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Bite-sized chunks of beef are rendered fork-tender after cooking low and slow in a richly seasoned sauce. This Smoky Chili Braised Beef, also known as Carne Guisada, is a flavorful, satisfying meal that will have everyone going back for seconds!
I may sound like a broken record but wow, busy times.
We’ve had a whole lotta activity around these parts. Some BIG stuff, some really, really exciting stuff, some pretty darn stress-inducing stuff and then the happiest news of all that makes everything else seem like a tiny speck of dust in this thing we call life. We hosted the wedding of our son, Jake, to his girlfriend, Mina, at our home on Sunday with Jake’s brother, Connor, officiating. It was beautiful and perfect and I’ll share a few photos in a coming post.
I’m a mama-in-law and I couldn’t be a happier!
After slightly recovering and a massive cleaning effort I glanced at the calendar and realized we were just days away from Cinco de Mayo. I knew immediately this Smoky Chili Braised Beef had to happen. It’s my revved up version of a Mexican beef stew, aka Carne Guisada, and it’s been in my collection for a very, very long time.
Carne Guisada is a traditional Mexican beef stew and the recipes vary widely since they’ve typically been handed down from generation to generation and tweaked a little by each person before it is passed on to the next. I like to serve mine over mashed sweet potatoes – definitely a little Tex-Mex or Cal-Mex influenced and seriously, lick-the-plate-clean delicious!
Check out all of my suggestions below for the variety of ways to serve this yummy beef.
Although I typically share lots of quick and easy stuff, this one takes a little time on the stove to get it where it needs to be. Since Cinco de Mayo is on a Sunday this year this is the perfect choice. It’s the ultimate in lazy Sunday cuisine.
It starts with bite-sized chunks of beef chuck roast. I pick up the the pre-cut beef packaged as “Beef for Stew” to save a little time and skip the step of trimming and cutting a whole roast. Super awesome time-saver. The beef chunks are typically pretty large so cut them in half before beginning.
The BOOM pow in this recipe comes from this blend of spices. It’s smoky, rich, and with the amount of cayenne pepper called for, it’s what I consider to be mildly spicy. You can easily control the heat by reducing or increasing the amount of cayenne.
The spice mix is divided and used to season the beef chunks as they are seared in vegetable oil. The spices permeate the beef and get nice and toasted in the oil which adds richness to the sauce. A portion of the seasoning mix is added directly into the sauce and then the whole thing is simmered, low and slow, until the beef is fork tender.
You’ll have plenty of time to prepare the simple mashed sweet potatoes as the beef simmers.
Once you’ve boiled a couple of large sweet potatoes until fork tender the skins will easily come right off with a little nudging from a paper towel. They are mashed with a little sour cream and a touch of butter and salt. They don’t need much because they are oh-so flavorful all on their own.
The sweetness and creaminess of the potatoes is the perfect complement to the rich and smoky beef.
A sprinkling of green onion finishes it off and a cold beer doesn’t hurt the situation one bit.
How to Serve Smoky Chili Braised Beef (Carne Guisada)
- Over a mound of creamy mashed sweet potatoes
- Rolled into toasted flour tortillas with the toppings of your choice
- On toasted hamburger buns for an amazingly tender beef sandwich
- Over my Restaurant Style Mexican Rice with roasted veggies
- Ladled into bowls with a slice of Rustic Sweet Cornbread
I hope you give this one a try for Cinco de Mayo or any lazy Sunday in your future.
Smoky Chili Braised Beef (Carne Guisada)
Smoky Chili Seasoning Mix
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Smoky Chili Braised Beef
- 2 ½ pounds beef stew meat, cubed
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (or as needed)
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups low sodium beef broth
- 16 ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 green onions, chopped (optional)
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- 2 large red-skinned sweet potatoes
- ⅓ cup light sour cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- salt to taste
- Combine chili powder, smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, cayenne, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and set seasoning mix aside
- Cut beef stew meat down into 1-inch bite sized cubes. Add two tablespoons oil to a large Dutch oven and place over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Add half of the beef cubes to the hot oil and sprinkle with about ⅓ of the seasoning mix. Cook, stirring as needed, until browned on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. If the spices begin to burn, reduce the heat under the Dutch oven a bit and keep stirring. Transfer the beef to a plate and set aside. Repeat with remaining beef, adding additional oil, if needed, and another ⅓ of the seasoning mix (reserve remaining seasoning mix for later) .
- Add more oil to the pan if necessary and add onion. Cook and stir until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for just another minute or until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook another minute or two and then add the tomato sauce, beef broth, and remaining seasoning mix and stir until well combined. Let sauce simmer for two to three minutes. Return beef to the pan, bring sauce to a low boil, then reduce heat to LOW. Cover and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until beef is fork tender.
- Meanwhile, place sweet potatoes into a large pot and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to MEDIUM-LOW and simmer at a low boil until tender all the way through when pierced with a sharp knife, 40 to 45 minutes.
- When cool enough to handle, transfer sweet potatoes to a cutting board and use paper towels to pull off the skins. Transfer the peeled potatoes to a large mixing bowl and use a hand mixer to combine them with the sour cream, butter, and salt, to taste.
- Ladle the beef and sauce over mounds of sweet potatoes and garnish with green onion.