This hearty and comforting carne picada stew combines juicy beef chuck roast with an assortment of tender cooked veggies and the perfect balance of spices. It’s everything you want from a warm bowl of stew but with a Mexican flare.
If you’ve been following me for a while, then you likely know how much I love Mexican food.
As much as we love a simple beef stew, it can get a little repetitive.
The fact that it’s a one-pot dish with little active time needed to cook it is just another reason why we make this dish so often. Just like in carnitas or barbacoa, what this recipe requires in patience is more than made up for in flavor.
Why this recipe works
This carne picada recipe is essentially a beef stew but made with a balance of Mexican-inspired spices and veggies.
- One pot dish. Like our cheeseburger casserole, everything comes together in one dish, so there’s no need to dirty up a bunch of pots and pans. You can even reheat it in the Dutch oven too.
- The meat cooks perfectly. Beef chuck roast is the best cut of beef for slow cooking, which is why we use it all the time, like in quesabirria tacos.
- Healthy and nutritious. Similar to carne guisada, this stew is loaded with veggies and protein-rich beef. No fillers or unnecessary ingredients needed.
What I love most about this recipe is how good it makes my house smell when I’m making it! It feels so good to be able to prepare such a satisfying and flavorful dish in my own kitchen. Plus, the leftovers taste even better the next day.
What is carne picada made of?
This recipe is essentially a beef stew but with a Mexican twist. The ingredients are super straightforward.
- Beef chuck roast. Can also be labeled as a 7-bone roast or stewing beef. This is the best cut of beef to use in stews as it’s flavorful and melts in your mouth when slow-cooked. Prepare by cutting it into cubes.
- Oil. Olive oil works best as it has the most flavor, but any oil will work.
- Onions. Diced.
- Garlic. Preferably fresh cloves, minced.
- Peppers. Red bell peppers and either serrano green peppers or jalapenos. Cut the bell peppers into cubes and slice the spicy peppers.
- Whole peeled tomatoes. Canned and in its juices.
- Salt and pepper. For added flavor, can be adjusted to taste.
- Spices. Dried oregano, cumin, coriander, paprika, and chili pepper.
- Brown sugar. For a necessary touch of sweetness, not much is required.
Making beef carne picada is surprisingly simple since there’s little active time required. Most of the time you’ll spend cooking the stew will be spent letting it simmer. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1- Cook the beef
Begin by heating the olive oil in your Dutch oven and sear the beef over medium-high heat until it gets darker in color and nicely browned. This will help lock in those juices and add a caramelized flavor.
Step 2- Add in the veggies
Once the beef is seared, add the onion, garlic, red pepper, and serrano peppers. Let this mixture cook for 10 minutes, frequently stirring to prevent burning. After 10 minutes, pour the can of peeled tomatoes and let the mixture simmer.
Step 3- Add the spices and simmer
Once the tomatoes have softened, and the stew is lightly bubbling, add the spices and brown sugar. Then, cover the pot and let it cook for 60-90 minutes, checking periodically to stir and prevent burning. If the stew is still quite thick, you can add a little water while cooking.
Step 4- Serve
Your picada is done when the beef is tender, and the sauce has thickened. Once you’re happy with the texture, give the dish a taste and adjust any seasonings as needed. Then, remove it from the heat and serve your carne picada over rice with fresh chopped cilantro.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Swap water for beef or vegetable broth. If the stew needs added liquid, use broth to impart added flavor.
- Use a deep oven-proof skillet. If you don’t own a Dutch oven.
- Add more veggies. You can use carrots, potatoes, and even zucchini in this recipe.
- Don’t skip the searing. This helps lock in necessary juices and adds an unmistakable texture and flavor to the beef.
What to serve with this recipe
Luckily there are no wrong answers when it comes to what to serve alongside your beef picada. Of course, rice and fresh cilantro are perfect, but here are some more serving options to try.
To store: Once the stew cools, transfer leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week.
To reheat: Transfer leftovers to the Dutch oven or saucepot and heat on medium heat until warm, stirring frequently. The microwave will also work. Simply heat in 30-second intervals until warm, stopping to stir between each.
To freeze: Place cooled leftovers in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
More Mexican recipes to try
- Mexican soup
- Mexican pizza
- Air fryer quesadilla
- Chicken tinga
- Pollo asado
- Al Pastor
Frequently asked questions
Any cut of beef that is suitable for stewing can be used as a substitute for beef chuck roast, including bottom-round roast, oxtail, or fatty brisket.
Carne picada is minced meat that is cooked by braising until tender, while carne asada is a thinly sliced steak that is cooked by grilling. Carne picada translates to “minced meat,” while carne asada translates to “grilled meat.”
While the name does translate to minced beef, it isn’t actually what works best for this dish and is not recommended. You’d be better off making chili instead.
Carne Picada Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lbs beef chuck roast cubed
- 2 large onions diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large red bell pepper cubed
- 2 serrano peppers sliced
- 21 ounces canned tomatoes whole
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven pot and sear beef over medium-high heat until it changes color.
- Add onion, garlic, red pepper, and the sliced Serrano peppers and cook, stirring for 10 minutes.
- Pour in the tomatoes and let the mixture simmer.
- Add the spices, cover the pot and cook with occasional stirring for 60-90 minutes. If it thickens too much, add some water.
- Once the meat has become tender and the sauce has thickened, serve the beef over rice.
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