Image of carne guisada in blue bowl

Carne Guisada Puertorriqueña (Puerto Rican Beef Stew)

I’ve previously published individual recipes here for homemade adobo, recaíto, and sazón. This dish is where they all come together. Figuring out how to make each component from scratch was borne out of necessity–there was a time that my spouse and I made carne guisada so often that we were constantly running out of these three key ingredients. The beef is the best part (naturally), so it often goes first. To ensure there is some meat left in the last few servings, I now cut the beef down into bite-sized pieces. No more jockeying to get the first couple of plates, lol! I usually serve this with white rice. I recommend preparing the rice—and/or any other desired side dishes—during Step 3.

2 pounds beef chuck stew meat
1 tablespoon adobo seco
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 cups beef stock
3/4 cup recaíto
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sazón
1 pound waxy potatoes (about 3 medium)
1 pound carrots (about 4 large)
1/3 cup (2 ounces) alcaparrado, drained

paper towels
cutting board
chef’s knife
measuring cups and spoons
large (5-quart) pot with lid
cooking spoon

1. Pat beef dry with paper towels, cut down into bite-sized pieces, then season with adobo.
2. Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add beef and let cook until browned—about 8 minutes. Flip midway through to ensure even browning.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add stock, recaíto, tomato sauce, vinegar, and sazón. Cover and simmer until beef becomes tender – about 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, rough chop potatoes and then peel and slice carrots.
4. Add potatoes, carrots, and alcaparrado to stew. Stir. Raise heat to medium-high and boil, uncovered to thicken stew, until potatoes and carrots are tender—about 30 minutes.

• Alcaparrado is a mixture of Manzanilla olives, pimiento strips, and capers.
• In the right light, hot oil looks faintly iridescent; it “shimmers”. The surface also develops faint ripples. Don’t see it? Place a piece of beef into pot. If oil immediately froths up, it is hot enough to cook with.
• Peeling the carrots isn’t strictly necessary but I find peeling them brings out their color, which makes the finished dish look even more appetizing.

2 hours, 10 minutes

8 servings

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