|3 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes||1 to 2 limes|
|2 medium onions, 1 quartered and 1 diced||1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)|
|9 cloves garlic, 6 smashed and peeled, and 3 minced, divided||1/4 cup cilantro, cleaned and chopped|
|15 sprigs thyme||Salt and pepper to taste|
|2 dried ancho chile peppers||Queso fresco (Mexican cheese) or feta cheese, crumbled, to garnish|
|salt||Cilantro leaves, cleaned and picked, to garnish|
|2 tablespoons olive oil||Sour cream, to garnish|
|1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce||Diced tomatoes, to garnish|
|3 dried chipotle peppers, finely ground||Lime wedges, to garnish|
|12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, or more, if desired||Vegetable oil spray or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil|
Put beef cubes, quartered onion, 6 smashed garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, ancho chile peppers, 1 tablespoon salt and 7 cups of water in a Dutch oven, and turn heat on to high. Bring just to a boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
While beef is stewing, prepare the tostadas. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray both sides of the tortillas with vegetable oil. (You can also use a pastry brush to apply the oil.) Arrange tortillas in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Place a wire rack upside down on top of each sheet of tortillas to keep them flat while they bake. Bake in the oven until just browned and crisp, about 12 to 14 minutes, switching the position of the sheets on the racks halfway through for even baking.
To make the guacamole, halve the avocadoes and remove seeds. Scoop out avocadoes with a spoon and place in a mixing bowl. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and squeeze lime juice from 1 lime over the avocadoes. Mash avocadoes using a fork, being careful not to over-mash. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently. Add more lime juice to taste. Fold in cilantro and jalapeno. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure to press the wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole to help prevent oxidation. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Prep the rest of the garnishes and refrigerate until ready to serve.
When beef is tender, drain liquid from the Dutch oven, making sure to reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid. Discard the onion, garlic and thyme. Add the beef back to the Dutch oven and shred into pieces using a potato masher or 2 forks.
In a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil. When oil is hot, add the shredded beef and diced onion, and cook until browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir often. Add 1 minced garlic clove and cook for about 1 minute.
Add tomato sauce, reserved cooking liquid and chipotle powder to the pan. Stir, then reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid has cooked out, about 6 or 7 minutes.
Set out garnishes and guacamole. Spoon some of the shredded beef onto each tostada and serve.
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