This carne con papas is a earthy, budget-friendly and delicious dish made with beef and potatoes braised in a tomato and chili sauce.
Every Mexican and Latin American household has its own version for this recipe but today I am sharing the one my mother used to make at home at least once or two times every week.
What is carne con papas?
Carne con papas is an easy recipe made by braising some type of meat in a tomato and chili sauce then adding potatoes to the mix. Carne means meat in Spanish and potatoes stands for papas or patatas.
Almost every country in Latin America has it’s own recipe, and there’s not a only way of making it. Sometimes other types of meat are added, such a pork, chicken and even game meat.
What Meat Is Best?
Any cheap meat is a good option if you want to keep this recipe in the low-budget range. We used beef chuck, but feel free to use any other cut you prefer. Just remember to cut it into small pieces as it will cook faster.
Related article: Beef Cheap Cuts – by bbcgoodfood
You can also make this recipe using pork meat or chicken. If you using pork try tenderloin which is not too fat but still has lots of flavour. If you want to use chicken, I like to use breast cut into stripes or bites, but of course, you can also use chicken thighs or drums if you prefer.
In both cases, the meat cooks faster than beef, so you might adjust the cooking time.
Step By Step Recipe
Place tomatoes and chilies in a sauce pan. Cover with water and boil until tender. Let them cool sightly.
Place cooked tomatoes and chilies in a blender, add garlic, cumin and a cup of the cooking water. Blend until smooth.
Season the meat with salt and pepper. In a cooking pan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil, add meat and stir fry over medium heat until the meat is juicy and starts to change color (about 8 minutes).
Pour in tomatoes and chili sauce, add water until the meat is covered by about 1.5-inch. Add salt and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and low the heat.
Simmer for 30 minutes or until meat is very tender. Add potatoes and -if necessary- more water to allow potatoes to cook through.
Cook until potatoes are tender, adjust of salt and pepper and let the sauce reduce to your liking.
Tips and tricks
- Go easy on the spices. You really don’t need that much to enhance the flavour. Sometimes I cringe when I see how much cumin or oregano are added on some Mexican recipes just because.
- Since is this is a braised dish, you can use the less expensive cuts of beef. Just adjust the cooking time as needed.
- You can also add another kind of vegetables, like zucchini or bell peppers. But the traditional carne guisada con papas is only beef and potatoes.
- Cut the meat into thin slices, then into small bites. It will cook faster this way.
If you have carne con papas leftovers (I really doubt it!) you can store them in an air tight container in the fridge for about 3 days. Then just reheat the stew in a sauce pan with one or two tablespoons of water to loose it up.
Or make some burritos!
You can also make burritos the day after! Here’s how: Heat some flour tortillas in a hot skillet until soft (about 30s each side). Spread refried beans on each tortilla, then add cooked rice (any kind is fine, but you better try this red mexican rice), shredded lettuce and then two tablespoons of carne guisada con papas. Roll tight. Enjoy!
Carne con papas (beef and potatoes)
- 1 ½ lb beef meat (sliced thinly and cut into small pieces)
- 1.1 lb potatoes (cut into small cubes)
- 1.1 lb tomatoes
- 2 jalapeño or serrano chilies (optional)
- 1 small onion (cut into quarters)
- 1 garlic clove (peeled)
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Place tomatoes and chilies in a sauce pan. Cover with water and boil until tender. Let them cool sightly.
- Place cooked tomatoes and chilies in a blender, add onion, garlic, cumin and a cup of the cooking water. Blend until smooth.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper.
- In a cooking pan heat the olive oil, add meat and stir fry over medium heat until the meat is juicy and starts to change color (about 8 minutes).
- Pour in tomatoes and tomato sauce, add water until the meat is covered. Add salt and bring to a boil.
- Cover the pan and low the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes or until meat is very tender.
- Add potatoes and -if necessary- more water to allow potatoes to cook through.
- Cook until potatoes are tender, adjust of salt and pepper and let the sauce reduce to your liking.
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