Carne Deshebrada or shredded beef is one of those staple recipes that I learned early on thanks to my Mom. Most times she would slowly cook up the beef to prepare her delicious taquitos dorados with avocado tomatillo salsa, yum! My job was to help shred the beef and I loved it because I would sample it while shredding, ha ha! Hey, had to make sure it was good. When preparing a guisado for carne deshebrada, you can go simple with a chile ancho sauce or clean out the refrigerator, like me, and add tomatillos, tomatoes, chile serrano, jalapeño, onions, garlic. The works! For this recipe today, I paired the carne deshebrada (shredded beef) with a quick jalapeño salsa prepared with my favorite jalapeños in escabeche from La Costeña. I have tried so many brands, but they have the best flavor. And since my siblings are not here to steal all those tasty carrots that are brined with the jalapeños, I really love adding them to the salsa as well. Instead of serving the beef on a traditional tostada, try frying up a batch of corn tortilla strips instead. It solves the problem of trying to eat the tostada without it breaking and dropping food all over, lol! In this case, forks are allowed. And you are probably thinking, why skirt steak? Should I have used an inexpensive cut of beef instead? Lucky for me one of the local markets carries skirt and flank steak often at discounted prices that I can afford to purchase more often. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my grilled steak, but for this recipe the skirt steak shreds just perfect and has a wonderful beef flavor.
Carne Deshebrada (Braised Shredded Beef)
- 2 pounds skirt steak flank or chuck roast
- fresh ground pepper
- garlic powder
- Olive oil
- 1 medium white onion sliced
- 4 cloves garlic sliced
- 3 to 6 serranos or jalapeños stems removed
- 2 large poblanos sliced into strips (red or green)
- 3 to matillos quartered
- 3 roma tomatoes. quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
For Jalapeño Salsa
- 6 pickled en escabeche jalapeños (seed and dice finely)
- 1/2 red onion diced
- any or all carrots from pickled jalapeños
- 1/8 cup brine from jalapeños
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano optional
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the salsa, combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Pulse to chop or blend until smooth. Taste for salt and set aside.
- Season the beef, to taste, with salt, fresh cracked pepper, garlic powder and cumin on both sides. Preheat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch ove style pot to medium heat for 5 minutes. Sear the beef for 3 minutes per side, remove from pot onto a plate, set aside.
- To that same pot, add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, serrano, poblano peppers, tomatillos and tomatoes. Season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients for the beef and add just enough water to cover. Add the beef back in, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cover and braise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. While the beef is braising, mix all of the ingredients for the salsa. You can chop the onion finely and process the other ingredients until desired consistency. Stir all together, taste for salt, cover and set aside.
- Remove the meat from the pot, shred and set aside. In batches, blend until smooth, the broth and vegetables left in pot until it resembles a thick gravy. Transfer back into pot, add beef back in. Stir well to combine and simmer for another 30 to 35 minutes to thicken and reduce. Serve over a tostada, warm tortilla, stack of tortilla strips or chips. Garnish with jalapeño salsa. Yields 6 servings.
I keep a small container of my own spice blend in my pantry. It is equal parts salt, pepper, garlic powder and ground cumin.
* The salsa pictured below is a variation of the one listed above. The pictured salsa did not have red onions, but does include freshly chopped cilantro.
Tips~ If you like your carne deshebrada left more simple, after shredding beef, set aside. Drain 3/4 of the liquid from tomatillo mixture. Pulse to blend in the processor, add only half of the sauce back into pot with beef. Continue cooking just until warmed through. Serve extra sauce on the side.
Tips~ Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chile ancho sauce/adobo from this asado de puerco recipe to give it a smoky chile flavor while the beef is simmering.