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1. In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker combine meat, tomato sauce, the 1/2 cup water, the chile peppers, cumin seeds, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F; grease a very large baking sheet and set aside. To prepare chalupas, in a medium bowl combine masa harina, the 1 cup cheese, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a large bowl beat lard and egg yolk with an electric mixer on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy. Alternately add masa mixture and the 1 cup warm water to beaten mixture, beating until a soft dough forms. (If necessary, add a little more warm water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make a soft dough that is easy to handle.)
3. Shape dough into 32 smooth balls, using a tablespoon of dough for each ball. Place balls 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Flatten each ball to a 2 3/4-inch circle; build up edges slightly. Bake, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until chalupas are set and bottoms are lightly browned.*
4. Meanwhile, using a slotted spoon, remove meat from cooker. Cool until easy to handle. Strain and reserve cooking liquid. Using two forks, pull meat apart into shreds; stir in enough of the strained cooking liquid to moisten. (At this point, you can cover and chill the shredded meat mixture and strained cooking liquid until needed, up to 3 days.*
5. To serve, spoon shredded meat mixture atop chapulas. If desired, serve with assorted toppings. Makes 32 chalupas