Sunday, October 09, 2011

Pattie's Carne Guisada

It's nice and cool, overcast with a much needed long rain last night into this morning.  The Rangers are winning and all's good.  I was supposed to babysit for my daughter and son-in-law so they could catch Game Two at Ranger Stadium, but the game is postponed until tomorrow due to a very soggy field.  I don't like my Rangers to lose their momentum, but hard to gripe about rain.

So, since I was now going to be home, time for some recipes that are finally okay to heat up the kitchen a bit!  It's fall! (Or as close as we get in Cowtown.)

For those of you who don't se habla español - this is lard; not shortening, not oil....animal fat.  If you want to be authentic with this recipe, you can't be afraid of fat...or spices.  Lard browns meat to perfection.

 For this recipe, I use about 4 pounds of stew meat altogether. After dredging in seasoned flour (salt, pepper,and garlic powder), you want to let the meat sit for about 20 minutes and let the flour set well.  Then, fry the meat in small batches in about two plus inches of hot sizzling lard.  This is the first batch (about one pound) of my fried beef stew chunks.  I have a large heavy stainless steel electric skillet with deep sides that is my go-to pan for most anything. .

While the meat is frying, start chopping your vegetables.  I use white onion, two bell peppers, two poblano peppers, one jalepeno seeded, and fresh garlic.  You can add some fresh cilantro if you like.  After chopping and mixing, I squeeze about half of a lime and tossed the veggies together and let sit until all your meat is browned. 

Drain all the lard from your skillet, add a big chunk of butter (not margarine) - about three tablespoons, and melt in hot skillet.  Toss in lime marinated veggies and quick stir until the onions are just turning translucent.

Now your ready for your spices.  I use a tablespoon (or more) of: coriander, cumin, chili powder and celery salt.  I add additional garlic powder. ( I use a lot but not everyone is a fan of lots of garlic.)  The bay leaves go in last after all the next steps, by the way.  Turn your skillet to 200 or low.   Did you know that the coriander plant is where you get cilantro leaves?  The spice coriander is made from the plant seeds.  Be careful with this spice; some people say it tastes soapy.  Either you really like cilantro or you hate it; seldom does it elicit a so-so opinion.

See that little red can "Costena" at the top?   La Costeña Seasoned Chipotle Peppers in adobo sauce.  This is a small can, and I don't even use a fourth of it. Muy caliente, mi amigo.  I only use about one and a half  tablespoons of the sauce, and one small finely chopped chipotle pepper.  I just toss the rest, because I always forget if I freeze it and I don't cook with it enough to use it up soon enough. A little of this stuff goes a long way, and err to the lesser if you are not sure how spicy you want your guisada.  You can always save and add a little more at the end if you need more heat.

Mix all spices together, then sprinkle on your sauteing veggies, then stir in the adobo sauce and chopped chipotle pepper.

Next, pour a bottle of room temperature beer into your skillet of veggies and spices. I prefer Shiner Boch, but I had a Negro Modelo in the house instead.

Stir everything together.  You can add extra water ( I use some chicken bouillon  - two teaspoons in two cups hot water) if your stew is too thick.  Don't worry, if you used enough flour to coat the meat, this will thicken up nicely.  Some cooks will add about two tablespoons of tomato paste,  but I don't like tomatoes in my guisada.

Finally, toss in three or four bay leaves and stir. Taste for salt - add if needed.

Now, there are three more things I usually add to my guisada.  Ancient family secret, huh?  And the Bush's baked beans golden retriever, Duke,  doesn't even know my secrets!

The last three ingredients:  a tablespoon of Kitchen Bouquet,  a heaping tablespoon of Hershey's cocoa powder and two tablespoon of brown sugar.  The Special Dark cocoa is the bomb!

You can adjust amounts to your taste, but I like the way the chocolate adds depth and the brown sugar takes the bitterness out of the beer.

Let the carne guisada simmer slowly in your electric skillet on the lowest setting.  Stir occasionally, until the gravy is just right and the meat melts in your mouth.  (You may need to add a bit of water as it cooks if the gravy gets too thick.  You want it thick, but not sticky.) 

If you want to go true Tex Mex, serve the guisda with warm tortillas, some red beans, and southern fried potatoes and onions.  Nope, I use store-bought tortillas; I really have never tried to make my own.

Ya'll come help me eat all this!


Anonymous said...

Pattie--I feel the arteries clogging, just reading about the carne guisada. It sounds wonderful! (The lard around here comes in a package the size/shape of a pound of butter. Ask me how I know.)
Cop Car
P.S. Sugar cookies just don't come out as well with any other shortening. However, a couple of months ago, I used the last bit of our lard and probably shan't ever buy it again. (That one pound lasted about 8 years.)

Whisky Prajer said...

My shhhalivary glaandsh haff kicked into oh-ffer-drive: I can't effensh shhhhpeak - thbbbfff!

Celia said...

Yum, Pattie, just the thing to try out for my son's eight person family. Drool! Thanks, great pictures by the way, I never buy cookbooks without great pictures, I'm printing this off to stuff into my 3-ring booklet of yummy recipes.

Cowtown Pattie said...

Celia, that reminds me. I should have mentioned that I simmered my guisada about 90 minutes. All depends on the thickness and the quality of your beef stew cubes. You just have to keep taste testing...what a chore!


la peregrina said...

Kitchen Bouquet!!

My mother's favorite meat dish additive. I've got to remember to buy some the next time I go shopping.

Great recipe, the photos made my mouth water.