Are you a fan of Tex-Mex cuisine? Do you love the taste of tender, flavorful beef in your tacos, burritos, and fajitas?
If so, then you need to know how to cook thin sliced beef for carne picada! This popular Hispanic dish is made with thinly sliced or chopped beef that is marinated in a delicious blend of spices and cooked to perfection.
In this article, we’ll show you how to prepare and cook thin sliced beef for carne picada, so you can enjoy this mouth-watering dish at home.
So grab your apron and let’s get started!
How To Cook Thin Sliced Beef For Carne Picada?
To cook thin sliced beef for carne picada, you’ll need a few key ingredients and some basic cooking skills. Here’s what you’ll need:
– Thinly sliced or chopped beef (bottom round, chuck roast, or chuck steak)
– Spices (paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper)
– Olive oil
– Onion and jalapeno (optional)
– Tomatoes (fire roasted or drained)
1. Start by seasoning the beef with salt and pepper. You can also add paprika and garlic powder for extra flavor.
2. In a large bowl or zip-top bag, mix the beef with the spice mixture and lime juice. Let it marinate for at least 1 hour, but preferably 4 hours for optimal flavor.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add onion and jalapeno (if using) and saute until the onions are clear.
4. Add the beef to the pan and cook until it’s almost done. If your pan is not big enough, you may need to cook the beef in batches.
5. Add diced garlic to the pan and cook for another minute.
6. Remove the beef from the pan and set it aside on a plate.
7. Add more oil to the pan if needed and cook the remaining beef until it’s fully cooked.
8. Return all of the cooked beef to the pan and add fire roasted tomatoes or drained tomatoes. Cook covered until heated through, about 7 minutes.
9. Serve your delicious carne picada on warm corn tortillas with your favorite toppings like pico de gallo, cilantro, onions, sour cream, avocado, and cotija cheese.
What Is Carne Picada And Why Is Thin Sliced Beef Important?
Carne Picada is a popular Tex-Mex dish made with thinly sliced or chopped beef. The term “Carne Picada” literally translates to “minced meat” in Spanish, but in this case, it refers to thin slices of beef that are cooked quickly. The most commonly used cuts of beef for carne picada are bottom round, chuck roast, or chuck steak. These are budget-friendly cuts that are best cooked slowly, but when sliced thinly, they cook up quickly and become tender and flavorful.
The thin slices of beef are important for carne picada because they allow the meat to cook quickly and absorb the flavors of the spices and other ingredients used in the recipe. The surface area of the thin slices also allows for more space to absorb seasonings, resulting in a burst of flavor with every bite.
Carne picada is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes like tacos, fajitas, burrito bowls, and even Mexican pizza. It’s a popular ingredient in Hispanic communities all over Texas and can be found in many local grocery stores.
To make a delicious carne picada dish, it’s important to marinate the thin slices of beef with spices and lime juice for at least an hour before cooking. This helps to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. Cooking the beef quickly over high heat ensures that it stays tender and juicy.
Choosing The Right Cut Of Beef For Carne Picada
When it comes to choosing the right cut of beef for carne picada, there are a few options that work well. The most common cuts used are bottom round, chuck roast, or chuck steak. These cuts are tougher and benefit from being slow cooked in a seasoned tomato-based sauce until they become tender and flavorful.
Chuck roast is a great option for carne picada as it has a lot of natural beefy flavor and is relatively inexpensive. It is also a tougher cut of meat that benefits from being slow cooked, making it perfect for this dish. Bottom round is another option that works well as it is lean and has a more mild flavor than chuck. It is also a tougher cut that benefits from slow cooking.
When selecting your beef, look for thinly sliced or chopped meat that resembles shavings, somewhere between coarse ground beef and thin slices of steak. This is what carne picada typically looks like and will cook up quickly in your dish.
Preparing The Marinade For The Beef
To prepare the marinade for the beef, start by mixing the spices (paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper) in a small bowl. Then, place the thinly sliced or chopped beef in a large bowl or zip-top bag and add the spice mixture along with some lime juice. Make sure to mix everything well so that the beef is fully coated with the marinade.
Once you’ve mixed the beef with the marinade, let it sit for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat. For best results, let it marinate for 4 hours.
When you’re ready to cook the beef, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add onion and jalapeno (if using) and saute until the onions are clear.
Add the beef to the pan and cook until it’s almost done. If your pan is not big enough, you may need to cook the beef in batches. Once the beef is almost cooked, add diced garlic to the pan and cook for another minute.
Remove the beef from the pan and set it aside on a plate. Add more oil to the pan if needed and cook the remaining beef until it’s fully cooked.
Return all of the cooked beef to the pan and add fire roasted tomatoes or drained tomatoes. Cook covered until heated through, about 7 minutes.
Your delicious carne picada is now ready to be served on warm corn tortillas with your favorite toppings like pico de gallo, cilantro, onions, sour cream, avocado, and cotija cheese.
Marinating The Beef For Maximum Flavor
To achieve maximum flavor in your carne picada, marinating the beef is essential. A marinade is a pre-cooking soak of liquid ingredients along with herbs and spices that not only adds flavor to meats but acts as a tenderizing agent, making less expensive (and tougher) cuts of beef more enjoyable. Marinating beef is an easy and tasty way to make cuts like bottom round, chuck roast, or chuck steak the star of your dish.
To create a flavorful marinade for your carne picada, start by seasoning the beef with salt and pepper. You can also add paprika and garlic powder for extra flavor. In a large bowl or zip-top bag, mix the beef with the spice mixture and lime juice. Let it marinate for at least 1 hour, but preferably 4 hours for optimal flavor.
When marinating the beef, it’s important to ensure that it’s fully coated with the marinade. You can use a zip-top bag or a large bowl covered with plastic wrap to achieve this. Make sure to refrigerate the marinating beef to prevent bacterial growth.
The longer you leave the meat in the marinade, the more flavor you’ll get from your cooked beef. If you’re in a rush and have the necessary equipment, you can vacuum seal your meat and marinade to shorten the time needed. Some chefs swear this enhances taste even more than the long marinade method.
Once your beef is fully marinated, you can cook it using your preferred method for carne picada. Whether you’re grilling, sautéing, or stir-frying, the marinated beef will be bursting with flavor and tenderness. Serve it on warm corn tortillas with your favorite toppings for a delicious and satisfying meal.
Serving Suggestions And Variations For Carne Picada Dishes
Once you’ve cooked your thin sliced beef for carne picada, there are plenty of ways to serve it up! Here are some serving suggestions and variations to try:
1. Tacos: The most classic way to serve carne picada is in tacos! Warm up some corn tortillas and fill them with the beef, along with your favorite toppings like salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.
2. Rice Bowls: Another great option is to serve the beef over rice, along with some sauteed veggies like peppers and onions.
3. Fajitas: Make some sizzling fajitas by cooking up some sliced peppers and onions in a separate pan, then adding the cooked beef and serving it all on a sizzling platter.
4. Quesadillas: For a cheesy twist on carne picada, try making quesadillas! Simply fill a tortilla with the cooked beef and some shredded cheese, then cook it in a pan until the cheese is melted and gooey.
5. Nachos: Layer some tortilla chips with the cooked beef, cheese, beans, and any other toppings you like, then bake until everything is hot and bubbly.
6. Burritos: Roll up the beef in a large tortilla along with some rice, beans, cheese, and veggies for a hearty burrito.
7. Salad: For a lighter option, serve the beef over a bed of greens along with some avocado, tomatoes, and a lime vinaigrette.
8. Enchiladas: Roll up the beef in tortillas along with some cheese and sauce, then bake until everything is hot and bubbly.
9. Chili: Use the cooked beef as a base for a hearty chili by adding beans, tomatoes, and spices.
10. Tostadas: Crisp up some corn tortillas in the oven, then top them with the cooked beef, refried beans, cheese, and any other toppings you like.
No matter how you serve it up, carne picada is sure to be a hit at your next meal!