Carne Con Papas

I always seem to go back to basics, and this next dish is as basic as it could possibly be: Carne con Papas (meat and potatoes). This is one of the easiest, most comforting dishes I’ve ever made. It’s the epitome of comfort food. Simple ingredients made with a humble heart turn out to be the most memorable and best-tasting dishes.

Carne con Papas is another traditional Cuban dish. I remember eating it often as I was growing up. My mom in the kitchen as always, a few ingredients, and her pressure cooker. I think if I call her right now, that’s where she’ll be! Of course if you’ve read any of my other Cuban food recipes, you know I’m terrified of a good old fashioned pressure cooker. So that’s where my Instant Pot comes in. If you don’t own an electric pressure cooker, you may want to consider buying one. Trust me when I say it’s a game changer. Many Cuban recipes require pressure cooking, so the Instant Pot saves me time and stress.

Handed down generation to generation, I’m certain that this recipe has evolved. Most Cubans I know don’t ever write anything down, much less a recipe, because it is all by memory and the fact that Cuban cuisine has the same base to almost every dish. Stick to what you know and have available, right?

While I use individual herbs and spices for other Cuban recipes, this time I took the even shorter route, and used complete seasoning, or Sazón Completa by Badia. This complete seasoning has the perfect combination of herbs and spices for this dish. I find it at my local Walmart supermarket, but your local grocers may carry it as well. If you cannot find it, ordering online is probably the best solution. Sazón Completa is basically a blend of onion, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, cumin and other herbs and spices that are good on just about any meat, fish, poultry, veggies, or soups–you name it. I highly recommend you try to obtain a container of it. You’ll end up using it on many other dishes too. There are other brands to choose from, so buy whichever one you like best. It’s economical and very useful for many Latin dishes.

I’d also like to add that I buy my meat in bulk from Sam’s Club. They are very reasonable in price and quality. The meat is always well cut, clean, and ready to use. I simply separate and label my portions as soon as I get home from shopping. This is great way to save money and make cooking easy.

Carne con Papas is served over white rice. This plate has a light tomato based broth, and super soft potatoes.The meat will literally melt in your mouth and you won’t even need a knife. One less utensil to wash? Winning! I hope you enjoy my recipe. Let’s eat!

Here is the recipe:

Prep Time: 5-8 minutes

Cook Time 40 minutes

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 Lbs of meat for stewing, cubed
  • 6 medium red or golden potatoes, cubed (about 6 cubes per potato)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup of dry white cooking wine or vino seco
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • ½ medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp Complete Seasoning or Sazón Completa
  • 1 tsp black ground pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp of fresh oregano, minced
  • Splash of your favorite hot sauce (optional)

Directions

Note: I used an electric food processor on the onion, garlic, fresh oregano, and green bell pepper for a more even texture. Feel free to use yours for these ingredients.  

  1. Turn your Instant Pot on and set to sauté mode. Add the canola or vegetable oil.
  2. Add the chopped onion, green bell pepper, oregano and garlic. Stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste. Stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the meat, complete seasoning, salt, black ground pepper, and paprika.
  5. Add the dry white cooking wine and water. Stir to combine.
  6. Turn sauté mode off and place the lid on your Instant Pot. Then, turn the pressure vent to sealing mode.
  7. Set your Instant Pot to meat/stew mode and cook for 25 minutes.
  8. After about 10 minutes of complete cooking time, rapid release the pressure valve and wait until it has fully decompressed before opening the lid. Turn your Instant Pot off.
  9. Add the cubed potatoes and place the lid back on, set to sealing mode, and sauté mode. Cook for 5 minutes.
  10. Once the 5 minutes are up, repeat step #8. The potatoes should be super tender and the dish ready to plate and serve.

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