Carne Picada

Carne picada translates to chopped beef in English; appropriately, the dish features chopped beef braised in a sauce with sautéed veggies like onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Mexican cuisine is already so vastly complex and different between regions throughout the country, and this recipe is no different. There are so many different takes on this tasty stewed beef!

My interpretation of carne picada is similar to my mom’s approach. She would often make carne picada for me and my siblings whenever her days were running a little long and she needed to make something that was versatile enough that it could be served a number of ways: over rice, in an ooey gooey quesadilla filled with quesillo, or simply as tacos.





1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds chuck roast, excess fat removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola or avocado, plus more as needed
For the sauce
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed
1/4 yellow or white onion (reserve the rest for the braise)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
3 cups beef broth
For the braise
1 tablespoon neutral oil
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
Remaining 3/4 yellow or white onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste


Brown the beef:

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the beef and toss to coat.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add half the beef. Cook for about 5 minutes untouched, then flip and cook another 5 minutes, making sure you get a nice rich brown color on each side. 

Remove the beef to a bowl or plate and repeat the process with the rest of the beef, adding more oil if needed.

Make the sauce:

While the beef browns, make the sauce. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Sauté the vegetables:

Once the beef is done and set aside, cook the vegetables for the braise in the same pan. Add the oil followed by the peppers and onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are slightly translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.


Add the sauce to deglaze the Dutch oven, scraping up all the brown bits that might’ve stuck to the bottom of the pan. 

Add the browned beef and bring the mixture up to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the pot, then remove the lid and cook for about 15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken up slightly. 

Taste for salt and adjust to your liking. Serve as a filling for tacos or over rice.

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