My Cuban family loves my American husband for many reasons, but high on that list is his appreciation for all things Cuban food. Of course, we do make it easy for my beloved Midwesterner, with dishes like Carne con Papas, which literally translates to meat and potatoes. This dish is an old family favorite, and is quickly becoming one of the most requested dishes in my household
The recipe I use is inspired by a dish made by my Tia Pipa (Aunt Felipa). She is used to cooking for an army, and she’s been known to prepare a mean Carne con Papas in a giant commercial caldero, or cauldron. Although I admire her back-to-basics approach of slaving away over the hot stove for hours on end to perfect this favored dish, I prefer a more modern approach with the use of my slow-cooker.
Imagine if you took all the best features of your favorite family brisket recipe – aromatic and tender chunks of slow-roasted meat, saucy overflow goodness – and paired them with creamy, bite-sized potatoes. What could be bad about that? Like the best brisket recipes, Carne con Papas has trouble staying intact at the mere hint of a fork. The slow-cooked nature of this dish also means that every delicate bite is infused with the typical Island flavors of garlic, onion, and bell pepper.
Traditionally served alongside steamed white rice, I see no reason why this can’t be served with a good old-fashioned kugel to mop every last bit of flavor that the saucy overflow provides. Carne con Papas is definitely one of those dishes where you won’t want to waste a single bit.
2 lbs beef top round or stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 sour oranges (or 2 oranges and 2 lemons), juiced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp smoked mustard (*If you can’t find smoked mustard, coarse Dijon works, too)
5 Tbsp olive oil, separated
fresh ground black pepper
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 large onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper coarsely diced
1 red bell pepper, coarsely diced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
2 cups beef broth
2 lbs small white-skinned potatoes, halved
2 dried bay leaves
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp of a spice mix involving salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, coriander, cumin, oregano and annatto seeds. (Sound complicated? Sazón Goya is ready-mixed.)
In a plastic zip-top bag, combine beef, citrus juice, oregano, garlic, mustard, 3 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Close the bag, making sure to remove all the air, and massage the ingredients together until well-combined. Place the bag in the refrigerator, and let marinade for 1-4 hours.
In a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil. Separate the marinated beef into two sections, reserving the marinade liquid. Brown the first batch of beef for 3 minutes, and set aside. Lightly coat the second batch of beef in flour, and brown for 3 minutes. Set aside.
In the same skillet, add onion and bell peppers and cook for 3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, and reserved marinade liquid, and deglaze the skillet using a wooden spoon. Stir in cumin and sazon goya.
Transfer the beef, vegetables, and sauce to a slow-cooker, and add in the dried bay leaves and potatoes. Stir to combine, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours, or until beef is fork-tender. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, as needed. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
Serve with steamed white rice.
Ropa Vieja, which literally translates to “old clothes,” or as my paternal grandmother would call them, “schmatas,” is the Cuban answer to a traditional Jewish brisket. Both use inexpensive cuts of meat that are slow-roasted until tender and falling apart, but Ropa Vieja takes it a step further, and actually calls for the chunks of meat to be shredded to resemble rags. This may seem like it would diminish the allure of the dish, but as Jewish brisket is usually reserved for the holiday table, a good Ropa Vieja is truly cause for celebration. Additionally, as it is important in the Jewish culture to pass our traditions from generation to generation, most Cuban families have had a recipe for Ropa Vieja for ages. Get the full recipe on Jewish&>>
Passover is a-coming, and that means it’s time to start choosing recipes, planning menus, and writing shopping lists. Next week on the Nosher we’re going to inundate you with amazing Pesach recipes from our favorite food bloggers. Everyone from Olga at Sassy Radish to Rivka at Not Derby Pie, plus our own Shannon Sarna, and lots and lots of others. But this week we’re getting a head start, featuring some amazing recipes to get your Passover juices flowing.
Brisket may be the quintessential Jewish food. Many families have the tradition of serving brisket at both Rosh Hashanah dinner, and at the Pesach seder, and it’s no wonder—this wonderfully tender meat gets better over time, so it’s easy to make it before the holiday starts, and know that it will be delectable for your guests when you reheat it one or two days later. If oven space is a problem, making a brisket a few days ahead can be a real life saver. And brisket is remarkable because it’s so incredibly easy to make. Our recipe calls for sweet wine, chili sauce and barbeque sauce, but you can get away with basically just seasoning it and cooking it if you need to.
The biggest challenge for your brisket making might be ensuring you have a big enough roasting pan for your meat. If you’re cooking for a crowd I recommend measuring your pan, and measuring your meat before you purchase it. And that reminds me, you need to head to your butcher pronto if you want to order the best cuts of meat for your holiday.
Now, without further ado, check out the amazing Holiday Brisket recipe on MyJewishLearning, or Cranberry Brisket and Passover Brisket from Kveller. For more Brisket ideas check out Baked Bree, big girls small kitchen, and Cooking with Grandma Irma.