Antonis Achilleos
Active Time
30 MIN
Total Time
55 MIN
Yield
Serves : 4 to 6

Carne en su jugo translates to “beef in its own juices,” and it’s the kind of dish you crave when it’s cold out and you need the nourishment that only a steamy, juicy bowl of beef can bring. The filling, comforting dish is the lifeblood of Guadalajara, Mexico’s old capital city in the sunny west-coast state of Jalisco. If you’re ever there, there’s a 99 percent chance you will go to Karne Garibaldi, the restaurant that made this dish, known around the world for breaking the Guinness World Record for serving it in 13.5 seconds after ordering. But that is another story. You’re here to cook!

The dish is somewhere between pho and a plate of carne asada tacos. It’s a brothy stew of finely chopped skirt steak and tender beans in an intensely savory beef stock fortified with Worcestershire and soy sauces, onions, garlic, and tomatillos. (And there is true magic in those tomatillos—they add a layer of delicious tartness that’s dangerously good against the richness of the beef.)

The interesting thing about carne en su jugo is that a tiny bit of beef gets blended into the broth. You heard me—blended! I’m sure that liquefying beef breaks every rule in the book but the Tapatío (gent from Guadalajara) who came up with it was really onto something because it adds so much body and depth to the stew. Add the beans toward the end of cooking so they don’t fall apart. For the best texture, make a pot of beans from scratch. (A pressure cooker can accomplish this in about 30 minutes.) But if you’re strapped for time, canned pinto beans will do the trick.

To serve, pick up some of your favorite bacon, crisp it up real nice, chop it up, and make it rain over the carne. Add a couple of tablespoons of diced onion, cilantro, and lime juice to your liking. On the table, you can also have guacamole, some grilled onions, and tortillas lightly toasted in a bit of oil. And don’t forget a cold beer. You can never go wrong with that.

How to Make It

Step 1    

Wrap meat tightly in plastic wrap, and place in freezer 15 minutes. Remove from freezer, unwrap meat, and slice thinly against the grain. Stack slices; finely chop. Place the meat in a bowl, and season with Worcestershire, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, soy sauce, and black pepper. Stir until well coated, and set aside.

Step 2    

Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium. Once the oil is shimmering, add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add seasoned meat, and cook until it releases some of its juices, about 10 minutes. (It’s OK to crowd the pan—you want to encourage the meat to stew and release its juices.) Reduce heat to low to keep the liquid from reducing too much. Using a slotted spoon, remove and reserve 2 tablespoons cooked meat.

Step 3    

While the meat cooks, place tomatillos in a saucepan with just enough water to cover, about 3 1/2 cups. Cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Cook until tomatillos are soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; drain.

Step 4    

Place quartered onion half, cooked tomatillos, and reserved 2 tablespoons meat in a blender with 1 cup broth; blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Add mixture to meat in pot; add remaining 3 cups broth and bay leaves. Season with remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer about 20 minutes. Add cooked beans, and cook until the meat is tender, about 10 minutes.

Step 5    

Using a slotted spoon, place about 1 cup or more of the meat-and-bean mixture into each bowl. Add broth as desired, and garnish with chopped onion, cilantro, Key lime wedges, and bacon. Serve with toasted tortillas.

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