Carne Guisada – This Mexican beef stew is oozing with lots of flavors from herbs and spices. Every bite of this tender and juicy beef is an explosion of savory flavors and delectable goodness. The thick and rich sauce dripping over the warm rice is gorgeously enticing, with spiciness not too overpowering.
A Go-To Comfort Food. Carne Guisada is one of the comfort foods I love eating especially when it’s a little cold outside. The level of spiciness is enough to keep you warm and enjoy the weather more.
This fork-tender and juicy beef with thick sauce enriched with herbs and spices really take the dish to a higher level. I love how the spiciness complimented the whole dish.
Serve it with rice or Homemade Tortillas and you’ll have an extraordinary meal your family will surely enjoy.
What is Carne Guisada?
It is a dish originally from Puerto Rico which later has been adapted into Tex-Mex cuisine. The word Carne is a Spanish word for meat while Guisada means stew.
This stew uses beef chuck or a round part of the beef. It must be cooked low and slow to achieve its fork-tender meat and thick flavorful sauce. This process makes the less expensive cut of the beef maximize its flavor into rich and delectable tasting beef.
Though Carne literally means meat, beef is still the best choice for the best Guisada Recipe. The other ingredients you will be needing are:
- Sazon Seasoning (optional) – has a distinct savory taste and very palatable in flavor.
- All-purpose Flour – This pantry must-have isn’t just for baking, it’s also great for many savory dishes.
- Vegetable Oil – mostly used for sauteing and to prevent the beef from sticking to the pan while searing.
- Onion – This veggie is great served fresh with its tangy flavor. I personally love it slightly caramelized for a bit of sweetness
- Garlic – Whether you use it fresh, dried, or powdered, this gives your whole dish a mouthwatering aroma
- Cumin – has earthy, pungent, and mildly bitter taste but makes any dish flavorful
- Oregano Spice – is an herb with a pungent smell and taste but creates lovely flavors when added to a dish
- Chili Powder – although it says chili powder, surprisingly it is not as hot as you imagined. It is actually a spice blend that has an earthy, mildly spicy, and has a pungent taste to it.
- Tomato – has a perfect blend of natural acid and sweetness ideal for stew.
- Beef Broth – gives delectable and savory beefy flavor to the sauce.
- Water – essential to make the beef tender and juicy.
- Serrano Pepper – very similar to jalapeno but spicier and hotter.
- Cilantro – has a fresh citrusy flavor very similar to parsley.
- Salt – intensifies the flavor of any dish.
- Pepper – together with salt, they give a flavor boost to any dish.
Make it Vegan. Just replace the beef with mushrooms. I suggest using mushrooms that have a chewy and meaty texture like:
- Portobello – has a chewy and meaty texture with a smoky, earthy flavor.
- Oyster – very mild in flavor, tastes like seafood with a subtle woody taste.
- Shiitake Mushrooms – the most common mushroom added in Asian dishes, it has a rich, buttery, and meaty flavor.
Note: Common mushrooms and canned mushrooms work great as well.
You can also substitute beef with meats like:
- Chicken – more kid-friendly, because it is soft and more chewable.
- Pork – cheaper and with less cooking time compared to beef.
- Lamb – has a distinct gamy taste, stronger than beef.
Note: The taste will be different but don’t worry it will still be equally savory and delicious because of the spices.
You can use Jalapeno if you want to cut down a bit on the spiciness.
One of the secrets of my Carne Guisada Recipe is the Sazon Seasoning. If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, you can just follow my recipe and make your own.
This Beef Guisado is a perfect filling for your tacos and burritos. Take it to the next level and make it more “comfort-foody” by adding:
- Guacamole – avocado base with a buttery texture and has a mild sweet flavor.
- Sour Cream – a condiment ideal for Mexican treats like tacos and burritos, the sourness balances the saltiness of the dish.
- Cheddar Cheese – add richness and creaminess to Mexican goodies.
Hearty Filling with a little more nutrition-conscious Carne Guisada by adding
- Potatoes – a versatile veggie that can easily absorb any flavors.
- Carrots – like potatoes are ideal for stews because of their unique distinct taste.
- Bell peppers – have a hint of bitter taste, however, become sweet when cooked.
Aaaah! So good! I can eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner… No judgment, please! 😉
Storage and Making Ahead Instructions
- A day before. It’s actually best to make the stew a day before. It allows more time for the beef to absorb all the lovely flavors of broth and spices.
- Using a Crockpot or Slow Cooker. Put the beef first in the crockpot and set it aside. In a separate bowl, mix all the other ingredients (spices and broth) and pour over the meat. Make sure that the beef is evenly covered. Cook in a low setting for 10-12 hours. And If you’re going to serve it on the same day, cook it in a high setting for 4-6 hours.
- Cool at room temperature – before transferring to a dry and clean container with a lid.
Refrigerating and Freezing
- Fridge. Can be stored inside the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezer. Stays fresh for up to 3 months when frozen.
Note: Thaw the frozen stew overnight inside the fridge.
- Stovetop. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes, covered. Stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Microwave. Heat on high for 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute.
Note: Do the same when storing and reheating leftovers.
To make it more fancy and enticing, pair it with the following side dishes and you’ll surely have an enjoyable entrée.
- Potato Croquettes
- Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
- Garlic Knots Bread
- Homemade Tortillas
- Easy Homemade Guacamole
More Meaty Mexican Dishes
How to Make Carne Guisada?
Season the Beef
- Add the beef and season – Add beef to a large bowl then season with salt, pepper, and Sazon seasoning. Lightly flour with about 3 tablespoons flour. (Photos 1-2)
Saute the Beef
- Heat the skillet and add the beef – Heat a large skillet or pot on medium-high heat and pour the vegetable oil. Add the beef and brown on both sides. (Photo 3)
- Saute – As soon as beef browns up add garlic and onions, sauté for about 2-3 minutes. (Photo 4)
Cook the Beef Until Tender
- Add tomatoes and stock – Stir in diced tomatoes, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. (Photos 5-6)
- Add water – Pour in water and/or beef stock and mix well making sure every inch of the pot has been closed. (Photo 7)
- Boil and add seasoning – Bring to a boil, cover pan, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 1 ½ hour, or until meat is tender. Throw in diced serrano and continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Add in cilantro to taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve with rice and or tortillas. (Photo 8)
- 2 pounds stew beef, cut into chunks
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 Teaspoons Sazon seasoning or more (optional)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2-3 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1-2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano spice
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 serrano pepper, slightly toasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- Add beef to a large bowl then season with salt, pepper, and sazon seasoning (optional). Lightly flour with about 3 tablespoons flour.
- Heat a large skillet or pot on medium-high heat and pour the vegetable oil. Add the beef and brown on both sides. As soon as beef browns up add garlic and onions, sauté for about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in diced tomatoes, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in water and/or beef stock and mix well making sure every inch of the pot has been closed.
- Bring to a boil, cover pan, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 1 ½ hour, or until meat is tender. Throw in diced serrano pepper and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add in cilantro to taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Serve with rice and or tortillas.
Tips & Notes:
- Choose the beef with lots of marbling. Leaner cuts of beef tend to come out dry and extremely chewy.
- Low and slow is the way to go to achieve fork-tender meat.
- Make sure there is enough water or beef broth to cover the beef, simmer on low fire for 1 ½ hour, covered.
- Use a pressure cooker if you want to shorten the cooking time.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only. Please keep in mind that it is a rough estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary greatly based on the products used.