Carne en su jugo (literally “meat in its juice”) is a classic Mexican-style stew served over rice or beans.
It’s a flavorful meal that packs plenty of protein into each bite.
There are many different versions of this delicious soup, but most recipes include beef, bacon, and chilies.
Here’s how to prepare your own version at home using these ingredients.
What Is The Carne En Su Jugo Recipe?
The main ingredient in carne en su jugo is meat.
The type of meat used depends on what part of Mexico it originated from.
For example, if you find yourself near Veracruz, Jalisco, or Puebla, then you should use those regions’ signature cuts of beef to create this delicious dish.
But don’t worry about knowing which cuts go best with which dishes, because there are lots of ways to cook carne en su jugo!
In addition to meat, carne en su jugo requires some other key ingredients such as onions, garlic, tomatoes, chilies, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, sugar, and water.
This versatile stew can be prepared vegetarian by omitting the meat altogether.
You can also serve it alongside tortilla chips for dipping or even add cheese and sour cream for more flavor.
If you want to spice up this hearty dish, feel free to experiment with any combination of spices you like.
Just keep in mind that not all meats have equal amounts of fat, so adjust accordingly when adding extra spices.
Step 1: Add onion and garlic
- Add one medium sized yellow onion, sliced thinly, and two cloves of minced garlic to a large pot of boiling salted water.
- Cook them until they turn translucent before removing them from heat.
- Once they’re cooked, drain them thoroughly and set aside.
Step 2: Chop pork belly
- Chop one pound of boneless lean pork belly into small pieces (about ½ inch).
- Set aside.
- Heat oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot.
- Once hot, add the chopped pork belly and brown both sides for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pork belly from pan and set aside.
- Return the pan to the stovetop and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, place another tablespoon of minced garlic and one teaspoon of ground cumin seeds.
- Let them toast until fragrant.
- Then remove the garlic and cumin seeds from the pan and let cool.
- Next, chop the cooled onion, garlic, and cumin mixture together finely.
- Transfer this mixture back into the same heated pan.
- Now pour in enough chicken broth to cover the bottom of pan and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for an hour until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Remove the lid and continue cooking until most of the liquids has evaporated completely.
Step 3: Add tomato sauce and seasonings
- After everything has been simmering for around 30 minutes, stir in the contents of a 28oz can of diced tomatoes with their juices and ¼ cup of red wine vinegar.
- Season with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1/8teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
- Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so.
- Now reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 45 minutes longer.
- Finally, stir in the reserved onion and garlic mixture and return to a boil.
- Simmer uncovered for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently, until flavors combine and thickens slightly.
How Do You Make Carne En Su Jugo?
Many people think of carne en su jugo as a Mexican dish, but it can be enjoyed anywhere in the world where spicy foods are popular.
The name comes from the Spanish word for “in its juice.”
The meat is simmered until tender before being cut up and added to broth along with vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes.
Some cooks also add spices such as oregano, cumin, garlic, and onions.
These are all common additions to any stew, so adding them to carne en su jugo shouldn’t be much trouble if done properly.
You should use fresh ingredients when making this dish because canned meats won’t work well.
You will need about 1 pound of ground beef, 2 pounds of diced onions, 5 strips of bacon, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup chopped jalapeño pepper, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1 bay leaf, salt, black pepper, and hot sauce to taste.
- Add one tablespoon of tomato paste to the pot.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix together the beef, onion, bacon, and tomato paste.
- Cook on low heat for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, chop the peppers and fry them in the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a deep skillet.
- After ten minutes, season the mixture with salt, black pepper, and hot sauce.
- Bring everything back to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium high and let simmer for another 20 minutes.
- In the last five minutes of cooking time, place the bay leaf in the bottom of an 8×8 pan and pour about half of the liquid out onto the bay leaf.
- Add more water if necessary to cover the meat.
- Put the covered pan in the oven to finish off the cooking process.
- Serve in bowls with some cooked white rice or refried beans sprinkled on top.
What Is In Carne En Su Jugo?
The name of the dish means meat in its juice, so what exactly goes into this tasty broth? Carne en su jugo traditionally includes beef, pork, and tomatoes.
If you want to add some extra flavor, try adding sautéed onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, and other spices like paprika and cinnamon.
- 1 pound ground beef
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ medium onion chopped
- ¼ cup minced garlic
- ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
In a large saucepan over high heat, brown ground beef until cooked through.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add olive oil, diced onion, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes.
Saute for 5 minutes before stirring in tomato paste.
Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- 1 pound ground pork
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small yellow onion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 can (14 ounces) fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles
- Dash hot sauce
- Cooking spray
Season pork with kosher salt and pepper.
Cook in skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until no longer pink inside.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Sauté onion slices in remaining fat until translucent.
Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
Stir in allspice, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.
Let cool slightly then combine with pork mixture and canned diced tomatoes.
Simmer on low for an additional 20 minutes.
- 4 cups water
- 1 can (28 ounce) whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 sprigs fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons Tabasco sauce
Bring 4 cups water to boil in a medium stock pot.
Once boiling, remove from heat and stir in 1 can whole peeled tomatoes.
Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
Strain liquid through cheesecloth.
Return strained liquid back to stockpot and bring to a boil again.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
Sauté onions for 3 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for another minute.
Stir in sugar, salt, pepper, bay leaves, basil, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco sauce.
Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Pour mixture into stockpot along with drained tomatoes.
How Long Does It Take To Make Carne En Su Jugo?
If you want to try out this recipe for yourself, here’s what you need to know about preparing carne en su jugo:
- You will need 1 pound of ground beef or other meat.
- 1/4 cup bacon grease or oil
- 3 large onions, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 can whole tomatoes
- 8 ounces diced tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 package instant brown rice
- 1 16 ounce bag frozen corn kernels
To start off, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once your oven has reached temperature, grab your skillet and heat up some bacon fat or vegetable oil on medium high heat.
Add your onion and cook until they begin to turn translucent.
Then add the garlic and crush them both down with a wooden spoon.
Cook for another minute before adding the crushed red pepper flakes.
Continue cooking everything together for an additional two minutes, stirring occasionally.
Next, pour in your canned tomatoes and break them apart with your spoon.
Stir well as you wait for the sauce to simmer for five minutes.
Now, add your tomato paste, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
Keep mixing the mixture while waiting for the flavors to develop.
After 10 more minutes have passed, remove from the stovetop and let cool completely.
While your sauce simmers, get started on making your rice.
Once your sauce is cooled enough to handle safely, pour it into a bowl and set aside.
Next, put your rice into a pot and fill it halfway full with water.
Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover tightly so that the steam doesn’t escape.
Let your rice soak for 15 minutes before removing the lid to finish cooking.
After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and let sit covered for another 5 minutes.
While the rice cooks, chop up your beef into small pieces and transfer them to a large bowl.
You don’t need to be too precise when chopping because the goal is just to create small chunks of meat.
When the rice is done, drain it through a colander and return it to the pot.
Pour in your cooked beef along with all of your remaining ingredients except the water.
Mix everything together thoroughly and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Put your mixture back over moderate heat and stir frequently.
As soon as the liquid starts boiling, lower the heat to low and continue cooking for 20 minutes.
The final step is to add the water, which should only take about 2 cups worth.
Stir constantly as the mixture heats up again, ensuring that there aren’t any clumps of beef left behind.
Your finished product should look like this once you’ve added the water:
What Is The History Of Carne En Su Jugo?
This hearty stew originated in Mexico as a way to use up leftover meat from Sunday dinners.
The name comes from the idea that you would serve the sauce on top of rice, which was cooked in milk.
In addition to being good for leftovers, carne en su jugo also has some health benefits because of its high levels of vitamin B12 and potassium.
If you don’t have any leftovers, though, there are other ways to enjoy this tasty broth!
How Popular Is Carne En Su Jugo?
The popularity of carne en su jugo varies depending on where you live around the world.
In Mexico, it’s one of the country’s favorite dishes.
But while Americans may have come across it when they traveled abroad, it hasn’t become as well known here as it has in other countries.
This dish is often associated with carnitas—the shredded meat from pork cooked slowly until tender and then simmered in its own juices for hours.
Carne en su jugo can be prepared using either ground beef or chunks of fresh cut beef, but it’s also common to use both.
The secret ingredient is beer, which gives the broth its rich flavor along with additional nutrients.
While the original recipe calls for tomatoes, the addition of canned diced tomatoes will work just fine if you don’t have fresh ones available.
What Are Some Carne En Su Jugo Variations?
If you want to be able to make the best carne en su jugo ever, there are several things you should know about it first.
First off, it doesn’t contain tomatoes.
The word ‘jugo’ literally means “juice,” so this makes sense if you think about it.
Second, the meat used must be cooked before adding it to the broth.
Lastly, you can add as much or little heat as you like depending on what kind of chili pepper you use.
This spicy meat and vegetable combination is traditionally eaten during Cinco de Mayo celebrations and also known as Cinco de Gallina because it includes chicken eggs.
You may have seen people eat this dish while drinking beer, which would explain why it’s called carne en su jugo.
If you don’t drink alcohol, then just skip the part where they put tequila in their bowl.
The following carne en su jugo recipe is one of my personal favorites.
I enjoy eating this dish warm on cold winter days, but it tastes even better when you serve it hot.
- 1 pound boneless chuck roast
- 6 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
- 28 ounces water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- 5 large red bell peppers, seeded and quartered
- 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 2 cups uncooked white rice
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Hot sauce, optional
- Saltine crackers, crushed, optional
What Are Some Tips For Making Carne En Su Jugo?
The best way to make sure the meat stays tender as it cooks is to use fresh meat every time.
If you don’t have access to fresh meat, you can also freeze ground beef before cooking it.
You could even buy pre-ground beef from the supermarket and then thaw it out before adding it to the pot.
You may want to try freezing your leftover bones after you’ve cooked them so they will be ready whenever you need them.
Make stock by simmering all of the leftover bones together with onions, carrots, celery, peppercorns, bay leaves, salt, and water until everything has dissolved.
Strain the liquid through cheesecloth or a fine strainer and discard the solids.
Another option is to add extra flavor to your broth by soaking dried mushrooms in the hot broth for an hour or two.
Then remove them and set aside while you cook the other ingredients.
How Do You Know When Carne En Su Jugo Is Done?
This stew cooks quickly because the meat is cut up small, so don’t let it sit around too long before serving.
You can tell if the meat has finished cooking by tasting it — it should be tender and juicy.
If you want to use fresh green tomatoes rather than canned ones, add them during step 2, and simmer until they soften slightly.
If you prefer not to use green tomatoes, just leave them out altogether.
Step 1: Preparing the meat
The first thing you need to do to make carne en su jugo is chop up some of the meat.
Any kind will work, as long as it’s cut into small pieces about an inch wide and half an inch thick.
The smaller the pieces, the faster the whole process goes.
You could also buy pre-cut cubes of lean ground beef from your local grocery store, which makes chopping the meat much easier.
However, if you choose to go this route, make sure to cook the meat thoroughly before adding it to the pot.
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛teaspoon cumin
- ⅛teaspoon paprika
- a few shakes hot sauce (optional)
Once all the meat is chopped, put it in a large bowl and mix together well with your hands.
Then set aside while you get ready to start preparing the rest of the food.
Step 2: Making the stock
Next, you need to make the stock.
To do this, pour 4 cups water into a medium sized pan on medium heat.
Add ½ cup onion, 3 carrots, and 2 celery stalks.
Bring everything to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid.
Cook the vegetables for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes have passed, drain any excess liquid off the vegetables then remove the pan from the stovetop and blend the contents using an immersion blender or regular blender.
Once the mixture is smooth, return it back to the stovetop and bring the temperature up to high once again.
This time, keep the heat on medium instead of low.
Cook the broth until it reduces down significantly and becomes richly flavored.
Then strain the stock through cheesecloth into another clean pan, discarding the solids left behind.
Now that you have the stock prepared, move on to mixing it with the other ingredients.
Step 3: Adding the spices and seasoning
To finish the dish, now we need to combine the cooked meat, stock, onions, garlic, bell peppers, jalapeños, and tomato paste.
Mix everything together well with your hands and wait for a moment to allow the flavors to come together.
When the flavors have melded nicely, season the meat with salt and pepper and stir it into the mixture.
Now take the pot off of the heat and serve immediately.
What Are Some Common
Ingredients for the base of this recipe include beef chuck roast, pork belly fatback, onion, garlic, and tomatoes.
You can also add other vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, potatoes, and green peppers.
Some people like to use chicken thighs instead of the beef option.
Another key ingredient is bacon.
The meaty flavor really stands out here, so make sure you get it while it’s still on sale! If you don’t want to buy all of the bacon you need, there are lots of ways to cut back on portions.
For example, you could take one package and chop up half of it before adding it to the pot.
Bacon grease will help add even more flavor to the broth, which is why it’s important to have enough of it around.
As long as you keep an eye on what’s going in the pan, you shouldn’t have any problems getting rid of excess oil once the stew is finished cooking.
A final note about the seasonings used: There are no exact measurements listed for them because they vary depending on personal taste.
Start by tasting the stew after letting it simmer for 30 minutes.
Afterward, start adjusting until you reach the desired level of spiciness.
- 1 Skillet
- 1 Pot
- 6 slices bacon
- 3 cups water
- 4 tomatillos
- 3 serrano chile peppers seeded and chopped
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 2 pounds flank steak
- 1 cube chicken bouillon
- 2 cans pinto beans
- ½ onion
- 6 tablespoons cilantro
- ground black pepper
- 1 lime
- In a large skillet, add the bacon, and cook for about 10 minutes, turning the bacon regularly, until it is uniformly browned. On paper towels, dry off the bacon slices. Set aside bacon crumbles.
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, tomatillos, serrano peppers, and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Take the food off the stove and let it cool. Place all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth, and reserve. (If you prefer, you may omit the simmering phase and simply combine the raw tomatillos, peppers, and garlic with little water and a little browned flank beef.)
- Cook and stir flank steak in a hot, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it is thoroughly browned. Put the steak in the tomatillo mixture and heat to a boil. Heat should be reduced to medium after adding the chicken bouillon. For 30 to 1 hour, cook the meat in a covered skillet until soft.
- In the meantime, reheat pinto beans in a pot over medium heat; then, turn down the heat to low to maintain warmth.
- Mixture of flank steak, pinto beans, and bacon is then divided among 6 dishes. Each dish should be topped with a lime wedge, onion, cilantro, and black pepper.