Carne guisada is a delicious dish anyone can tackle in the kitchen

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By ANTHONY FLORES
I was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, a little over five hours away from Liberty Hill, and just a few miles north of the Mexican border. The area is predominantly Hispanic, and almost every night in our house there were delicious homemade meals.

At least twice a month, a staple of my childhood was mom’s homemade carne guisada – tender cubed steak in a thick and hearty gravy. After leaving home and forging my own path, I realized it was one of the things I missed most about home. After a few phone calls with mom and a lot of trial and error, I eventually perfected my version of my mom’s classic.

The recipe is straightforward; the difficulty comes down to figuring out how to get the right consistency for the gravy and not over-spicing things.

The first step for the recipe is to take the two pounds of sirloin steak and cube it. The cubes’ size is up to personal preference; I usually go for a medium size on the cubes. Once cubed, season the steak with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Chop the bell pepper, onion and tomato into large chunks. Chop the cilantro and Serrano pepper and place all veggies aside for now.
Heat up a large enough pan – I prefer a cast-iron skillet if available – and coat it evenly with olive oil. Add the steak to the heated pan and brown the steak on all sides. When the steak is evenly browned, drain the excess juices from the steak into a container or bowl and save it for later.

Add the bell pepper, onion, tomato, cilantro, and Serrano into the skillet or pan with the steak and then add the cumin. For the Serrano pepper, the amount can vary depending on the level of spice you prefer.

Lower the heat, so the steak doesn’t burn and let the steak and vegetables continue to cook. At the same time, mix the juices you saved from the beef with the six ounces of tomato sauce, the one tablespoon of caldo de tomate (tomato bullion) powder and one cup of water. Make sure to mix the combination well and put aside.

Raise the heat of the still cooking steak and vegetables slightly and then sprinkle in the flour. Depending on how thick you want the gravy to turn out, feel free to add a little more flour, but be careful because once the flour is added, there is no going back.

The flour will coat the meat and vegetables and eventually begin to toast. Once that happens, add the mixture of water, tomato sauce, and steak juices into the pan and begin to stir. As you mix everything together, the liquid will start to thicken. If things look too thick, you can add more water, add a little at a time, or you risk watering down the gravy too much.

Now you’re almost at the finish line. Lower the heat and get things down to a simmer. Cover the pan and let the carne guisada simmer for 15-20 minutes. The longer you let the dish simmer, the more tender the meat will become.

Once your carne guisada is done, warm up some tortillas, pair it with some charro style beans and enjoy.

Ingredients:
2 lbs. of cubed sirloin steak
One bell pepper
One medium onion
One whole tomato
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. garlic powder
One tbs. olive oil
1 tbsp. Knorr Caldo De Tomate (Tomato Bullion)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 ½ tbsp. flour
1 6 oz. of tomato sauce

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