Recipe for Puerto Rican Carne Guisada Meal

by Melanie Edwards on March 30, 2011 · 40 comments

in Latino Culture,Puerto Rico,Recipes

This is a sponsored post.

When I think of tasty food, I immediately think of the Puerto Rican food I grew up eating. It equals comfort food for me. Of course, I eat other types of food as well, but the food from Puerto Rico that I know and love is first on my list. It’s also the food I know how to cook without needing a recipe. I have my mom to thank for teaching me; thanks mami!

Ingredients for Carne Guisada

A favorite meal of mine is carne guisada (or carne guisa as we Puerto Ricans sometimes say). It’s basically a beef stew, with different flavors than the American beef stew known to most. Puerto Rican carne guisada is normally served with white rice and is definitely a meal that hits home. The great thing about this meal is that it is inexpensive. Even when adding beans and plantains as I did, you still get a meal with a cost per serving of about $1.90!

Latino Foods Aisle in Walmart

Luckily, here in Orlando (as I’m sure is the case in other cities with a high population of Caribbean folks) I’m able to find all the ingredients I need at my local Walmart. This is convenient for me since I can do all of my grocery and household shopping in one stop, without the need for special stops at the local bodega, as my mom used to do when we first moved here.

I’m going to share with you the recipe for each item in the meal I cooked: carne guisada, white rice, red beans, amarillos/platanos maduros (fried ripe plantains), and tostones (fried green plantains). Both the carne guisada and the red beans use sofrito as a base. To see pictures and links for the basic ingredients used in Puerto Rican sofrito, click on over and read 5 Must-Have Ingredients for Cooking Puerto Rican Food. As with previous recipes I’ve posted, I apologize for the lack in detail with the ingredients and the steps, but it is true to how I and everyone in my family cooks. We do not measure and just go along pouring items into the pot.

Puerto Rican Carne Guisada/Guisa (Beef Stew)

Ingredients:

  • Beef stew meat
  • Adobo
  • Meat Tenderizer
  • Cooking Oil
  • Sazón
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • Sofrito or Recaito
  • Olives (use the Spanish salad olives with pimientos)
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced or cubed

Steps:

  1. Clean the stew meat and cut, if necessary, into smaller chunks. Add the meat to a large pot along with enough water to completely cover the meat. Season the mix with adobo and meat tenderizer. Cook uncovered on low-medium heat for about 40 minutes or until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add a serving-spoon’s worth of cooking oil. Not a tablespoon, but the bigger spoon one uses to stir a pot.
  3. Add 1 packet of sazón.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of sofrito or recaito.
  7. Add 5-6 olives with a teaspoon of the vinegar from the olives.
  8. Add potatoes and carrots.
  9. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 20-25 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Stir occasionally.
  10. Raise heat to medium-high for about 10 minutes to let the sauce thicken a bit, again stirring occasionally.

Arroz Blanco (White Rice) in a Rice Cooker

Ingredients:

  • Rice (about 1 handful per person) – Note that this is plain, non-instant white rice.
  • Cooking Oil
  • Salt

Steps:

  1. Put rice into your rice cooker’s pot and clean the rice. If you’re not familiar with how to clean rice, it just means that you run it under water a couple of times and pick out the dark grains, pebbles, etc. To do this:
    • Fill pot with water and press rice with your hands.
    • Pick out anything that’s not a rice grain.
    • Pour out water, being careful not to lose any of the rice.
    • Repeat a few times until water pours out clear.
  2. Add water to the pot until the water sits just above the rice. (I’ve heard that normally it is a 2-1 ratio: for every cup of rice, you add 2 cups of water. I’ve never cooked it this way, as I don’t measure when I cook.)
  3. Add a serving-spoon’s worth of cooking oil. Not a tablespoon, but the bigger spoon one uses to stir a pot.
  4. Season with salt.
  5. Stir.
  6. Taste the water. If you feel it needs more seasoning, you can add a little more salt to your liking.
  7. Cover and set the rice cooker to cook.

There will be no need to stir the rice while it cooks, though you certainly can do so once about mid-way through. Your arroz should be done in about 30 minutes or so. You will know it’s done when you taste the rice and it’s neither mushy nor tough.

Habichuelas Rojas (Stewed Red Beans)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • Cooking Oil
  • Sazón
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • Sofrito or Recaito
  • Olives (use the Spanish salad olives with pimientos)

Steps:

  1. Drain and rinse beans from the can and pour into a medium saucepan.
  2. Using the same bean can, fill to top and add to saucepan.
  3. Add ½ a serving-spoon’s worth of cooking oil. Not a tablespoon, but the bigger spoon one uses to stir a pot.
  4. Add 1 packet of sazón.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of sofrito or recaito.
  8. Add 5-6 olives with a teaspoon of the vinegar from the olives.
  9. Cover and bring to a boil.
  10. Once boiling, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Sauce should thicken a bit while cooking.

Amarillos/Platanos Maduros

Amarillos/Platanos Maduros (Fried Ripe Plantains)

You can make amarillos, or maduros as other cultures call them, one of two ways. You can buy ripe plantains, peel, cut, and fry them yourself. Or, you can take a shortcut by buying them already peeled and cut in the frozen section. I’ve done both and normally prefer to buy fresh plantains, but opted for the shortcut version this time around. It really is as simple as opening the packet and either deep or pan-frying them in vegetable oil. A modern twist is to bake them in the oven, if you wish.

Tostones (Fried Green Plantains)

Similar to the amarillos, you can either make tostones from fresh green plantains or buy them frozen. I used to make tostones fresh, but with the busy lifestyle we lead, buying them frozen saves a lot of time.

To make them fresh:

  • Peel the green plantain.
  • Cut into thick slices.
  • Soak the slices in salted water.
  • Fry the slices until half-done. Deep frying works great, but you can also pan-fry them.
  • Remove from oil and press into a flat circle. You can use a tostonera if you have one, or you can use the bottom of a bowl.
  • Re-fry the tostones until golden brown.
  • Remove from oil and place on paper towels to absorb the oil. Sprinkle salt on top for seasoning.

To cook frozen tostones:

  • Open the packet and either deep-fry or pan-fry in vegetable oil.
  • Remove from oil and place on paper towels to absorb the oil. Sprinkle salt on top for seasoning.

Puerto Rican Carne Guisada

If you try this meal with your family, I would love to hear how you/they liked it! What are some favorite meals in your home?

Disclosure:  As a member of the Walmart Moms program, I was compensated for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Plated meal photo by Justin Edwards
Photo of ripe plantains by Arnold Gatilao
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