Sunday, January 9, 2011

Carne Con Papa (Cuban Beef and Potato Stew)

Carne Con Papa literally translates to "Meat and Potatoes" is a very typical and common Cuban beef dish, it's one of those that are up there along the "Picadillo" (ground beef hash), "Ropa Vieja" (stewed shredded beef), "Rabo Encendido" (oxtail stew)

So what makes it Cuban you may ask? The answer is that the beef is cooked with a combination of onions, green bell peppers, and garlic cooked down in olive oil or lard which is the base for most Cuban dishes we call this "sofrito", and it is stewed with tomato and wine a very common thing that is present in almost all of our meat stews. In addition it is married with potatoes a starchy tuber we all know (and starchy veggies are very much appreciated in Cuban cuisine taro, yuca, calabaza, etc.) and the final thing that makes this stew Cuban is that it is spiced with cumin, which was introduced by the Spanish and Portuguese during colonizations and became popular in Cuba. However it is also identical or similar to many of the meat stews made by the Spanish (specially those from Canary Islands and some parts of Northern Spain to no surprise, being that a lot of Cuban cooking specially that of my family and other white or Spanish Cubans is very intertwined with the Cuisine of Spain and share many dishes)

Anyways :D today I present my Tata's version (my grandma's) :) it is very rustic, simple, authentic, typical, straight forward and delicious just the way Carne Con Papa should be. You end up with chunks of beef and potato in a smokey savory tomato based sauce. The sauce get's the smoked flavor from the browning of the meat that is de-glazed using tomato and wine, and kissed with a touch of cumin which gives it that extra oomph and depth but without over powering the dish, just subtle and marries well. This goes perfect over white rice :)


-2 lbs. beef stew meat cut into 1 inch chunks
-1/2 large green bell pepper chopped
-1 onion chopped
-5 cloves garlic (mashed to a paste mortar or garlic press)
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce
-1 cup water
-1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
-salt to taste (about 2 tsp.)
-1 tsp. ground cumin
-4 regular potatoes peeled, cut in half


(1) Heat olive oil on medium high heat, add the cubed beef lightly seasoned with salt, stir. The beef will release a lot of liquid usually do not freak out just raise the heat to high and stir occasionally and let it reduce at some point everything will evaporate and lower heat to medium high and it will start browning.
(2) When meat is browned add diced onions, bell peppers and stir let cook down about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic cook another 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
(3) Stir in tomato sauce, water, dry white wine, ground cumin, and bring to a rolling boil, taste it if it needs more salt or not. Cover and simmer on medium low for about 1 hour or until meat is as tender as you'd like.
(4) Uncover and when meat is tender add potatoes,
cover an additional 20- 30 minutes until potato is fully cooked.
(5) Turn off heat, enjoy with some fluffy white rice, and a side of black beans if you'd like and salad.
If you liked this recipe, you may also want to check out my grandmother's alternative to this "Carne Con Papa" which she calls the same as this one, the only difference is she cooks a whole, un-cut, well cleaned, boneless chuck steak that is about 2 1/2 lbs. in the same fashion but uses red wine, a mix of red and green peppers, and large chunks of potatoes and carrot. It is worth checking out see the post for it below:

Also if you'd like to help me out please vote for me to win a chance to have my own recording and be feautured on the cooking show Delicioso on "Univision" by voting for me in the below link. It is one of my dreams to be in something like that :)


Mamey said...

Nathan...Happy 2011...acabo de votar por ti. La carne con papas tambien sale bien con ternera...veal with potatoes, plus olives.

Mamey said...

Also...just saw your #5 red bean's another one that is yummy: use oxtail.

Nathan said...

Sounds yummy I've seen a video on making red bean potaje using oxtails looks delicious they call it "Alubias Rojas Con Cola de Toro" very similar to our style has the olive oil, garlic, onion, bell peppers, and tomato, but everything is boiled together whole, then it is passed through a food mill and it is seasoned with Pimenton de la Vera and salt. Oh and just potatoes. I've been eyeballing that video since last year just haven't gotten to making it :) someday though

like you I'd probably call it "Potaje de Colorados Con Rabo" ha ha. It's suppose to be a dish typical of Sevilla, Spain.

I don't have a pressure cooker though so I'd probably cook the oxtails 1 1/2 hrs with water, a little salt, bay leaves, and onion. Then add the beans later and cook an additional 1 1/2- 2 hrs, when almost tender a good sofrito w/ tomato and season with Pimenton or cumin.

How do you make your Potaje w/ Rabo? Does it have the Calabaza and Papa in there too?

NORA said...

Hola Nathan! Ya he votado por tí!

Nomás vi este estofado y se me hizo agua la boca uy que ríco!

Sabes, la masa para el pan de muerto y la rosca es exactamente la misma formula.

Un abrazo de AÑO NUEVO!

Nathan said...

Gracias por el voto :) ya veo entonces porque me facinan las dos casi igual jaja. Mmmm siempre me encanta los meses finales del ano porque aqui las panaderias Mexicanas se llenan de pan de muerto, y luego unos meses despues esas deliciosas roscas.

Mamey said...

I brown a smal amount of olive oil the pieces of rabo (which have a dry rub of black pepper, salt, paprika, cumin, and oregano) and then add them to the already softened beans along with the sofrito and bay leaves. Before adding potatoes and calabaza I skim most of the fat off. To our typical sofrito of onions, garlic, and sweet peppers, I add carrots and celery (not too much of the latter). Sometimes I also add some medallions of Spanish chorizo for good measure. It's a hearty dish, but I still like it with rice and a main comelon, y no lo niego (I run almost everyday, so I deserve it).

Anonymous said...

Omg Love this, I was raised in Miami, and now live in a place where there are 1 maybe 2 spanish supermarkets, I long for my cuban cuisine, I however come from Ecuadorian parents, and the food from Ecuador is so different but good yummy. either way I would love to share recipes with you next time, but this comment is to say thank you for helping keep the traditional recipes going, because like me, I'm sure there are transplanted people who live in a place where our culture is scarce, and with your recipes, I can still have my comfort food, even though I can't step out of my front door to get it. thank you

Carolina_USMLE said...

You never disappoint me. I've cooked so far your carne con papas and arroz con pollo a la chorrera. Alabao! I'm graduating in Cuban food! (I'm Colombian-Italian).

Nathan said...

Glad your enjoyin the blog

Congrats ;)