Carne Guisada

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Carne guisada (beef stew made from beef chuck or round that is slowly cooked at low heat until tender) on a white plate with white rice.

Credit: Laura Manzano

Any stew only gets better the day after (and the day after!), and carne guisada is no exception. This satisfying beef stew is a Latin American classic. Every country that makes it — Puerto Rico, Colombia, Dominican Republic — has a version that’s slightly different from the other. This recipe is influenced by both a Dominican friend of mine and my Dominican father — both talented chefs with lots to intel to share.

What Is Carne Guisada Made Of?

Probably the most appealing thing about this recipe (aside from it being delicious and delightfully hands-off!) is that the meat that’s best for a long stew is typically very inexpensive. Beef chuck comes from the shoulder or upper neck area of the cow, and can be quite tough unless you braise it. Cooking it low and slow will work wonders — especially after allowing it to marinate for some time in lime juice, garlic, and lots of seasoning.

A unique yet important step is to caramelize brown sugar in oil before adding the marinated meat to the pot. This helps the stew become deeply browned and rich, while also balancing the flavor that comes from the lime juice and garlic. 

What’s the Difference Between Carne Guisada and Carne Asada?

Although their names rhyme, carne guisada is a stew, while carne asada refers to steak that has been marinated and grilled in the Mexican tradition. Both taste great with tortillas, though! 

What to Serve Carne Guisada With 

For me, the choice is obvious: Short grain rice all the way. Don’t forget plenty of fresh lime, and large handfuls of cilantro. A side of tostones wouldn’t hurt, either!

Carmelizing brown sugar is the secret trick to making this carne guisada rich and browned.

Ingredients

  • 1

    (3-pound) boneless beef chuck roast

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 2

    medium limes

  • 2 (0.4-ounce) cubes

    chicken bouillon

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 2

    large green bell peppers

  • 1

    large yellow onion

  • 1 cup

    pimento stuffed manzanilla olives

  • 1 cup

    fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons

    tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 (32-ounce) carton

    low-sodium beef broth (4 cups)

  • 1/2 cup

    drained capers

  • Cooked rice, for serving

Instructions

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same large bowl as you complete it: Cut 3 pounds beef chuck into 2-inch pieces. No need to trim the fat — some fat is preferred! Finely chop 4 garlic cloves. Finely grate the zest of 2 medium limes until you have 1 teaspoon; juice the limes until you have 3 tablespoons. Crumble in 2 (0.4-ounce) chicken bouillon cubes.

  2. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Toss and stir until well combined and the beef is well seasoned. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes and up to 2 hours. Meanwhile, cut the zested lime into wedges. Trim 2 large green bell peppers, then cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Thinly slice 1 large yellow onion. Coarsely chop 1 cup pimento-stuffed manzanilla olives. Finely chop 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, and chop more for garnish if desired.

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar and cook until slightly caramelized, about 1 minute. Add the marinated beef (leave the excess liquid behind in the bowl) and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently, until beef is slightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the bell pepper, onions, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are slightly wilted, about 10 minutes more.

  4. Add 1 (32-ounce) carton low-sodium beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, maintaining a gentle simmer and stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. (The beef will not be tender.) Uncover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender and the liquid is reduced by about a third, about 1 hour more.

  5. Add the olives, cilantro, and 1/2 cup capers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and becomes a deep brown, about 40 minutes. Serve with rice, lime wedges, and more cilantro if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating over medium heat.

Laura Manzano

Contributor

Laura Manzano is a recipe developer, food stylist, personal chef, and occasional writer living in Brooklyn. Her favorite food is all sandwiches.

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