Traditional Tejano Carne Guisada (Braised Beef for Tacos)

Ingredients:

  • salt and pepper
  • oil
  • 2-3 pounds cheap steak or roast, chopped into bite size pieces*
  • 1 large onion, chopped well
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 or 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons good quality beef bullion
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

 

Instructions:

Stovetop Instructions:
    1. Heat a large, high-sided skillet (or a wide-bottomed pot), over medium high heat.
    2. Salt and pepper the beef chunks.
    3. Add about a tablespoon of oil to the pan and swirl. It should start to shimmer if the pan is hot enough.
    4. Add 1/3 of the seasoned meat to the pan. Place the pieces of meat so that they are not touching each other. Turn the pieces with tongs to brown all sides. Remove to a plate and repeat 2 more batches, adding more oil as necessary.
    5. Remove the final batch of meat, then add the onions to the pan, adding more oil first if there is none left.
    6. Saute the onions over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, or until mostly cooked through. Do your best to scrape up the browned bits.
    7. Return the meat to the pan. Add the water, tomato sauce, garlic powder, salt**, beef bullion, pepper, and cumin.
    8. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. You want there to be some movement. If the mixture is completely still, turn it up a little. I had my burner set just below medium.
    9. Simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is tender and the gravy has thickened. Stir occasionally.
    10. To serve authentically, put the meat, some rice, cheese, and guacamole in a warm flour tortilla.
    11. It’s important to note that this is not a shredded beef recipe; “Carne Guisada” literally means “Stewed Beef” so you want it to be just like beef stew, but without any veggies.
Slow Cooker Instructions:
  1. Don’t add 3 cups of water! Read on:
  2. Brown the meat and saute the onion as instructed above. Add the meat and onion to a crock pot. In a glass measuring bowl, measure out 1/4 cup HOT water. Add the beef bouillon and dissolve. Add the tomato sauce, garlic powder, salt**, pepper, and cumin to the measuring cup. Stir and combine, then pour over the meat in the crock pot, stirring to coat.
  3. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
  4. Remove the lid for the last half hour of cook time, and turn the heat up to high. This is to burn off some of the excess liquid. If it’s at a consistency you like, you can skip that step.
  5. It’s important to note that this is not a shredded beef recipe; “Carne Guisada” literally means “Stewed Beef” so you want it to be just like beef stew, but without any veggies.
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