Some years back I did a post of my mother’s carne guisada (beef stew) on my old blogspot blog… which had vanished due to a glitch. So here it is again. This post meant a lot to me because I had recently lost my Mami.
For this dish, we start with the basic sofrito. Sofrito is the base seasoning for most of Puerto Rican cooking, including carne mechada and asopao.
The recao (culantro) is a leaf used in Caribbean cooking. If you can't find it, you can substitute it with cilantro.
The finished sofrito can be stored in the fridge. What I like to do is fill an ice tray with the sauce. After it freezes, I simply put the cubes in a baggie.
Below: the result of mixing these wonderful herbs and peppers.
Cut onions in small dice and crush the 3 cloves of garlic. In a casserole, heat the olive oil and add onions, garlic then the meat. Brown the meat, add the sofrito, laurel leaves, vinegar, tomato sauce and water. Cover and at medium flame cook for about 1½ hours. During this time you can check and stir the meat a few times.
Add carrots, olives, capers and simmer for another hour. Check the meat. By this time it should be fork tender. At this time, add the potatoes. Once potatoes have cooked, you can add the peas and let rest.
This actually took about 3 hours. Now I know why Mami used her pressure cooker. I am deathly afraid of pressure cookers as I had a pretty bad accident years ago and my whole kitchen was splattered with black beans … not a pretty sight.
I served the Carne Guisada with white rice and sweet plantain mash.
This time it’s not ¡Buen Provecho! It’s “Come, come que la comida se enfría” (eat, eat, the food is getting cold) her favorite saying.
November 11, 1924 – August 7, 2008… Mami and me eons ago.