Carne Mechada is a flavorful Venezuelan meat dish that is usually served in arepas, which are cornmeal cakes that can be filled with a variety of things, such as pork carnitas, black beans and cheese, or Carne Mechada, which is a traditional Venezuelan shredded beef dish, that is made by slow boiling skirt or flank steak, then finishing it with a simple sofrito, to make the meat tender and flavorful. This dish is simple but so full of flavor it is the perfect complement to the light and airy Arepas Venezuelan Style.
As I have shared before, when my children were younger we use to have an International night about once a week, where we would make different foods together and learn about the culture and history of a specific country, it was an educational lesson, but more importantly it was a way for me to teach my children about cultures of other countries, and how to be tolerant of everyone. Food is by far one of the best ways to begin to learn about and understand different cultures, and is a universal trait we all share in whatever culture we celebrate. It’s all about food, family, and love, which translates in any language and every culture!
This was such a special time for me and my children being in the kitchen and learning t and we bonded beautifully in having this time together. To this day they remember the times fondly and I truly believe that is why my children, now all teens, are knowledgeable and culturally free to explore and understand the world around them without prejudice. Amen!
If you have young children, or grandchildren, this is a way to bond with them and educate them about the world in which they live in, as well as get fussy eaters to try new things! It’s hard to refuse trying something new if you had a hand in its creation.
I hope you give this Carne Mechada (Venezuelan Shredded Beef) a try. It is so easy to make and so full of flavor!
From our kitchen to yours, peace and love,
The Maurath Family xoxo
This is a lovely piece of flank steak. This was just shy of 2 lbs., but was plenty for a family of five with some leftover. This was not overtly fatty, but if yours is trim some of the fat, keep some on for flavor! If you can’t find flank steak, you can use skirt steak or even a chuck roast. Flank and skirt steak are traditional in this but can be pricy so sub out chuck roast. The sofrito is where you will impart flavor and make magic happen.
These pieces are the perfect size, but it will be shredded either way so don’t stress over it. I know I was boiling them in water, but I still seasoned them with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper. I can’t help myself. Season at every stage.
I broke apart my onion after I quartered it. I used one small onion, three cloves of garlic, three small bay leaves, if they are larger two will be perfect, I eyeballed a tablespoon of mixed whole peppercorns, and filled the pot with enough cold water to cover the carne. Bring to a boil then simmer for 2 hours, periodically with a small spider skimming any fat that comes to the surface. I did cover mine for the last hour of cooking. 1st hour lid off, second hour, lid on, not necessary but it ensured tender carne.
This is one onion diced, three cloves of garlic diced, and one large bell pepper diced. Love my mezza luna for getting dicey in there. This is the basis for most Latin American sofritos. It is similar to the trinity in Cajun cooking, only they use a green bell pepper.
After the meat is shredded, which yours truly forgot to photograph, rookie, I know! Add vegetable shortening to a large skillet, add in the aromatics, onion, garlic, and red pepper. Begin to saute until soft, add in chili powder, which isn’t authentic to this dish but I love for flavor, cumin, Kosher salt and cracked black pepper.
Here you add in the 3 tbsp. of tomato paste, the diced tomatoes, the shredded carne, Worcestershire sauce, and the reserved carne broth. Mix well and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Serve immediately with black beans and rice or inside the middle of freshly made arepas! Delish!! Devor!
Slice fresh Arepas Venezuelan Style add in some Mexican blend cheese or any Mexican cheese you prefer and dig in! Perfection!!
Carne Mechada (Venezuelan Shredded Beef)
- You can use skirt steak or even chuck roast if preferred.
For the Carne
- 2 lb skirt steak or flank steak
- 1 onion
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp. of whole peppercorns
- 3 cloves of whole garlic
- Kosher salt and cracked pepper
For the Sofrito
- 1 Tbsp of vegetable shortening
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 large red bell pepper diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 3 diced Roma tomatoes or 4 Compari tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbsp. of tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp. of cumin
- 1 tsp. of chipotle chili powder
- 1 1/2 cups off reserved carne cooking liquid up to two if you like a soupier consistency
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
For the Carne
- Trim the meat, if it is extra fatty, and cut it into 3 inch pieces. Place the pieces in a Dutch oven and cover them with water.
- Add 1 quartered onion and simmer for approximately 2 hours, periodically removing any foam that rises to the top. Leave lid off for first hour, then lid on at a gentle simmer for the last hour. Checking and stirring periodically.
- Once cooked, remove the beef from the water and let it cool slightly. (Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the carne broth.) Once cool enough to handle, shred the meat with two forks. Set aside.
For the Sofrito
- Heat the vegetable shortening in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add the onion, peppers, and garlic. Sauté for 4-5 min until the onions are soft. Add the diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, chipotle chili powder, cumin. Mix well.
- Add the shredded meat and reserved 1 1/2 cups of the carne broth. If you don’t plan on serving these on arepas, you can add some more of the carne broth to make it a bit more soupy. I like to have it drier even when I serve it with black beans and rice, which is how I ate mine last night! Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 min. Serve nestled inside a soft and luscious Arepas Venezuelan Style or with black beans and rice if desired.
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