Mechada Beef (VENEZUELAN SHREDDED BEEF)
THE NATIONAL DISH OF VENEZUELA
Carne Mechada plays a major role in Pabellon Criollo, which is this National dish of Venezuela. This dish is comprised of a large platter full of Carne mechada, rice, black beans, and fried plantains. Sounds like a wonderfully hearty dish! Doesn’t it?
A PERFECT MEAT FILLING
Carne mechada is also often used to stuff arepas (tasty Venezuelan corn biscuits). It is also a yummy filling for empanadas.
Ingredients for the Beef
2 lb skirt steak or flank steak
1 onion, quartered
For the Sauce
1 Tbsp oil
1 onion, quartered and sliced
2 red bell peppers, quartered and sliced
3 garlic cloves,
2 tomatoes, diced (about 3c)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt, ½ tsp ground black pepper, ¼ tsp cumin
2 cup reserved beef cooking broth
Pre-cook and shred the meat
Trim the meat, if necessary, and cut it into 4 pieces. Place the pieces in a medium soup pot and cover them with water. Add 1 quartered onion and simmer for 2 hours, removing any foam that may float to the top. Once cooked, remove the beef from the water and let it cool slightly. (Reserve 2 c of the cooking broth.)
Once cool enough to handle, shred the meat with two forks. Set aside.
Make the sauce and season the meat. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan with high sides over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers, and garlic. Sauté for 4-5 min until the onions are soft.
Add the diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and cumin. Mix well. Add the shredded meat and 2 cups of meat broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 min. (If you are serving your carne mechada with rice and beans, classic Venezuelan style, go ahead leave the meat a little brothy. If you will be using it to fill arepas or empanadas, you will want to cook it until nearly dry, stirring often so it doesn’t stick.)
If skirt steak or flank steak are quite pricy in your area like they are ours, you can also make this recipe using a chuck roast. If using chuck, you will want to simmer the roast for 3-4 hours, to let the tougher cut get a bit more tender. Cooking the meat can be done a day ahead. Just be sure to reserve the cooking liquid that you will need for the sauce. And you will want to shred the meat before refrigerating it in a sealed container overnight since the meat shreds better when slightly warm