From the beginning of my cooking journey, I‘ve sought to learn my mother’s recipes, study them and spread the joy of her delicious food with whoever I can. Today, I’m sharing with you a timeless recipe that is not only irresistibly good, but is near and dear to my heart. I can safely assume that most Mexican households have a go-to recipe that opens the senses and tastes like home. This for me is carne en salsa, which simply means “meat in sauce.” The spicy, rich and smoky flavors of the dried chilies perfectly complement the sweet yet tart roasted tomatoes and tomatillos. Stew your meat or vegetable of choice in this irresistible salsa and place the mixture over a bed of white rice — you’ll have an unforgettable culinary experience.
Serving size: 3-4
- 2-3 pounds meat of your choice (traditionally pork, substitute in vegetables if needed)
- Neutral flavored cooking oil
- 3 medium-sized Roma tomatoes
- 6 medium-sized tomatillos
- 6-8 Puya chilies
- 5-10 chiles de árbol (adjust to your spice preference)
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ onion slice
- 1 cup boiling water
- Pinch of dried Mexican oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-1½ cup cooked white rice for serving
- Toast your dried chilies and garlic in a pan until lightly charred. Char your tomatoes, onion and tomatillos thoroughly.
- Once these ingredients are prepped, boil them together in a pot.
- Once the boiling ingredients are soft all the way through, set the tomatillos aside and blend the rest of the ingredients along with oregano, salt, pepper and a bit of the cooking water from your pot.
- Blend these ingredients thoroughly, adding in your tomatillos to the blended mixture at the end. Pulse them a few times, but make sure to not fully blend the tomatillos as you want to keep it chunky rather than watery.
- Set salsa aside and cut your meat into 1-2 inch cubes if needed.
- Drizzle a bit of oil into a searing hot pan and sear all of your meat until browning occurs.
- Once your meat is browned, add your salsa to the same pot.
- Let cook for at least 30 minutes on medium-low heat. If you have the time, you can let the meat stew for hours to achieve peak tenderness. Make sure it’s set to medium-low and not a rolling boil.
- Once the carne en salsa is ready, grab a bowl of cooked white rice, pour over top, and enjoy!
I sincerely hope you enjoy this mouth-watering melody of sauciness, acidity, subtle sweetness and spiciness. The rice drenched in the sauce is to die for, and not to mention the unbelievably tender meat. This recipe is easier to cook than it looks, and as my idol Auguste Gusteau liked to say, “anyone can cook!”