This dish has many names throughout Latin America. Cubans call it boliche or carne para mechar, Colombians may call it posta and/or bollo, in Venezuela it’s muchacho redondo. For us Puerto Ricans, it’s just carne mechada.
Disclosure: OK, I didn’t even know how I would accurately translate "carne mechada" from Spanish to English other than with the name I gave it. Seriously, it took me so long to think what I should call it, I nearly didn’t post it. I do know that any Puerto Rican will know what this dish is because they’ve had it at one point in time of their life.
Pot roast is a dish enjoyed by many Hispanic people. Which reminds me...
Second disclosure: This is NOTa recipe that you will be able to whip up in 30 minutes or less. Even if you use a pressure cooker, you will NOTbe able to make this TODAY, unless you’re superwoman or just super intent on proving me wrong. This is a recipe best left for a weekend. Why? Because I said so! No, just kidding (I’m really not)…because, it’s a roast that requires P-R-E-P-A-R-A-T-I-O-N. Believe me, it’ll be totally worth it, just NOT TODAY, OK?
When I was young, we used to have this dish quite often on Sundays. I can still remember the smell of it as it was cooking, wafting through the hallways of the projects–it was and still is one of my FAVORITE meals. I especially loved the sauce of the meat. Often, when there was no meat left and only the juice, I would scrape the bottom of the white rice pot, where the rice was hard-baked and crusty (what we call pegao), put the juice of the meat on it and eat it. God! I still love that and I’ve been known to serve everyone their portion of white rice, leaving my plate for last just so that I can then have the “pegao” to myself.
Rinse meat under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
For the Adobo
Place garlic cloves, salt and peppercorns in a mortar and pound until finely crushed.
For the Wet Rub Marinade
Combine 1 tablespoon of Adobo (or to taste) and add oregano, olive oil, vinegar and culantro or cilantro. Mix well and set aside.
Preparing and Cooking the Meat
Make slits throughout the roast and rub wet marinade into the meat.
Make an incision through the middle of the roast (use a knife to go right through to the other end of the roast and turn to break off any fibers inside the meat). Fill the middle of the roast with all the ingredients listed for the stuffing. Set aside for 30-60 minutes.
Line a Dutch oven or deep skillet with oil and heat the oil over moderate high heat.
Add chorizo and pan fry until chorizo releases its color. Remove and set chorizo aside. Place the meat into the Dutch oven or deep skillet and sear the meat on all sides over medium-high heat.
Lower heat and add to the Dutch oven or skillet the chorizo and all the ingredients in the braising ingredients, except for the potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste as needed.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2 to 3 hours until meat is tender but not falling apart. Remove meat and set aside, cool, then slice meat on the bias.
Return meat slices to the liquid and add the potatoes. If necessary, add more beef broth or water. Cover and cook for 10 more minutes or until potatoes are tender.
For the Sofrito
Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. If using a blender, add some water or oil to process smoothly. This recipe will yield enough to use for ONE recipe (about ½ cup).
You can make large batches and freeze and use as needed.
Carne Mechada is typically served with white rice, stewed red kidney beans and a slice of avocado.