Carne Guisada (Stewed Beef)
Among the most recognizable dishes of my culture, carne guisada will cure what ails you. Beef is slowly braised with aromatic sofrito and tomatoes, producing a rich, delicious dish you’re likely to eat too much of. For those who have lived in Puerto Rican enclaves such as New York, Philadelphia, Chicago or Orlando, Fla., this is a daily staple at cafeteria-style lunch counters, as it is on the island. You can also use this recipe to make pollo guisado, equally popular and common, simply by using chicken and adjusting the cooking time accordingly.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 2teaspoons olive oil
- 2teaspoons white vinegar
- 2large garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1teaspoon dried oregano
- 1teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ½teaspoon black pepper
- 2to 3 pounds beef chuck roast or boneless short ribs (see Note), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1cup fresh sofrito
- 1tablespoon store-bought or homemade sazón
- 1 ½cups low-sodium beef broth (or water), plus more if needed
- 1(14.5-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
- 3dried bay leaves
- 1medium carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1large celery stalk, chopped
- 1pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
- Cooked white rice, for serving
Step 1Prepare the adobo: Combine the adobo ingredients in a small bowl, or blend in a large pilón or mortar and pestle.
Step 2Prepare the guisado: Pat meat dry and put in a medium lidded bowl or a resealable bag. Evenly coat with the adobo and let marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or in the refrigerator overnight.
Step 3Heat vegetable oil in a large lidded, heavy-bottomed pot over high. Working in batches as needed to prevent crowding, add beef, shaking loose any additional adobo beforehand. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, flipping often to brown evenly. Transfer meat to a clean bowl and set aside.
Step 4Lower heat to medium, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and pour in sofrito, adding olive oil as needed if the pan is too dry. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until liquid has evaporated.
Step 5Add sazón and sauté for 1 minute. Add the broth (or water), tomatoes and their juices, and bay leaves, and scrape up any browned bits using a wooden spoon.
Step 6Nestle meat into sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, then cover with a lid and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Step 7Add carrot and celery, and cook, covered, for 1 more hour, adding more water or broth if needed. At this stage, check the tenderness of the meat. It should start to get close to falling apart when pressed with the back of a spoon.
Step 8Add potatoes and cook, covered, for 30 minutes more, until meat and potatoes are cooked through and tender.
Step 9Adjust salt to taste, and serve on a plate or in a shallow bowl over a mound of white rice.