. Blend to a smooth puree, scraping
and stirring every few seconds. Add a little more broth if needed
to facilitate blending. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into
a bowl. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy pot. When hot, add puree
and stir constantly until thickened. Stir in 1 1/2 cups broth,
partially cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add a little more broth, if needed to maintain sauce consistency.
Season to taste with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the sugar.

Mix 2 tablespoons of the sauce with the vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon
of salt in a dish. Place steaks in and turn to coat all sides.
Cover and refrigerate for an hour or so (but not more than four
hours). Preheat grill. Oil the grate; cook steaks 4 to 6 minutes
per side. Separate the onion into rings and toss with 2 to 3
teaspoons of oil, enough for light coat. Place on grill with the
steaks. Stir and turn until lightly browned, but still tender
crisp--6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the unused sauce. Serve
steaks with sauce spoon on and topped with the grilled onions.
Note: The sauce may be prepare a few days ahead.


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