Given the fact that Craig and I will both graduate from graduate school this spring, we are confronted with the reality that this year brings the last spring break we will probably ever have in our lives. We couldn’t just stay home for that, so we decided to book tickets to Texas to visit Craig’s best friend. He’s been pestering us to come down there for 3 years now, so it’s really the least we could do . We’re really looking forward to the trip (leaving next Friday), and as a bonus, our trip coincides with the Houston Rodeo, which I hear is a great foodie experience. To start getting us in the mood, I decided to make this slow-cooked beef, Texas carne guisada, from the awesome Homesick Texan blog. Click the recipe link below to learn more about this dish and its importance in Texas. I loved this meal. It was pretty easy to make, and tasted better than a lot of what is served in most Tex-Mex restaurants, at least the ones where we live (far from Texas).
Texas Carne Guisada
Adapted from: The Homesick Texan
(this is for a half recipe, but it was so good that I would probably make a full recipe next time and freeze some)
2 pounds of beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes (my package was actually 1.75 lbs.)
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 small onion, diced
2 large or 3 medium cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
Hot peppers of the green variety, of your choice, minced – I used one fresh serrano and a handful of pickled jalapenos
½ Tbsp. cumin
½ Tbsp. chili powder
½ tsp. oregano
1 cup of water, plus more for adding later
6 oz. beer (the recipe calls for dark beer, but I forgot to buy some especially for this, so I just used the Yuengling we had on hand)
The original calls for cilantro, which would be good if you like it – we don’t like it enough to buy it.
1. In a large pot or a Dutch oven, brown the beef on medium high to high heat in the oil. Remove beef from pot and set aside. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. of the drippings and cook on medium heat the onions and chiles for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
2. Add the browned beef, the tomatoes, and the herbs, spices, water and beer and mix everything well. Turn up the heat to high, bring the stew to a boil and then turn heat down very low and simmer for five hours, mostly covered, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed. At this point, some of the meat will have turned to strings thus thickening the gravy.
To serve: Mexican rice as seen on the Dinner and Dessert blog (I simplified this recipe just a little bit – it was great), and avocado slices drizzled with lime juice and sprinkled with kosher salt.
Of course, this beef would also make a great taco filling! However, we both thought that this meal had an excellent blend of flavors and textures.