Hello all! One of my all-time favorite Mexican dishes is carne guisada — it is basically beef stew meat that is slow cooked with spices in a gravy. While carne guisada has always been a go-to dish for me I have stayed away from it for the last few years. I adore a good carne guisada plate or taco, but knowing that the gravy is made with white flour I usually opt for the fajitas instead.
In the spirit of upcoming Cinco de Mayo I wanted to re-create one of my favorites — with hope that I could pull off the gravy component without flour. I decided to incorporate arrowroot flour, as I have used it in the past as a thickening agent. Arrowroot has an extremely bland flavor, so I knew that it would not compromise the overall spices in the dish. Perfect!
How do you enjoy
your carne guisada?
Traditionally carne guisada is served with flour tortillas, which I personally refuse to think that corn tortillas can be substituted here. It’s just not the same. Corn tortillas (being gluten free) I can get on board with at times for fajita tacos or whatever — but carne guisada is just a completely different animal. You can eat it with whatever type of tortilla you prefer as a taco, scoop it up (which is how we do it)…or you can eat it with rice, cauliflower rice, go for a more Cuban flare and eat it spooned over fried plantains….or you can just eat it right out of the bowl. Top with avocado if you’d like. Some people eat their carne guisada with cheese…but I always thought that was super weird. However you like to enjoy yours — you can’t beat the richness of flavor and tender meat that this dish brings home.
**Note for Palm Shortening — For searing the meat you want an oil/fat that will hold up to a higher temperature. Olive oil won’t do this. Coconut oil is fine, but it would need to be unrefined (the refined version will smoke a lot). Bacon fat will work, but will lend a different flavor. Lard would really be your best option here, in my case I had palm shortening on hand which worked well.
**Note for Cooking Time — In this recipe I opt to cook the meat in the oven for nearly 2 hours. This method does allow the meat to reach ultimate tenderness, but you can definitely simmer it on the stovetop for only 30 minutes. Your meat may not get as tender, but if you’re pressed for time it’s an option.
**Note for Chuck Roast — I prefer to buy an entire chuck roast and then cube it up myself. I have noticed that when you buy “stew meat” at the grocery store it is usually very lean and dries out a lot easier. If you start with the full chuck roast not only will you get more meat for your $$, but it will have much more marbling — and that means?…more flavor!
- 1 tbsp. organic palm shortening
- 2-1/2 lb. beef chuck roast, cubed
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded & chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp. arrowroot powder
- 2 tbsp. water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- After your beef is cubed up season it generously with salt and pepper.
- Melt the palm shortening in an oven-proof dutch oven or skillet (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Give it some time to make sure it’s nice and hot.
- Add your beef cubes and sear on all sides (about 4 minutes).
- With a slotted spoon transfer the browned beef to a bowl. To the same skillet add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes or until fragrant.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the tomato paste, all spices, and chicken stock.
- Add the beef back to the skillet along with your chicken stock mixture. Stir to combine.
- Cover with a lid and place in the oven for an hour and a half.
- Once the time is up — return the skillet to the stovetop over medium heat.
- In a small bowl whisk the tablespoon of arrowroot powder and the tablespoons of water together.
- Slowly add this mixture to your carne guisada while stirring. It will start to thicken pretty quickly, but you can continue to cook it until it reaches your desired consistency.
When ready to serve — garnish with some fresh cilantro or avocado. Let me tell you, it’s really difficult to make a big bowl of brown look good in pictures. Don’t let these pics fool you — the flavor is REAL!