As many of you know, I grew up in a family that loves tacos, especially breakfast tacos. It was a tradition every weekend to have breakfast tacos. Growing up in San Antonio, there were a good number of taquerias to get these tacos. One of my favorites and families favorites is a carne guisada taco. This is essentially beef stew or could even be a beef casserole. Different areas have different variations on the amount of ingredients that go in. some people love to put onions, bell peppers, cumin, tomatoes and other spices in it. Doing it this way, it does become a very rustic stew or soup.
Of all the taquerias I went to, there were never any chunks of bell pepper or onion. It was mainly meat in a hearty and rich “sauce”. The meat was mainly a roast cut of beef. It was this brilliant dark brown sauce that was slow cooked to make the meat super juicy and tender. There were hints of chili powder and sometimes just enough spice to add an extra flavor note. If you have never seen it, think of a very hearty chili without the beans. Some have that color with that thickness. That is the best kind. Maybe it is a more tex-mex, but that is some super special stuff. Add in the extra flavor from the fat of the roast for the extra flavor, just makes this dish so good, not necessarily the healthiest, but really good.
So, I have really been craving some carne guisada tacos. I needed some. I needed the reminder of home. My dad finally mastered how to make carne guisada but this was going to be my first attempt at it. I was able to find a recipe on food network that seemed promising, so credit to them, here it is:
• 1 pound cubed beef blade meat
• 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
• 1 onion, roughly chopped
• 1 large tomato, chopped
• 1/4 cup chopped garlic
• 1-ounce whole cumin seeds
• 1/2-ounce freshly ground black pepper
• 1 quart water, plus 1-ounce
• 1/2 cup blonde roux, made from 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup fat
In a large sauté pan over medium heat add the cubed meat and cook until browned. Add the chopped bell pepper, onion, tomato, garlic, cumin, black pepper and 1-ounce water and stir to combine. Add 1 quart water and bring everything to a boil. Turn the heat down and add the roux. Cook the mixture until it thickens and season with salt, to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and serve.
So, as you can see this is actually a pretty simple recipe. This is definitely more of the classic stew type recipe that doesn’t go as well in a taco but we were able to work it out. This is also a very rustic dish, but we enjoyed it and it worked out fine eating it as a stew. A couple of additions that we had to make. It doesn’t say how much salt, but make sure you give it enough. The juice and meat really needed some help on this recipe and the salt really helped bring this dish together.
Also, I didn’t make the roux with flour and used corn starch to make it gluten-free. It was a little difficult withproportions on the corn starch and fat, but it worked in the end. Mine was more like a substance you could spackle a wall with but it did the job. Speaking of corn starch, this recipe was really thin. The sauce just never thickened up. No matter how long I cooked it, it just wouldn’t thicken up. So, to save us time and more frustration, we added some corn starch until we had it a decent thickness. I wanted it still runny but where it would at least hold on a tortilla and not like a soup. Another thing that I would add for next time would be the addition of chili powder to give it a deeper flavor and richer color. Not sure how much but enough where it doesn’t kill the taste buds and that is all you taste.
Anyways, this worked out great on some flour tortillas and even the corn tortillas for Rachel. It definitely reminded me of home and those weekend tacos. There are some who like to put cheese on their carne guisada tacos and it does work. I, being a tradionalist, do not prefer it. The cheese does add a different dimension to the taco but different strokes for different folks. I like mine the way it is. Hope you enjoy and manja!