I’m sure not most of you out there know about what’s happening in Venezuela. I keep my blog politics free. I’ll make an exception tonight. I will admit that I am EXTREMELY happy with the outcome of the last national assembly elections back home. I hope the 2 parties (winners and losers) figure out a way of working together to get this country out of the sink hole it currently is in.
A little context. The current economic and social crisis in the country has transformed Venezuela into one of the most violent places on the planet (sometimes more dangerous than countries that are at war). If you care to know, it also has the highest inflation rate of all the countries in the world today. This wasn’t the case 16 years ago. I hope good things are in store for the future of this beautiful country. I’m gonna celebrate it with a simple recipe that I love making and I definitely love eating. Carne Mechada!
Carne Mechada. One of the most popular Venezuelan dishes I know (I’m sure every country has their own version of shredded beef). It’s not Christmas yet, so I won’t bring up hallacas which is my all time favorite Venezuelan dish. I’ve made it off season it’s that good. Please don’t tell anyone, it’s kind of a heresy.
Yes, carne mechada is nothing more than a beef stew… correct… that’s been shredded, like say… shredded beef (excuse me for showing off my IQ here). What makes it so good. I don’t know. Have you had it inside an arepa or empanada? (spoiler alert, this recipe is coming right after this one). It’s simply delicious. And everybody who loves meat loves it.
4 pounds of round tip.
4 sweet red bell peppers. Thinly sliced.
2 yellow onions. Small dice.
2 sticks of celery. Small dice.
2 large carrots. Small dice.
2-3 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp of kimchi juice. (you can spice it up using any other ingredients)
Salt, Brown Sugar, sweet paprika, vinegar to taste.
Splash. Fish sauce (up to you. Not a Venezuelan thing, but I love it)
Searing the meat. In a deep heavy skillet, fill with about an inch of vegetable oil. Sear all sides. I deepfried it for about 2 mins.
Stewing the meat. Add the veggies sans the garlic to a big pot. Add some olive oil and sweat the veggies until they have softened and lost a lot of water. You can add some salt to help you with not just seasoning but the release of water. We need to concentrate the flavors. This will take 10-15 mins. Keep stirring and making sure nothing burns. Add the tomato paste and the garlic. Don’t allow the garlic to brown. Add the seared meat to the pot. Simmer for about 2 hours undisturbed. I pressure cooked mine for about 1 hour. Shred using a couple of forks. Check out my beat up pressure cooker in the picture below. I’m so proud!
Adjusting the seasoning. Here comes the fun part. Sure some salt was added to the pot while stewing but after allowing the pot to rest for about an hour, adjust the seasoning to your liking. The stew will have to rest in the fridge overnight so this kind of post stewing seasoning is acceptable. One day I will take precise measurements of all the seasoning ingredients and provide them with the recipe, but for now, I just wanna have fun fine tuning the flavor interactively!
Nothing like a fair electoral vote count before going to bed. Viva Venezuela! Cheers guys!!!!!