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Monday, October 17, 2011

Puerto Rican Carne Mechada/Cuban Boliche Hybrid Recipe

All us good ole southern girls grew up with pot roast.  Here's a Latin twist on our down-home favorite.

Puerto Rican Carne Mechada and Cuban Boliche are variations on a theme of succulent stuffed beef eye of round roast, with a savory sauce, cooked either on the stovetop or in the oven until tender.  There are lots of recipes out there with varying ingredients and cooking methods.  The following recipe combines my favorite elements from each version and was inspired by a couple of recipes, namely Carne Mechada -- Puerto Rican Stuffed Pot Roast from the blog Platanos, Mangoes and Me, and Cuban Boliche from the blog CDKitchen.

This is so yummy.  Savoriness inside the roast, savoriness in the sauce, super yum.  The roast is tender because of the pre-salting and the slow braising, even though it's a totally affordable cut.  I hope you'll enjoy it.

Just a note:  I had intended to cube up some potatoes and add them to the Dutch oven during the last 30 minutes of cooking and just totally forgot (probably because we're so in the habit of limiting our intake of starchy carbs).  That would have been a really great addition, though, to soak up the yummy sauce, either that or a scoop of the fabulous white rice that Puerto Ricans and Cubanos are famous for.  This recipe absolutely screams for some potatoes or rice to sop up all the crazy good sauce.

Puerto Rican Carne Mechada/Cuban Boliche Hybrid Recipe

3-4 lb. beef eye round roast
Kosher salt
3.5 oz. package Goya (or your favorite brand) Spanish chorizo (divided use)
2 oz. manzanilla olives with pimientos (divided use)
1 head of garlic, separated into cloves (divided use)
1 packet of Goya sazon seasoning
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cubanelle peppers or 1 green bell pepper
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon dry oregano
4 bay leaves
1 cup red wine (I used Merlot, but I think the best option would be Chilean Carmenere if I hadn't finished off that bottle last week)
2 tablespoons capers
15 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 cup beef broth (I had homemade chicken broth so I used that instead)
1 bunch of cilantro

Rinse the roast and pat dry with paper towels.  Pierce a hole through the middle of the roast lengthwise.  I used a bread knife because it's really long and the blade is the same width along its entire length so it can make a nice even hole.  Rub the roast with a teaspoon of Kosher salt.  Rub the salt all over the outside and into the hole you just pierced as much as possible.  Let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours.

While the roast is sitting and "salting," cut the chorizos into quarters lengthwise, peel away the casings, and slice the quarters.  Drain the olives.  Peel the garlic cloves and cut any large cloves in half.

Rinse the salt off the roast and pat dry with paper towels.  Time to stuff the roast with yumminess.  Starting with two chorizo pieces in each hand, insert them into the holes in the roast from each end until they meet in the middle, then insert a garlic clove or garlic clove half from each end, then an olive from each end.  Continue inserting two chorizo pieces from each end, followed by a garlic clove from each end, and an olive from each end until the cavity is filled.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Sprinkle the sazon all over the "stuffed" roast and rub it into the meat.  Let the stuffed, seasoned roast sit at room temp while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Dice the cubanelles or bell pepper and the onion.  Mince the leftover garlic cloves.  Cut the leftover olives in half.  Drain the capers.  Rough chop the cilantro.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add olive oil.  Add roast and brown on all sides by cooking 2-4 minutes on each side, turning until it's browned all over.  Remove browned roast to a plate.  Reduce heat to medium low and allow the Dutch oven to cool until the oil isn't smoking.

When the olive oil in the Dutch oven has cooled a bit, add the leftover chorizo.  Cook and stir a couple of minutes.  Add the diced cubanelles or bell pepper and the diced onion, oregano, and bay leaves.  Cook, stirring frequently, until pepper and onion is opaque.  Add the leftover garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, allowing the moisture released by the veggies to cook off.

Add the red wine, stirring to deglaze the pan.  Add the leftover olives, the capers, tomato sauce, broth, and cilantro.  Bring to a simmer, then add the roast back into the pan.  Spoon the sauce over the roast.

Put the lid on the Dutch oven and put it in the oven to braise for 2 hours.

Remove roast, slice, and serve with lots of sauce.

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