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Carne Desmechada Recipe

Carne desmechada, also known as ropa vieja, is a delicious and flavorful Latin American classic that will leave your taste buds craving more.

This mouthwatering dish features slowly cooked and shredded beef combined with a variety of spices and ingredients, resulting in a tender and juicy meal that is perfect for family gatherings or a cozy dinner at home.

In this recipe, you’ll discover how to prepare carne desmechada using flank steak, which is the recommended cut of beef for this dish.

As you cook this traditional meal, you’ll encounter a unique blend of spices, such as salt, cumin, and ground pepper, alongside tomato paste, which will give your dish a rich and savory flavor.

We’ve also included some helpful tips on how to achieve that perfect shredded texture that is essential for a truly authentic carne desmechada experience.

Without further ado, gather your ingredients, and let’s embark on this culinary journey through Latin America as you uncover the secrets to creating a masterpiece of carne desmechada in your very own kitchen.

How to Make Carne Desmechada

Ingredients List

  • 2 lbs flank steak
  • 4-6 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 6 green onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • 4 small tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Beef broth (or cooking liquid from beef)
  • Optional: 1-2 cups tomato sauce

Step-by-Step Process

Step 1

In a large pot or pressure cooker, place the flank steak, water, quartered onion, green onions, garlic, bay leaves, salt, and pepper.

If using a pressure cooker, cook for 1-2 hours until the meat is tender; if using a slow cooker, cook for 3-4 hours until tender.

Regular pots can be used as well, cooking for approximately 2½-3 hours over medium heat until the meat is cooked through and easily shredded.

Step 2

Once the beef is cooked, remove it from the pot and let it cool slightly.

Then, shred the meat using two forks or your hands.

Discard the cooking vegetables and bay leaves.

Reserve about 1 cup of the beef cooking broth for later use.

Step 3

In a large skillet or saucepan, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.

Add the finely chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, and additional chopped onions.

Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the ingredients are softened.

Step 4

Add the shredded beef to the skillet with the hogao sauce.

Stir in the reserved 1 cup of beef cooking broth and, optionally, 1-2 cups of tomato sauce for a richer flavor.

Cook the mixture for an additional 10-15 minutes over medium heat, allowing the flavors to meld and the dish to thicken.

Step 5

If necessary, add more salt and pepper to taste.

Cook for 2-3 more minutes, then remove the skillet from heat.

Your Carne Desmechada is now ready to be served!

Enjoy it with rice, beans, or as a filling for arepas and other dishes.

Side Dishes for Carne Desmechada

Carne Desmechada, a delicious Colombian shredded beef dish, pairs well with several side dishes that complement its rich flavors and textures.

Here, we provide a list of popular accompaniments to elevate your Carne Desmechada experience.

White Rice

White rice is a staple in Latin American cuisine and pairs perfectly with Carne Desmechada.

Its neutral flavor allows you to enjoy the full taste of the beef and sauce without overpowering it.

The rice also absorbs some of the juices, providing a delicious, harmonious combination.

White Onion and Green Peppers

A mixture of sautéed white onion and green peppers adds depth to the meal.

These vegetables can be tossed together and served as a side dish, bringing a subtle sweetness and a touch of crunch that complements the tenderness of the shredded beef.

Incorporating these popular side dishes from Latin America with your Carne Desmechada is sure to create a delightful, well-rounded meal that you and your loved ones will enjoy.

Ingredients Substitutes

Here, we will share a substitute that you can consider to create a delicious recipe.

Sea Salt or Table Salt

You can substitute kosher salt with sea salt or table salt.

Sea salt has a coarser texture and slightly different taste, while table salt is finer and can contain additives like iodine.

When substituting, keep in mind that kosher salt has a larger grain size, so you may need to use a bit less of the substitute to achieve the same flavor.

Flank Steak

Flank steak is the most recommended substitute for skirt steak in carne desmechada.

It has a similar texture and flavor, though it’s a bit leaner.

Chuck roast could also be used, but the final result will be less tender and may require a longer cooking time.

Garlic

If fresh garlic cloves are not available, you can opt for garlic powder or granulated garlic.

Use about 1/8 of a teaspoon of garlic powder or granulated garlic for each garlic clove required in the recipe.

How to Store Carne Desmechada

Carne Desmechada, a delicious shredded beef dish, can be stored and enjoyed for an extended period if you follow the proper methods.

Here are a few tips on how to store this dish, whether you’ve made it in a Crock Pot or using other cooking methods.

In the refrigerator

Store your Carne Desmechada in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To reheat it, use a pan on the stove over medium-low heat or try using a microwave.

Make sure to stir the meat occasionally to ensure even heating.

In the freezer

If you want to store the dish for a longer period, you can freeze your Carne Desmechada.

Once the meat has cooled down, transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze it for up to 1 month.

When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw the Carne Desmechada in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Remember, when storing your shredded meat recipes, like Carne Desmechada, it’s crucial to ensure that the containers are air-tight.

This prevents any unwanted odors or bacteria from contaminating your dish, and it maintains the food’s freshness and flavor.

By following these storage instructions, you can savor your Carne Desmechada for multiple meals without compromising on taste or quality.

Enjoy!

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are the most common mistakes to avoid when preparing Carne Desmechada:

Using Too High Heat

One mistake to avoid when preparing carne desmechada is using excessively high heat.

It’s crucial to cook the meat at medium-high heat, allowing the flavors to develop slowly without burning the ingredients.

The goal is to achieve a rich and flavorful sauce that complements the tender shredded beef.

Not Achieving the Desired Flavorful Sauce

Creating a rich and flavorful tomato sauce is essential to achieving a delicious carne desmechada.

To attain the perfect balance between the Latin flavors and natural flavors of the ingredients, be mindful of your choice of spices, seasoning, and vegetables.

A combination of ripe tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell peppers, cumin, and aromatic spices will give your dish the desired depth of flavor.

Rushing the Cooking Process

Patience is key when cooking carne desmechada.

It’s not a dish that can be rushed, as the beef needs time to cook and absorb the rich sauce.

Frequently check on the dish and adjust the cooking time until the meat is tender and easy to shred.

Taking your time will reward you with an enjoyable and flavorful beef dish.

carne desmechada recipe

Carne Desmechada Recipe

This mouthwatering dish features slowly cooked and shredded beef combined with a variety of spices and ingredients, resulting in a tender and juicy meal that is perfect for family gatherings or a cozy dinner at home.
In this recipe, you'll discover how to prepare carne desmechada using flank steak, which is the recommended cut of beef for this dish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4
Equipment
  • 1 large pot
  • 1 Pressure cooker
  • 1 Large skillet
Ingredients
  
  • 2 lbs flank steak
  • 4-6 cups water
  • 1 medium onion quartered
  • 6 green onions coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • 4 small tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Beef broth or cooking liquid from beef
  • 1-2 cups tomato sauce Optional
Instructions
 
  • In a large pot or pressure cooker, place the flank steak, water, quartered onion, green onions, garlic, bay leaves, salt, and pepper.
    If using a pressure cooker, cook for 1-2 hours until the meat is tender; if using a slow cooker, cook for 3-4 hours until tender.
    Regular pots can be used as well, cooking for approximately 2½-3 hours over medium heat until the meat is cooked through and easily shredded.
  • Once beef is cooked, remove it from the pot and let it cool slightly.
    Then, shred the meat using two forks or your hands.
    Discard the cooking vegetables and bay leaves.
    Reserve about 1 cup of the beef cooking broth for later use
  • In a large skillet or saucepan, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
    Add the finely chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, and additional chopped onions.
    Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the ingredients are softened.
  • Add the shredded beef to the skillet with the hogao sauce.
    Stir in the reserved 1 cup of beef cooking broth, and optionally, 1-2 cups of tomato sauce for a richer flavor.
    Cook the mixture for an additional 10-15 minutes over medium heat, allowing the flavors to meld and the dish to thicken
  • If necessary, add more salt and pepper to taste.
    Cook for 2-3 more minutes, then remove the skillet from heat.
    Your Carne Desmechada is now ready to be served!
    Enjoy it with rice, beans, or as a filling for arepas and other dishes.

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