Recipe of the Month: Carne Guisada

by Simone Riddle

After el desayuno chapín, stews are one of the most popular dishes served in comedores y cocinas throughout the country. ‘Caldos’ ‘recaldos’ and ‘guisados’, which are all types of stews, tend to be overshadowed by their more infamous cousins ‘pepian’, ‘jocon’ and ‘kaq ik’. Despite their fame, visitors are missing a trick overlooking these tasty, lesser known dishes.

This recipe is originally from el Departamento de Escuintla on the Pacific Coast. Although stews like this are typically cooked on the stovetop, I’ve altered this recipe to cook it in the oven – a estilo inglesa – which cooks the meat to be bien tierna. If you don’t have an oven, cook on the stove over a low heat, covered for an hour and a half until the veg is cooked and the beef is tender.

Serves 3-4 people


·       2 tbs of oil

·       1 pound of carne de res (ask the butcher for ‘carne para guisar’ but if they look confused then ask for “lomo”)

·       1 heaped tbs of flour

·       2 cups of water

·       1 pound of tomatoes, halved

·       3 ounces of miltomate, halved

·       1 onion, quartered

·       2 garlic cloves

·      1 pound of small potatoes, peeled

·       2 large carrots, peeled

·       1 bay leaf (laurel)

·       A few sprigs of thyme (tomillo)

·       Two cloves (clavos)

·       One stick of cinnamon (canela).

1. Preheat the oven to 140c

2. Start by making a salsa by placing the tomatoes, onion, miltomate and garlic in a medium pan, add the water to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil; then simmer for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Blend the mixture to make a smooth, chapin-style tomato sauce

3.While the salsa is cooking, cut the meat up into small, bite-sized pieces.  Coat the meat evenly in the flour in a bowl. Heat the oil in a casserole dish or large pan that can go in the oven and brown the meat evenly over a fairly high flame.

4. When the meat is browned, add the blended sauce to the pan, stir well, cover and bring to the boil.

5, Add the salt, thyme, bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon. Put in the oven, covered.

6. Meanwhile, halve the potatoes and chop the carrots into big chunks. After the meat has been in the oven for about 45 minutes, add the vegetables, stir before putting back in the oven for another hour and 15 minutes until the meat is tender and the vegetables are soft

7..Pick out the bay leaves, cinnamon and cloves (if you can find them) before serving with hot tortillas.

The stew is even tastier reheated so no need to eat it all at once!

Book your cookery class with Asociacion de Mujeres del Altiplano (AMA) where Women Circle members offer traditional Mayan techniques. Check out their website ( for more information.


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