Thursday, January 14, 2010

Carne Guisada (Mexican Pot Roast)

Carne guisada, which translates to “meat in gravy,” is probably more "Tex-Mex" than authentic Mexican, but it's darned good anyway. This recipe calls for a whole chuck roast, but you can cube up a big chunk of meat if you like and turn it into a stew instead. Either way, this is a great way to cook tough cuts of meat, since cooking it slow and low with plenty of herbs and spices turns it into a fork-tender wonder of deliciousness. When you need a good comfort food, this is hard to beat. And the best part about it is that it only takes one pot, and once you've put it on simmer you can slouch yourself into a hammock and read a good book while it cooks.

Recipes for carne guisada vary not just from region to region but from household to household. Everyone has their own version. This one is mine. I hope you like it.

Serves about 6

  • 3lb. chuck or bottom round roast
  • Enough all purpose flour to lightly coat roast
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. adobo sauce from the can
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 to 3 cups beef broth or water
  • 1 (12 oz.) bottle of dark Mexican beer such as Negro Modelo
  • 1 (14.05 oz) can diced, stewed or whole tomatoes (I like Hunts Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Garlic, but any kind will do)

Rub salt and pepper into all sides of the roast, then dredge in flour until completely covered. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil over medium high heat in a large pot or a Dutch oven that has a tight fitting lid.

Add the roast and sear until nicely browned on all sides, about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove roast to a platter and set aside.

Still over medium high heat, add the onions, chipotle pepper and cumin and saute for for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent but not brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Deglaze the pan at this point by pouring 1/2 cup of beef broth or water into the hot pan and stir to loosen the yummy brown carmelized bits of meat and juice stuck to the bottom of the pan. Those bits add a lot of flavor to the finished product!

Add the roast back to the pan, along with the beer, adobo sauce, diced tomatoes, cloves, chili powder, oregano, 1/2 tsp. salt, and enough beef stock or water to come about halfway up the sides of the roast. Turn up the heat to high, bring to a boil and then turn heat down to low and simmer, tightly covered, for 4 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally. The beef will be falling-apart tender, with a savory gravy to accompany it.

Using a couple of forks, tear it into serving sized chunks and serve in bowls with gravy ladled over the top. You can add vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, etc. during the last half hour or so of cooking if you want to, but I like mine plain with a salad on the side and some hot fresh tortillas for sopping up the sauce.

If you have any leftovers, carne quisada is wonderful wrapped up in flour tortillas for tacos or burritos, or added to scrambled eggs for breakfast. What's your recipe for Carne Guisada?

Buen Provecho! If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)


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