How to Make Carne Guisada and Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas


Today on “Cook’s Country”, I’m making carne guisada and Toni’s going to explore the origins of the dish. Adam’s testing oven mitts and Christie’s making green chili chicken enchiladas. It’s all right here on “Cook’s Country”. Today, I’m making carne guisada, which is a Mexican dish that’s cooked all over Texas. And it consists of beef that’s braised in a very subtle but aromatic chili-based sauce.

Now this really isn’t restaurant food, but is more in the style of comida casera, or home style cooking. And it starts by choosing the right cut of beef. Now, here I have a three pound chuck roast of beef. Chuck, again, comes from the shoulder, which is great for braising, ’cause it turns meltingly tender. Now you really wanna cut the stew meat yourself.

That’s how you know it’s all from the same cut of meat. So don’t be tempted to buy that pre-cut stew meat ’cause you don’t know where that meat came from. It could have come from the leg, which would be unbearably tough. So, from the chuck or the shoulder is what you want. And to cut it into big one inch chunks, first you just want to slice it into one inch slabs of meat.

And then it gets really easy to carve out any big hunks of fat and cut it further down into one inch pieces. So, setting those aside, you can see there’s this big knob of fat right in the middle and you can almost just pull the meat away from it. And then when you get to a fairly lean piece, you just cut it down into one inch pieces. Now I am leaving some chunks of fat in there. Those will render out during cooking and add valuable flavor.

I’m just taking out sort of the big hunks of fat. Now I’m gonna pat it dry quickly with paper towels. And I do this just by dumping the meat onto a couple layers of paper towels, taking a few more over the top, and just press it dry. And then season it with salt and pepper. Here I have a nice, big pot that’s gonna accommodate all the braising liquid and all the beef.

And I have two tablespoons of vegetable oil heating up over medium-high heat. And I can see it’s starting to shimmer and a few wisps of smoke, which means it’s time to add the beef. I’m only gonna half the beef and I’m gonna brown it really well. Now it’s not as much about browning the meat as it is about creating a flavorful fond or those brown bits on the bottom of the pot because the fond adds crucial flavor to the braise.

So I’m gonna let that beef brown for about 10 minutes.

And in the meantime, I’m gonna chop some vegetables for the stew, namely onion. So this recipe calls for two onions and that’s about two cups of chopped onions. (knife chopping) So again, that’s two onions. It’s been about 10 minutes and I’m gonna show you a piece of browned meat. See that beautiful, caramelized browning on the beef?

That’s what you wanna look for. And also, there’s a decent amount of fond on the bottom of the pot, which again, is crucial for the flavor of the sauce.

Now, as I mentioned before, we’re just gonna brown one batch of meat To the fat in the pot, I’m going to add two chopped onions and a teaspoon of table salt. And we’re just gonna cook these onions ’til they’re soft and that takes about five minutes. But as they cook, I’m gonna be conscious of that fond.

I’m gonna be scraping it up so that it doesn’t burn. So those onions have been cooking for about five minutes and they’re nicely softened. Now it’s time to add some more flavor to the pot, starting with two tablespoons of tomato paste, four cloves of minced garlic, a tablespoon of chili powder.

Now I’m gonna add a tablespoon of dried oregano, two teaspoons of dried coriander, and one and a half teaspoons of dried cumin. Now you just wanna cook these spices for about a minute, until they’re fragrant and you can smell them.

That’s pretty good. Now I’m gonna add just a tablespoon of all-purpose flour and this is just a little bit of a thickener to help thicken up the sauce as it cooks. Next goes in some chicken broth. This is one cup of chicken broth. Last to go in the pot are some tomatoes.

Now I’m gonna use canned tomatoes. Here’s a 14 1/2 ounce can of diced tomatoes. But I’m first gonna drain the juice away so you’re just left with the tomato solids.

Tomato solids go in the pot. So that’s it for the sauce.

In goes the browned beef and the un-browned beef, along with any accumulated juices. Mm. Now I’m just gonna bring this to a simmer and then we’re gonna cook it in the oven for about an hour and a half at a low temperature of 325 degrees. In Spanish, carne guisada means stewed meat. The dish is a classic of Puerto Rican cooking and is most often served simply, over a bed of white rice.

Most versions of carne guisada consist of beef, braised slowly with tomatoes and sofrito. Sofrito is an aromatic puree of peppers, cilantro, onions, and garlic that forms the base of many Latin Caribbean dishes. Carne guisada is part of other Latin cuisines too. There are Dominican recipes that feature oregano, alongside the pepper and tomato base. Adaptations of carne guisada show up in communities along the Texas-Mexico border.

There, the stew is most often served thickened with flour and served as a taco filling. That’s the version that inspired our take on guisada at “Cook’s Country”. That stew’s been in the oven for an hour and a half and now it’s time to add the vegetables.

You really don’t wanna add them at the beginning of the cooking time because they’ll just be overcooked by the time the beef is tender. So for vegetables, it’s just a simple combination of Yukon gold potatoes, about a pound, and two green bell peppers.

So first of course, you wanna peel the Yukon golds. Slice it into 1/2 inch thick slices and then cut each slice lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick pieces. So again, that’s a pound of Yukon gold, which is about two large potatoes. Into a bowl they go. And now for the green pepper.

We’re just gonna slice it into 1/4 inch thick slices. What I like to do is cut off the top and the bottom of the pepper. And I set these aside. I don’t throw those out. I always use those.

And now I cut down through one side of the pepper and I open it up.

And as you open it up, you can really rip out, or sometimes cut out, the core, the ribs and all the seeds. So cutting the pepper this way means you wind up with a big strip of pepper like this that you can then cut down into any shape you like. And for this stew, it’s 1/4 inch thick slices. So starting at one end, you can just cut all the way down.

Don’t forget the tops and the bottom. Never throw them out. So that is it for the vegetables. Now let’s get that stew out of the oven and take a good look at it. This is gorgeous.

That sauce is reduced. The meat’s brown and almost tender.

And now the vegetables. So the stew needs another 45 minutes in the oven until the beef is good and tender and the vegetables are cooked through. Whew, the aroma coming from this oven is something else.

All right, time to take a look. Oh, you can smell the cumin and the coriander and the oregano. Now time to test the meat for doneness. You want it falling apart tender. The best way to do that is with a fork.

Oh, yeah, fork goes right through the meat with no resistance. It’s done. Now I’m just gonna add a little bit of fresh black pepper and a hint of salt. Oh, that looks delicious. Now serving this dish is simple, just with some warm tortillas.

You spoon a little bit of the meat and the potatoes and vegetables into the center of each. Spritz with some fresh lime juice and a few leaves of fresh cilantro. And that’s it, carne guisada. Mm. It is perfect.

The beef is tender. The sauce is silky with a little bit of tomato flavor and those fragrances of coriander and cumin. And of course, the vegetables add their own little fresh bite. To make this delicious Texan-Mexican dish, start with a three pound chuck roast and brown just half of it in the pot. Be sure to add the vegetables during the last 45 minutes of cooking and serve with fresh limes and cilantro.

From “Cook’s Country”, a great recipe for carne guisada. – Oven mitts come in a lot of different styles these days.

But regardless of the style, the basic job is to provide heat protection and dexterity. We tested nine different mitts, they’re ambidextrous, and they were priced between about 9.50 and $66 per set.

The materials included cotton, cellucotton, polyester, silicone, Kevlar though, not the bulletproof stuff and something called meta-aramid fiber. Our lineup came in three different styles. The first of which is these double mitts. They’re connected by a piece of cloth in the middle.

Testers were not so keen on these beyond the fact that they were really easy to slip on and take off, but that’s where the advantages ended.

The second type are these gloves. Testers really liked these for the fact that you could move each finger individually so there was a lot of dexterity. But our testers who had larger hands found these a real nuisance to put on and take off. So that eliminated the gloves. That leaves us with the more traditional form factor of an oven mitt.

And there were issues also with fit and flexibility with these guys. This mitt, for instance. Testers with smaller hands noticed that the tip of the mitt extended as much as two inches beyond their fingertips so that the fit felt kind of unwieldy and awkward. You can see that the thumb is positioned in the center of the hand which drew mixed reviews, not everybody liked that. And also, this model was fairly rigid silicone on the outside so when testers flexed their hands to pick up a piece of hot cookware, the silicone bunched up and felt a little bit clumsy and awkward.

That takes care of this one. This glove, the big red one, had fit issues in another direction. It was an inch wider than all of the other gloves. Again, testers with smaller hands found that when they picked up a piece of hot cookware, this glove could possibly rotate on their hands which would spell disaster when you’re holding a hot skillet or a hot saucepan.

Of course, we also tested the heat protection.

And the way we did that was to heat up a cast iron skillet until it was 320 degrees. We have a hot one right here. And so, testers put on each mitt, held on to the cast iron skillet for as long as they could do so comfortably. They did this a couple of times and averaged the results. The low end was only six seconds that they could hang onto the pot.

The better performers allowed them to hang onto it between 18 and 31 1/2 seconds, like this one that I have here. Now, in fact, this is our winning oven mitt. This is the OXO Silicone Oven Mitt.

It is, as the name would suggest, made of silicone on the outside and padded cotton on the inside. It’s got a good, comfortable, secure fit for a wide range of hands.

It protected hands from heat beautifully. It’s about $15 and this is the mitt that has the upper hand. There’s a whole lot going on in green chili chicken enchiladas. You’ve got cooked chicken, sometimes cooked vegetables, cheese, a tomatillo poblano sauce, corn tortillas. And that’s all before you even start thinking about building the enchiladas.

I wanted to make a full-flavored version for a weeknight which meant I needed to strategize. One area I knew I needed to focus my energies was on a fresh sauce. And that meant starting with fresh ingredients. I have three poblanos, stars of this sauce.

I’m going to cut off the stems, cut them in half.

And working over my garbage bowl, I’m going to get rid of all the seeds. Next, I have an onion and I’m just going to cut this into wedges. Like I said, keeping it easy. I’ll cut this through the root so we can hold all of the pieces together. Cut off the top and then I’ll take the peel off.

Now that I’ve cut this in half, I’ll cut each half into quarters. And last, but certainly not least, I have a jalapeno. So same goes for this. We’ll cut off the stem, cut it in half.

And I’m removing all of the ribs and the seeds.

So we’re gonna keep this a little bit on the mild side. But, if you like a spicy green chili sauce, then you can reserve those seeds and save them to add later. We’re making this fresh sauce but we need to use some canned tomatillos. It’s really difficult to find fresh tomatillos all year-round. Canned are very consistent and easy to find.

So I’ve drained these and I’ll add them to my sheet pan with the rest of my ingredients. And then finally, a good hit of garlic.

I’ve got five cloves of garlic. I’m going to drizzle this whole operation with a tablespoon of vegetable oil. And then I’m going to use my best kitchen tongs to give this a good toss, just gently, to make sure that everything is coated with that oil.

I do want to spend some time arranging just the chilies, so the poblanos and the jalapeno. I want to make sure that they are facing skin-side up. This sheet pan is headed for the broiler. I have it all set up. My oven rack is set six inches below the broiler element and the broiler is hot.

15 minutes in the broiler. I’ll go in halfway through broiling and rotate the sheet pan. The vegetables are out of the broiler. I’ve let them rest for 15 minutes, just ’til they’ve cooled down a bit. And you can see they’re really nice and blackened in spots and that’s going to yield some really great flavor.

Now, you might be thinking we roasted chilies, we’ve gotta peel off the skins. Not so. This whole operation’s going into the blender. It’s gonna process everything really smoothly. So, into the blender we go.

Any juices that are on the sheet pan should go in there as well. Now, I’ll loosen this up with some water. This is 1/4 cup. This is a 1/4 cup of cilantro. I have a teaspoon of ground cumin, teaspoon of table salt, teaspoon of pepper, teaspoon of dried oregano, and, I think it’s the most important ingredient, a teaspoon of sugar.

And that’s going to help balance all of these strong flavors, the sourness from the tomatillos and the bitterness from those charred skins. I’ll blend this for 30 seconds on high and go in there periodically if I need to scrape down the jar.

(blender whirs) Oh, this is great. It’s super smooth. We’ve got some little black flecks in there that I know are just flavor bombs.

I’ll measure out a cup. We’ll use this in a few different places in this recipe. Looks good. Now that we’ve finished with the sauce, we can focus on the filling. And this is one place where we decided we could take it a little bit easier on ourselves by starting with a rotisserie chicken.

This is a two 1/2 pound rotisserie chicken, taken off the skin, taken out the bones, shredded it into about three cups of chicken. We also have six ounces of shredded sharp Cheddar cheese. Now for a dish like this, we often use Monterey Jack because it’s such a great melter. But it’s also very mild. So sharp Cheddar is gonna give us a little more oomph.

This is one 1/2 cups of shredded sharp Cheddar. And now I’ll add my one cup of sauce. So smooth. We’ll just give this a good stir ’til it’s well combined. And that’s the filling.

Now one final place where we realized we could save some time was with the tortillas. A lot of recipes have you soften the tortillas by frying them in oil on the stove top I’m actually going to microwave these to soften them. I have a damp kitchen towel. I’m gonna make a little home for 12 six-inch corn tortillas. We’ll fold them up.

I’ll microwave these for a minute and a half. It’s time to assemble. I’ve measured out another half cup of my sauce and I’ll add that to a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. I’ll just spread this all across the bottom. And we can set this aside and start building the enchiladas.

So I have my warm corn tortillas here but I’ll do this in stages. So I’m just going to take six of them for right now. I’ll fill each of these tortillas with a good packed quarter cup of filling.

I find it’s easiest if I sort of smush the filling out along the length of the tortilla before I start to roll so it’s nice and even. And you’ll roll these pretty tightly so that they’ll all fit.

And then I’ll transfer these to my baking dish in two rows with the seam side down. There we go, all nice and snug. Now I’ll just repeat all of that with the remaining six tortillas. There’s the last enchilada. We are ready for sauce.

This is the last two cups of the sauce that I will make sure gets in all the nooks and crannies. I’ll just use the back of a spoon to spread the sauce over all of the tortillas to make sure they are covered. We put cheese inside, but we’re putting cheese on top too. So I have another six ounces of sharp Cheddar cheese that I have shredded, another cup and a half. And we’ll just sprinkle this over all of this enchilada goodness.

I’ll cover the dish with aluminum foil. Now, if you wanted to make this ahead, you could stop here and refrigerate this, covered, for up to 24 hours. Just have to remember to tack on 15 minutes of bake time. But, we’re baking this now. We’re not waiting.

I turned off my broiler and I turned the heat to 400 degrees. This is going in the oven for 30 minutes. I want to see that all the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are heated through. It has been 30 very long minutes. It’s time for the unveiling.

Ho, ho, ho, ho! Yes. Melted cheese, everything sunk in a little bit, in the best possible way. Now, I do need to let this rest and cool for 15 minutes so that I don’t completely burn my tongue when I go to eat these. I’ll just be patient.

It’s been 15 minutes. I have a tablespoon of chopped cilantro so I’ll finish this with a little freshness. Mm. And now we’re ready to serve. So, sometimes the extraction is as stressful as the whole preparation.

But we’re gonna do it. Let me find two really good looking ones. Sometimes two spatulas are better than one. Oh, ho, ho, ho, ho! These will be delicious by themselves but half the fun of enchiladas is putting garnishes on top.

I have some sour cream and some finely chopped onion and some avocado, of course, my favorite. But I’d like to add a little hot sauce now. And finally, little squeeze of lime. Moment of truth. Mm.

They are so tasty. That cheese gives you lots and lots of depth. The chicken is super tender but that sauce is so bright and fresh. I’m so glad that we focused our energies there.

These are absolutely delicious for a weeknight or any night.

The keys to great weeknight enchiladas are broiling and blending chilies into a knockout sauce, using rotisserie chicken, and softening tortillas in the microwave. Add a few garnishes and you’ve got yourself a winner. From “Cooks Country”, green chili chicken enchiladas. – Thanks for watching “Cook’s Country” from America’s Test Kitchen. So, what’d you think?

– Leave a comment and let us know which recipes you’re excited to make or just say hi.

– Now you can find links to today’s recipes and reviews in the video description. – And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. – See you later. – Alligator.


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