In a saucepan, barely cover the meat with water, add the sliced onion, garlic and salt to taste, and cook gently until the meat is tender, about 50 minutes. Set aside to cool off in the broth, then drain and chop. Mix with the 1/4 cup of onion.
Divide the masa into 12 small balls and cover them with a cloth while you make the garnachas. Press one of the balls into a thickish circle about 3 inches in diameter and cook as you would a tortilla on an ungreased comal or griddle. Cover each cooked garnacha with a cloth while you cook the rest.
Melt half of the lard in a large skillet, place the garnachas in one layer in the pan, top each with a tablespoon of the meat mixture and a good teaspoon of the sauce, and cook gently flipping the lard over the surface of the garnachas from time to time for about 5 minutes. They should be slightly crispy on the bottom.
Set aside, cover and keep warm while you cook the rest. Sprinkle very lightly with the cheese and serve with the chilito on the side.
Chilito can also be used as a relish for cold meats or in sandwiches.
Makes 4 cups
2 pasilla de Oaxaca or 6 chipotle mora chiles
3 fresh jalapeno chiles
1 large carrot
3 cups finely shredded cabbage
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 medium white onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
1/3 cup pineapple vinegar or mild vinegar
salt to taste
Slit the pasilla chiles open and remove the seeds and veins. Douse quickly in hot water, wipe dry and clean. Tear them into several pieces. Slice the jalapenos crosswise without removing the seeds. Shave the carrot into think, broad ribbons with a potato peeler. Mix all of the ingredients together. The vinegar should just moisten, not drown, the ingredients. Set aside to season for about 1 hour.
Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator.