I became a Tex-Mex fan when I was born. I had no choice really. Being born in Austin and living in Texas my whole life, I really haven’t had to experience life without it. The Tex-Mex I’m talking about isn’t the average chain restaurants you would normally think of – I mean the little hole-in-the-wall authentic family owned and operated Tex-Mex. Here in Central Texas they’re called Taquerias, and in my small town of Belton – a little over 18,000 people, we probably have around 15! Yes that many. These little restaurants serve basically the same things, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, quesadillas, fajitas, as well as Mexican favorites like Gorditas, Tortas, Mini Street Tacos, Menudo and Carne Guisada. You get a little bit of everything at these places and I love the variety they offer.
Carne Guisada is stewed meat that is usually highly seasoned with garlic, cumin, chili powder, onions and peppers, all smothered in a spicy tomato-based gravy. It’s served with warm flour tortillas, fresh diced onion and chopped cilantro and lime. Rice and beans usually come as sides when you order. I like to eat mine with fresh sliced avocado. Some people eat it like a stew and sop up the gravy with tortillas and some eat it like a burrito. Either way, it’s a satisfying comfort food that is great for feeding a family or guests.
I like to prepare my ingredients and put everything in my slow cooker and set it to low for about 6 hours. It will simmer away and create the most tender meat and rich gravy. It’s a perfect slow cooker meal that’s ready when you are.
Carne Guisada is usually made with beef, but other meats are fine to use as well. For this recipe I used cheap pork steak and cut it into medium cubes. You can substitute beef equally.
Next add in the chopped onion and seeded and diced jalapeño. Saute over medium heat, scraping up all the brown bits left from the meat. With a slotted spoon strain off the grease and scoop up the onions and peppers and add them to your slow cooker bowl.
With about 1/4 cup of grease left in the pan, add the masa harina (corn flour) and stir to combine and make a roux. This will be the thickener of your gravy. Saute this crumbly flour mixture over medium heat for about 1 minute. Stir in all of the garlic and continue sautéing for an additional minute.
Pour in a 12 ounce bottle of beer and whisk the gravy until there are no more lumps. Stir in the tomato sauce and whisk to combine. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
Pour all of the gravy over the meat, stir to combine. Cover with a lid and set the slow cooker to low and allow to cook for about 6 hours.
Meanwhile, finely dice white onion and cilantro for serving. Serve with onions, cilantro, warm tortillas and sliced avocado. If you wish, you can also serve this with rice and beans. Enjoy!
- 4 pounds Pork Steak or Roast, cut into medium cubes
- ¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 4 large jalapeno peppers, seeded & diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons Masa Harina (corn flour)
- 1 heaping tablespoon cumin
- 1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
- 1 (12 oz) bottle beer
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, to taste
- For Serving:
- 2 dozen fresh flour tortillas, warmed
- 1 white onion, diced
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 ripe avocados, sliced
- lime wedges
- In a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown the pork on medium high heat until the sides of the meat have a caramel color. Do not overcrowd the pan; work in batches.
- Remove meat from skillet and place in the bowl of a slow cooker.
- Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onions and peppers over medium high heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent and softened.
- With a slotted spoon, strain and scoop out the onions and peppers and place them with the meat in the bowl of the slow cooker.
- Add the Masa, stirring to combine and cook over medium heat for about 1 minute, stirring often.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the beer and water and whisk to smooth out any lumps.
- Whisk in the tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.
- Pour gravy over meat, stirring to combine.
- Cover and set slow cooker to low. Cook for about 6 hours or until meat is tender.
- Serve hot with warm tortillas, diced onion, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced avocado and lime wedges.
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