Carne con Papas

Carne con Papas

Carne con papas is a popular Cuban dish that’s on regular rotation in many Cuban households. It’s a home-cooked comfort food favorite!

Carne con papas served with white rice in a white plate, with a linen, fork and knife in the background.

 

In English carne con papas translates to beef with potatoes. The ingredients are similar to what you’d put in a beef stew, but it’s saucy instead of soupy. It’s a simple dish made with affordable ingredients. Many Cuban dishes are made with cheaper cuts of meat and transformed into something flavorful and truly special like picadillo, bistec en cazuela and the classic ropa vieja.

 

To find out more about Cuban food and the wonderful ingredients used to make it, check out this Cuban Food Pantry article.

 

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What kind of beef should I use?

Typically, this recipe calls for an inexpensive cut of beef that’s cut into small chunks and braised in a rich and flavorful tomato sauce until tender.

 

In this recipe we use sirloin, but we frequently use beef round too. It’s flavorful and becomes tender with the long cooking time. If you use sirloin, the meat will be softer. However, you will pay a little extra.

 

What else goes in this dish?

Potatoes are always added to this dish. After all they’re in the name. The rest of the ingredients depend on the cook.

 

In this recipe, we add carrots and olives. The carrots add just a touch of sweetness, and the olives add a salty bite; such a great combination! Serve it with white rice for a traditional, down-home Cuban meal. If you’re thinking to yourself: Rice and potatoes at the same time, in the same dish? Yes, it’s a Cuban thing!

A close-up of the finished dish served with with rice on a white plate.

 

Ingredients

  • 1½ pound Beef, cut into 1-2 inch cubes – we used Sirloin, you can also use Beef Round
  • 1 teaspoon Salt, plus extra if needed at the end (we used kosher salt)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, diced small
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
  • ½ cup White Wine
  • 8 ounces Tomato Sauce
  • 1½ cups Water
  • 1-2 Bay Leaf
  • 1 pound Potato, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces (1 large or 2 medium potatoes, we used russet)
  • 1 Large Carrot, cut into roughly ½ inch rounds
  • ½ cup Pitted Spanish Olives
  • Cooked White Rice, for serving if desired

 

Prep work

  • Cut the beef into 1-2 inch cubes. If you purchased pre-cut beef make sure all the pieces are roughly the same size. If not, cut any larger pieces.
  • Season the beef with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Dice the onions.
  • Mince the garlic.
  • Measure out the remaining ingredients.
  • Cut the carrots into rounds or half rounds.
  • Peel and cut the potato into 1-2 inch pieces. Don’t cut them too small so they hold their shape with the long cooking time. Once the potatoes are peeled and cut keep them in a bowl covered with cold water until ready to use. This will slow down the browning process. Just remember to drain them before adding them in. Yes, I have forgotten and yes, it was a mess!
  • If you’re planning to serve the carne con papas with white rice get it going before, or soon after you start cooking. That way everything will be ready at the same time.

 

Now we’re ready to cook!

The prepped ingredients separated in glass bowls and a small sheet pan for the beef all arranged on a large wood cutting board.

 

Brown the beef

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or, deep skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the beef. Arrange it in the pan so that it’s in a single layer.

 

Cook the beef chunks for 5 minutes. Leave the beef undisturbed so that it forms a nice crust. Check one or two pieces to make sure it’s browning and not burning. Then turn each piece and cook for another 5 minutes until browned.

 

Remove the pan from the heat; I just slide it over to an empty burner. Then remove the beef from the pot and place it on a plate or pan. Keep it warm by covering the plate loosely with a piece of aluminum foil, and/or place the plate in the microwave or oven. The beef will stay warm away from drafts. Don’t worry that it’s not cooked through; it will finish cooking in the sauce.

 

Make the sauce

Do not wash the pot. Place it back over medium heat and add the onions. Cook them for 3 minutes until they start to soften and become translucent, stir frequently.

 

Next, add the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, oregano and pepper to the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring almost constantly.

 

Add the white wine to the pot and stir while gently scrapping any bits off the bottom. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir frequently.

 

Add the tomato sauce, water and the bay leaf to the pot and stir. Here’s a tip, I like to add some of the water to the empty can of tomato sauce and give it a swirl, that way I get every last drop out.

 

Finish the carne con papas

Carefully place the beef back in the pot, including any juices collected on the plate. Use tongs to gently place the meat back in the pan to avoid any splatters. When the sauce comes back to a simmer, lower the heat to medium-low and cover.

 

Cook the beef for 15 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Keep the sauce at a simmer. If it’s boiling too vigorously lower the heat a bit. We don’t want that sauce cooking away.

 

Uncover the pot and give the beef and sauce a quick stir. Then add the potatoes, carrots and olives. Raise the heat to medium-high and let the sauce come to a simmer. This will take about 2-3 minutes. As soon as the sauce is simmering lower the heat to medium low.

 

Cover and cook the beef and potatoes at a gentle simmer over medium-low to low heat for another 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender, stirring occasionally. If the sauce is boiling too vigorously, lower the heat just a touch.

 

Remove the bay leaf and discard. Taste the sauce and add salt, if needed. As a reference we added ½ teaspoon to ours. Serve with white rice, if desired.

The beef and potatoes served in a white plate with white rice.

 

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The beef and potatoes served in a white plate with white rice.
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Carne con Papas

In English carne con papas translates to beef with potatoes. The ingredients are similar to what you’d put in a beef stew, but it’s saucy instead of soupy.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: cuban beef recipes
Servings: 4
Calories: 380kcal
Author: Elizabeth

Ingredients

  • pound Beef cut into 1-2 inch cubes – we used Sirloin, you can also use Beef Round
  • 1 teaspoon Salt plus extra if needed at the end (we used kosher salt)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion diced small
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
  • ½ cup White Wine
  • 8 ounces Tomato Sauce
  • cups Water
  • 1-2 Bay Leaf
  • 1 pound Potato peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces (1 large or 2 medium potatoes, we used russet)
  • 1 Large Carrot cut into roughly ½ inch rounds
  • ½ cup Pitted Spanish Olives
  • Cooked White Rice for serving

Instructions

  • Season the beef with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot or, deep skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the beef. Arrange it in the pan so that it’s in a single layer.
  • Cook the beef chunks for 5 minutes. Then turn each piece and cook for another 5 minutes until browned. Remove the pan from the heat and remove the beef from the pot. Place on a plate or pan and keep warm. Don’t worry that it’s not cooked through; it will finish cooking in the sauce.
  • Do not wash the pan. Place it back over medium heat and add the onions. Cook for 3 minutes until they start to soften and become translucent, stir frequently.
  • Add the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, oregano and pepper to the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring almost constantly.
  • Add the white wine and stir while gently scrapping any bits off the bottom. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir frequently.
  • Add the tomato sauce, water and the bay leaf to the pot and stir.
  • Carefully place the beef back in the pot, including any juices collected on the plate. When the sauce comes back to a simmer, lower the heat to medium-low and cover.
  • Cook the beef for 15 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Keep the sauce at a simmer. If it’s boiling too vigorously lower the heat a bit.
  • Uncover the pot and give the beef and sauce a quick stir. Add the potatoes, carrots and olives. Raise the heat to medium-high and let the sauce come to a simmer.
  • Lower the heat and cover. Cook the beef and potatoes at a gentle simmer over medium-low to low heat for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender, stirring occasionally. If the sauce is boiling too vigorously, lower the heat just a touch.
  • Remove the bay leaf and discard. Taste the sauce and add salt, if needed. As a reference we added ½ teaspoon to ours.
  • Serve the carne con papas with white rice, if desired.

Notes

Once the potatoes are peeled and cut, place them in a bowl and cover with cold water until ready to use to slow down the browning process. Drain before using.
If serving the carne con papas with white rice, get it going before, or soon after, you start the beef. That way the rice and main dish will be ready at the same time.

Nutrition

Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 1288mg | Potassium: 929mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2920IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 4mg
The nutritional information above is computer generated and is only an estimate. There is no guarantee that it is accurate.This data is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only.

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