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The coming cold calls for Carne Guisada

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Yeah, yeah, we gotta little Christmas to throw here in a couple days, but let us not forget about the big cold front coming and how it will necessitate some comfort food. In case I haven’t made it perfectly clear, that’s going to mean something from South of the  Border. Namely, carne guisada — or guiso.  In Spanish, carne guisada simply means stewed beef — guiso meaning stew.

The kind I make is a decidedly Tex-Mex. Guiso recipes will vary from region to region as it’s a true example of home-cooking. The kind I grew up is not much different from Southern Beef Tips and Rice with the addition of some ground cumin and a little ground red chile.

There are two ways to thicken guiso. You may prepare a blonde roux or simply toss the beef in flour. The latter is more commonly used in Mexican homes, so that’s the version I went with here.

Enjoy with warm, flour tortillas, grated queso fresco and chopped green onions.

Carne Guisada


  • 1.5 pounds cubed beef like blade meat, chuck steak, or bottom round1
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1/2 chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic mince or mashed into a tsp of salt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted, ground cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground ancho chile or 1 dried ancho chil rehydrated and ground into paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon rendered pork fat or vegetable oil
  • Worcestershire sauce


  1. In a large mixing bowl, toss the cube beef in the flour until lightly dusted.
  2. Heat the oil in a cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the dusted beef and stir until its browned on all sides.
  4. Add onions and peppers and increase heat to medium-high and stir often.
  5. Deglaze skillet with a few shakes of Worcestershire and stock, loosening bits from bottom of the skillet and stirring.
  6. Stir in garlic, oregano, spices and a liberal amount of salt and pepper.
  7. Bring guiso to a low boil and decrease heat to medium. Simmer at medium to medium-low heat until beef is soft, at least 45 minutes. Add extra water or stock as needed.

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