Carne con papas is a traditional Mexican stew made with beef and potatoes cooked in a tasty sauce made of tomatoes, garlic, onions, and peppers. This popular meat and potatoes dish tastes great when served with rice and tortillas and is a classic Mexican comfort food.
Why I Love This Recipe
- Simple ingredients and big flavor. The dish is a testament to how simple ingredients can create a meal that’s both rich in flavor and satisfying. The combination of beef, potatoes, tomatoes, and spices like cumin and peppers creates a hearty and comforting dish.
- It’s versatile. This dish is delicious on its own with some warm tortillas or chips, or can be eaten with rice and beans. It can also be customized to different taste preferences, such as adjusting the spice level by using different chiles or replacing the beef with chicken or pork. You can also include more vegetables, like carrots or bell peppers if you’d like.
- Makes the best leftovers. Carne con papas is one of those dishes that often tastes even better the next day as the flavors continue to meld. It’s a great dish to meal prep and makes even better leftovers to enjoy throughout the week.
What Are Carne con papas?
Carne con papas is a Mexican stew made from beef chuck roast braised in a homemade tomato sauce with onions, garlic, potatoes, and, most importantly, peppers.
Unlike European beef stews, this has a tomato sauce base, which gives it a lovely, slightly sweet, acidic brightness. The peppers and Mexican spices in the broth create a unique flavor profile that tastes great on a cold winter day and marries well with authentic Mexican rice, cilantro lime rice, or just some plain white rice and warm flour tortillas.
- Beef chuck roast: Chuck roast is perfect for braising and gets tender the longer it cooks. It adds so much flavor to the broth and is a must-have for carne con papas.
- Seasonings: You’ll need fresh garlic, garlic powder, dried oregano, ground cumin, salt, black pepper, and a bay leaf. This is a classic blend of spices commonly used in Mexican dishes.
- Tomatoes and onions: Roma tomatoes and white onions are traditional ingredients in many Mexican dishes. This is no different.
- Serrano pepper: It adds the perfect level of spice to the broth and compliments the tomatoes and onions. I added one in whole, and it’s about a medium spice level. You can remove the seeds to make it a little more mild or use a jalapeño instead.
- Potatoes: They add a comforting, earthy element and absorb the flavors of the sauce beautifully. I used russet potatoes, but you could use other varieties if you prefer.
How to Make Carne con papas
Season the beef chuck roast, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and cumin, then brown on all sides in a large pot or Dutch oven with some olive oil.
Make the broth by blending some tomatoes, garlic, onions, beef broth, a serrano pepper, and salt until smooth.
Strain the broth into the pot using a fine mesh strainer. Add the bay leaf, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the potatoes and cook for an additional 25 minutes, until the potatoes and meat are tender.
Discard the bay leaf, stir in the cilantro, and allow the dish to rest off the heat for 10 minutes to thicken the broth slightly. Serve with rice and warm tortillas.
- To make the sauce less spicy, use a jalapeño pepper instead or omit the pepper altogether. To make the sauce more spicy, add an additional serrano pepper.
- Adjust the consistency as needed. After resting the stew, add a bit of beef broth if it’s too thick. If it’s too thin, simmer it a little more with the lid off to reduce.
- Cut the potatoes into uniform pieces to ensure even cooking.
- Top the stew with extra cilantro, cotija cheese, or avocados.
Dutch oven: I love these Dutch ovens so much. My husband and I always use them for soups, stews, and braising meats.
Blender: This is the best blender you can buy for everyday kitchen use. We use ours for soups and stews like this one and making salsas and smoothies.
Strainer: These are the strainers I use in my kitchen at home, and they’re great for everything from savory recipes like sauces and salsa to desserts like flan.
Storing and Reheating
You can store carne con papas in an airtight container in your refrigerator for about 5-7 days or in the freezer for about 3 months.
To freeze, cool the carne con papas in the fridge. Once chilled, scoop into freezer-safe storage bags or containers and freeze. When ready to eat, let the frozen container thaw completely in the refrigerator or defrost in the microwave. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave until completely warm.
- 2 pounds beef chuck roast, diced into 1-inch cubes
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
- ½ white onion
- 1 serrano pepper, stemmed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- Add the beef chuck roast, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, the black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and cumin to a large bowl. Toss together to combine.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
- While the meat is cooking, add the tomatoes, onion, pepper, garlic, the remaining ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, and the beef broth to a large blender. Blend until smooth.
- Strain the tomato sauce into the pot using a fine mesh strainer. Add bay leaf and reduce the heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the potatoes, cover, and cook for an additional 25 minutes until the potatoes and meat are tender.
- Discard the bay leaf and stir in the cilantro. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the stew to set for 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken slightly.
- Taste and season with more salt if needed. Serve with rice and warm tortillas.
- To make the sauce less spicy, use a jalapeño pepper instead or omit the pepper completely. To make the sauce more spicy, add an additional serrano pepper.
- Allowing the stew to set and cool slightly after cooking will thicken the tomato sauce.
- Top the stew with extra cilantro, cotija cheese, or avocados.
Photography by Erin Jensen of The Wooden Skillet.