Monday, January 16, 2012

Carne Guisada + Tamales

Carne Guisada is something I hadn't heard of before moving to Texas and the incarnation that I find at most restaurants here is a very thick gravy and deliciously falling apart meat stuffed into tacos, enchiladas, and tamales.  I'm pretty much a sucker for anything in gravy so I was going to make it regardless, but I was curious about it's authenticity.  I had found a good-looking recipe at Homesick Texan, so I knew it was legit Tex-Mex, but did it really cross over from south of the Rio Grande?

According to my friend Clarissa, "my grandma made it, but it is a stew, she would never have put it in enchiladas."  So with that blessing, I seared off the meat, deglazed the pan, and dumped it all in my crockpot.  Then I went to teach some friends to knit while it cooked a solid six hours on low.  Because I cooked it in the crockpot, there was less evaporation than there would have been on the stovetop and I found that it needed the thickening power of a bit of flour at the end.  The chunks of beef were falling apart and fresh, warm tortillas were perfect for sopping up the gravy.

Eating it as a stew was fantastic.  But there was a lot left over.  A lot.  So, undoubtedly bringing shame to Clarissa's abuela, I made the leftovers into tamales.  And you know what, those were delicious too.

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