I talk a lot about tacos. I often say that if there was one thing I could eat every single day that it would be a taco. Then days later I might say pizza. Regardless, tacos have a special place in my heart. I recently stated to my wife that I would love to have a hot counter in my kitchen where we could have small pans with a nice gauge that could hang there, warm great meats and vegetables all day long, and I could just warm up a tortilla and fold whatever I wanted (or had) into it and enjoy. Every day. That’s not going to happen, I already know that!
To me a great taco comes down to two things, for the most part. A great tortilla, and a good filling. Simple. Throw in some diced onion and cilantro, maybe a squirt of lime and it is game over. Sauces on the table… well no need to get me started. Taco love? You betcha.
Let me start by saying tacos guisada are not the prettiest of things. This is not going to look like your standard, awesome tacos like the chorizo and potato, the pulled beef, or even the mushroom taco, but trust me when you bite into this carne guisada taco you will be in heaven.
Let’s get started.
- 3 lbs beef stew meat, pre-cut
- Salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 poblano chili, seeded, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup water
- fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup onion, finely diced
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- warmed tortillas, flour preferred
Just to note, carne guisada is slow cooked, braised if you will, and you will want to try to retain the large chunks of beef. Upon final cooking it will be easy to fall apart, but do your best and not shred it apart. Keep the chunks in tact and figure out a way to softly press it into a warm tortilla. Trust me.
Start by seasoning the bite-sized beef, all over, with salt and pepper. Let this hang out for a few minutes.
Next, begin heating a large pot on medium-high heat. Add in half of the oil and once it begins to simmer. Add in half of the beef, not stacking it up on top of one another, and let it cook for a few minutes before even thinking of touching it. The goal is to brown each and every side of the beef. You will do this in batches as well. Once the first batch of beef is browned, remove with a slotted spoon, set aside, add more oil to the pot, then add in the second (or third) batch of beef. Continue to brown, then remove and place with the other beef to hang out.
Next, toss in the onions, cumin, poblano, and garlic. Give that a good stir and let the onions begin to sweat on medium heat. Start scraping the bottom of your pan, moving around the vegetables, with a wooden spoon and let them just get slightly tender.
Add in the chopped tomatoes, give a good stir, then add in the beef. Give another good stir, cook another minute or two, then add in the beef stock and water. Stir, season with a pinch of salt, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 4 hours.
Can you do this in the slow cooker? You bet, but make sure you brown your beef ahead of time. Instapot? You got it.
After a few hours, open the lid, stir and check for the tenderness of the meat. If you fork or spoon it and it falls apart, you are all set.
Get your tortillas ready. Get your cilantro and onion ready. Got sauces? Get those ready. Feel free to plate family style with a covered container of tortillas, bowls of sauces and sides, and a bowl of carne guisada, and get to it.
My wife and kids loved the carne guisada, I think as much as though they were already thinking what else the stewed meat would be great with. I’ll be honest, I was thinking the same thing. I was thinking the carne guisada would be great over mashed potatoes, folded into a quesadilla, mixed in with noodles, or eating it alone. It’s that good, and trust me stewed beef is and could be one of your favorite taco fillings! Hope you enjoy.