Carne guisada, which translated means beef stew, is a Latin dish that originated in Puerto Rico and has been adapted in one form or another into Mexican and/or Tex-Mex cuisine.
The chief difference in each region is the way the gravy is made. I won’t bore you with the details, simply put, it’s beef stew on steroids. Stewed beef and potatoes in a rich chili-like gravy served over rice with just a touch of cheese to smooth the edges. I had it for the first time at a fair in Fort Worth; we were down working a longhorn show, and I went to the dreaded food truck for lunch.
The version I had that day was plopped on a huge flour tortilla and wrapped up to go. Over the course of that show, I bet I had six of these amazing little gut bombs.
I have now been on a search for the perfect carne guisada for about 20 years, and I have to say this one comes pretty close.
3 lbs stew meat
1 tbs bacon grease
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 can tomato sauce, 8 oz
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 tbs chili powder
11/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbs flour
2 lbs diced potatoes
In a large pan or dutch oven, brown stew meat, onions and green pepper on high heat. This will sear the meat and caramelize the onions, as well as soften the peppers.
In a stock pot, bring potatoes to boil. You want them almost done, but not quite. A fork will slide in, but the chunk will not fall off the fork. Remove from heat, strain and set aside.
Add tomato sauce, chicken stock and spices to the browned meat and onions. Mix well and bring to a boil.
Cover pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 11/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Add potatoes, stir in flour and allow to simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
You can serve this dish with rice, if you like, but the most important rule is a warm flour tortilla. Don’t skimp on this.
You can find them at a Mexican market or even Brookshire Brothers (you can ask for them at the bakery).
You may need to add a little more chicken stock as it cooks depending on how soupy you prefer it. As always have fun with it. Make it your own and let me know what you think.