Carne mechada, also known as Venezuelan shredded beef, is a traditional Venezuelan dish prepared using pulled beef. It is typically accompanied by rice and served as a main meal. It is also used as a stuffing for arepas, sandwiches and empanadas.
Other ingredients added to Carne Mechada include onions, sweet red bell peppers and cumin. The beef is slow-cooked until it is tender and juicy, and packed with flavor. The dish resembles Cuba’s popular shredded beef dish, Ropa Vieja.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Mechar (or desmechar) refers to the process of separating hair into strands. It is similar to the action of shredding the beef.
Carne mechada also plays a significant role in the preparation of Venezuela’s national dish Pabellon Criollo, which includes shredded beef, black beans, white rice and fried plantains.
Venezuelan Carne Mechada Recipe
Carne mechada, also known as Venezuelan shredded beef, is a traditional Venezuelan dish prepared using pulled beef.
For the Beef
- Skirt steak - 2 lb
- Onion (quartered) - 1
For the Sauce
- Oil - 1 tbsp
- Onion (quartered and sliced) - 1
- Red bell peppers (quartered and sliced) - 2
- Garlic - 3 cloves
- Tomatoes (diced) - 2
- Worcestershire sauce - 1 tbsp
- Salt - 1 tsp
- Ground black pepper - ½ tsp
- Cumin - ¼ tsp
- Reserved beef cooking broth - 2 cups
- Begin by taking the meat and trimming it, if necessary. Now, cut it into 4 pieces. Transfer the pieces to a medium-sized soup pot and pour water on top.
- Throw in 1 quartered onion and allow it to simmer for about 2 hours. Make sure to get rid of any foam that may form on the surface.
- Once cooked, take out the beef from the water and allow it to cool a little. Keep in mind that you should store 2 cups of the meat broth.
- Next, using two forks, begin to shred the meat. Place aside.
- It’s time to prepare the sauce now. Take a large pan with high sides. Add the oil and heat it over a medium flame. Throw in the onions, peppers and garlic. Cook until the onions become soft. This should take you about 4-5 minutes.
- Now, add the diced tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and cumin. Combine all the ingredients well.
- Add the shredded meat and 2 cups of the beef broth. Allow the ingredients to cook until it comes to a boil.
- Lower the flame to a simmer and let the dish cook for an additional 20 minutes. Remember to leave the pan uncovered while it cooks.
- If you are planning on consuming your carne mechada in a traditional Venezuelan manner, along with rice and beans, remember to keep the meat slightly brothy.
- However, if you are planning to use it as a stuffing for arepas or empanadas, you will need to cook it until it is almost dry, keeping in mind to stir frequently so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 469Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 613mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 44g