Look no further if you’re searching for the best Venezuelan Shredded Beef. This authentic Carne mechada recipe, is all you need to start worshiping our delicious Venezuelan gastronomy.
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Carne mechada is part of the Venezuelan national dish known as pabellón criollo, and I promise: you’ll love it! Besides mechada, as some people call it, pabellón includes black beans, white rice, fried plantains, and sometimes sunny-side-up eggs. Lots of flavors!
What is carne mechada?
Carne mechada or carne desmechada, is the name given in Venezuela to shredded beef. The name comes from the Spanish verb desmechar, which means to pull apart. Once cooked and shredded, the meat is cooked again in a sofrito to create a flavorful stew.
What is the best meat cut to make carne mechada?
The best beef cut to make carne mechada is skirt beef. This is a fatty cut. It has abundant marbling, which makes it buttery-rich. The fat gives carne mechada much of its flavor and tenderness. Therefore, I don’t use any other fat in this recipe. Not even to make my sofrito. The grain is loose, making the meat chewy but tender at the same time.
How to cook carne mechada
Some people cook this meat in a pressure cooker. I cook it in a regular pot, not only because I don’t have a pressure cooker but because skirt beef can be very soft, so I find it unnecessary to cook it for a long time.
How to cook carne mechada in a regular pot
To cook my skirt beef in a regular pot, these are the steps I follow:
- Cut the beef into 2 inches-wide strips. I keep the length of the beef cut. Later, this will give you nice shreds.
- Place some green onions (or the green part of a leek) in the bottom of the pot, and place the beef pieces on top.
- Cover the beef with abundant water.
- Add a few black peppercorns and bay leaves.
- Bring to boil uncovered on high heat, and then cook until the beef turns brown and it’s not red anymore.
- Strain and save at least four cups of beef broth.
- Once the beef broth completely cools down, discard the fat from the top.
How to shred beef for carne mechada?
Shredding skirt beef can be tedious. Some people do it using two forks, but I find it’s more efficient to do it with my fingers. In this way, I feel I have more control, go faster, and can easily take away any piece of non-edible fat.
If you’re shredding by hand, wear disposable cooking gloves to perform this task.
Can I shred skirt beef with an electric mixer?
I don’t recommend shredding skirt beef with an electric mixer. By doing this, meat can be easily over-processed and become doughty and unpleasant. I usually sit down and watch a Youtube video or a Netflix show while manually shredding my beef.
How to make the best carne mechada stew?
Once the beef is shredded, it comes the best part: cooking it with an uncooked sofrito. How is this? Well, a sofrito is the flavorful base of many Venezuelan dishes. You make sofrito by sautéeing finely chopped onions, garlic, red bell pepper, and ají dulce in oil.
Technically my sofrito is not I sofrito because, for this dish, I don’t sauté the ingredients. This is why I call it “uncooked.” However, all those veggies combined with the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, bay leaves, black peppers, and sea salt create a flavorful and aromatic stew you won’t resist.
In this cooking phase, time is key. After bringing all to a boil on medium-high heat, I lower the heat and simmer the stew for 45 minutes so that the meat can absorb all the flavors. Cooking the meat so calmly makes the sauce thicken, and the flavors concentrate.
How to pair Venezuelan shredded beef
Pabellón criollo is one authentic, traditional Venezuelan thing. Serve carne mechada with black beans, white rice, and fried tajadas de plátano maduro (ripe plantains), and you’re all set.
You can also serve it over a bed of white rice, put some avocado on the side, and have a well-balanced meal. White rice is, no need to say, the best companion for our delicious Venezuelan shredded beef. Try it with lime and cilantro rice, and you’ll be in heaven.
What to do with leftover mechada?
This juicy Venezuelan shredded beef is a favorite filling for our delicious arepas. This is one of the most popular ways to eat arepas when you go to an arepera (an arepa eatery).
Mechada is also good with cachapas, and makes delicious Venezuelan empanadas (made with arepa flour and fried).
Try it with tacos with some pico de gallo or pickled onions on top, and you’ll have a delicious fusion of Venezuelan and Mexican flavors in one dish.
How to store carne mechada
Saved in an air-tight container, this carne mechada will last up to a week in the refrigerator.
Since we’re only three people at home, and I buy my skirt beef in Costco, I freeze half every time I make a batch. It’s always a wonderful idea to have carne mechada handy for a Sunday brunch.
The best Venezuelan carne mechada recipe
Following is my recipe. I hope you like it as much as I do. Thanks for subscribing to my Youtube channel and visiting my Amazon shop.
Venezuelan Carne Mechada
To cook the beef
- 3 pounds skirt beef
- 4 green onions
- ½ yellow onion
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 black peppercorns
- 8 cups water
To make the stew
- 5 cups beef broth resulting from the beef cooking
- 4 cups tomatoes ground
- 2 cups onion ground
- 1 ½ cups red bell pepper ground
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 3 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- Cut the beef into 2 inches-wide strips.
- Place onion and green onions in the bottom of a pot, and place the beef pieces on top.
- Cover the beef with abundant water.
- Add black peppercorns and bay leaves.
- Bring to boil uncovered on high heat.
- Reduce the heat, cover, and cook at medium-low heat until the beef turns completely brown, about 20-30 minutes.
- Take out the beef and reserve it.
- Strain the beef broth. Discard the solids.
- Let the broth completely cool down. Once a layer of fat is formed on top of the broth, take it away with a spoon and discard it.
- Wearing disposable cooking gloves, proceed to shred the beef manually.
- Put the shredded beef in a saucier, add broth, tomatoes, ground onions, red bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper, and stir well.
- Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat, cover, and cook at medium-low heat for about 20 minutes.
- Stir, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes.
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