Traditional doesn’t mean that you have to cook a recipe the same way every time. Subtle twists and innovations keep family recipes alive, and more importantly, on the table.
It’s What’s for Dinner (& Lunch, & Breakfast)
Take stew for instance. Known as carne guisado throughout the Spanish speaking world, stew could very well be that dish that was served at least once a day in many households. Carne guisado usually features some kind of red meat (of course) onions, garlic, and perhaps a red tomato sauce. Browning and stewing times takes about 1 hour, which is the perfect amount of time to get a hearty, home cooked meal in front of the family.
Even Meat Eaters Need Veggies
I am a dedicated carnivore, but straight-up meat only stews have become rather blah to me. Is that all you got? Add a veggie or two, and you have a whole new meal. I like the veggie add-ins as they stretch your ingredients a bit further, adding bulk and fiber to what could be a heavy dish. Also, I love the texture and herbaceous pizzazz veggies bring to carne guisado. Why let the sauce have all the fun?
My son especially loves the tangy flavor of tomatillos, which is a bit like a wild, green tomato that is grown throughout Latin America. Usually you can find fresh tomatillos in the produce aisle, or you can check near the jalapeños in the Latin food aisle for canned tomatillos.
Traditional can be New
Another tradition is serving carne guisado with rice, to sop up all of the sauce. Potatoes are native to Latin America (Peru) so you might want to consider serving your veggie-tweaked carne guisado with the oldest, most traditional starch of our continent. I just baked some potatoes in a salt crust for a gorgeous bed for my carne guisada. I really like the Yukon gold variety of potatoes for extra rich flavor.
Guisado de Puerco con Espinacas y Cebolla Recipe
(Pork Stew with Spinach and Onions Recipe)
- 4 Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 lbs)
- Vegetable Oil for coating potatoes
- Kosher Salt
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 lb onions, thinly sliced
- 2 lbs pork stew meat, 1” cubes
- 28 oz can tomatillos (4 cups puree if using fresh)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups fresh spinach
Heat your oven to 450°. Using your hands, coat each potato with about ½ tsp of vegetable oil. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Place in a baking pan, and bake for 1 hour, until they are tender when pieced to the center.
Meanwhile, heat the 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil in a 10: skillet. Add the sliced onions, and brown over medium heat until very caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add the pork cubes, and brown for about 5 minutes.
Puree the can of tomatillos (with the liquid) with the garlic using an immersion blender or regular blender. Add the puree to the pan, and lower to a medium simmer. Season with salt and pepper, and cover. Simmer the stew for 45-60 minutes.
Remove the lid, and add the fresh spinach. Cover and simmer again for 2 minutes until the spinach wilts. Remove from heat, and place in serving bowl. Serve with baked potatoes.