Monday, April 12, 2010

Carne Deshebrada en Salsa Roja

I know that's a mouthful if you don't speak Spanish, so let me break it down. Carne deshebrada en salsa roja simply means shredded beef in red sauce. It isn't especially difficult to make (as most traditional Mexican dishes are not in my opinion) but it does require a lot of time. The recipe calls for a tough cut of meat that stews for hours until it becomes tender and ropey. The cooked beef is then shredded and mixed with a homemade red sauce that might consist of beef stock, onions, garlic and dried california or guajillo chiles. (This is exactly the way my mother makes it.) Depending on where else you may find it in Mexico (and depending on whose native Mexican mother you consult) carne deshebrada might even be served without the red sauce, making it taste more like a spicy, shredded American pot roast.

Think of it as common comfort food. People in Mexico eat carne deshebrada at all times of the day (how's that for a morning hangover cure?) over rice, in sopes, burritos, tacos, on huaraches, or simply with a side of tortillas and beans. I can guarantee you won't ever find a taqueria in Mexico without carne deshebrada on the menu, just as any self-respecting LA taco truck wouldn't be caught dead without this staple either.

Wait, are you still hung up over me saying " on huaraches" (wah-rah-chehs) before? Because if you think that word translates into "leather sandals," you'd be right.

I'm not trying to imply that the beef is so good you can serve it on a leather sandal, although this statement probably isn't untrue (I haven't tried that combo yet to say for sure)... Huaraches in relation to Mexican street food refer to something else entirely.

But that's a whole other story. I'm going to save the huaraches post for next time.

Today, it's all about carne deshebrada--a basic but important Mexican dish that warrants its own post. Learn how to make carne deshebrada en salsa roja and you'll be adding one of the most versatile Mexican recipes to your culinary repertoire.

Carne Deshebrada en Salsa Roja
You will need a food processor or a blender to make the red sauce.
serves 4-6
1.5 pounds of flank steak or brisket
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 ounces dried California or guajillo chiles (guajillos are spicier), seeded and stemmed, and soaked in hot water to rehydrate for 20 to 30 minutes
1/2 a small onion, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups of beef cooking liquid
salt and pepper to taste

For the Beef:
In a large pot, add enough water to cover the beef, garlic, bay leaf and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until beef is tender and ropey.
Drain beef, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid, and place on a large platter. Once the beef is cool enough to touch, use the tines of a fork to shred into small pieces.
Strain reserved cooking liquid and skim fat off the top.

For the Sauce:
Place the rehydrated chiles, garlic, 1/2 onion, and 1 cup of cooking liquid in a food processor or blender until the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Clean and dry the same pan used to simmer the beef. Heat vegetable oil in pan over medium-high heat and slowly (and carefully!) add red sauce. Simmer about 5 minutes and add the last 1/2 cup of cooking stock. Stir to combine and add shredded beef to sauce. Simmer until beef is heated through.


Jackie Dewdrops3 said...

This will be on the stove tomorrow. Can you share how to make sopes soon, please? Jackie

Andrea said...

you got it Jackie!

Alexandre-Gueyouche said...

Haaa! Thank you sooo much Andrea!
I just blended the soaked guajillo peppers with 1 extra ancho pepper, garlic cloves and onions, i filtered the sauce with a sieve and it's looks so perfect and tastes so good como el diablo rojo! lol
I love it so far, since i am half french i couldn't help putting half a glass of red wine in the water to cook my beef!

I look forward to reading your recipes,
i am so addicted to mexican food! It's so hard to find the rite ingredients in Europe though... :(

(i make my own corn tortillas, and brought so many dried chiles from California. i actually just came back.. and wanna go back so bad!)

Take care and thank you for sharing food! :)

nito112479 said...

hello thanks for the recipe I'm gonna try it tomorrow for tamales ill let you know how they come out .....

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