Portuguese Carne Assada


A platter of Azorean carne assada--chunks of roasted beef, carrots, and sausage on a white plate.

This Portuguese carne assada from David’s VERY Portuguese Mama Leite, is a traditional Azorean braised beef dish made with meltingly tender meat, small red potatoes, chouriço, and onions.

A platter of Azorean carne assada--chunks of roasted beef, carrots, and sausage on a white plate.A platter of Azorean carne assada--chunks of roasted beef, carrots, and sausage on a white plate.

This is my mom’s version of the traditional Azorean dish, a Portuguese carne assada em vinha d’alhos. Actually, it’s not quite her version. I’ve tweaked it a bit by searing the beef first for extra flavor, something Portuguese cooks usually don’t do. It has something of a spicy kick, which is common in the islands. Have a chunk of chewy bread nearby to mop up the molho (sauce).

READ THE ARTICLE: LOST IN THE ATLANTIC: THE AZORES AND ITS HEARTY CUISINE

Oh, and one last thing. Momma Leite talks about “brown potatoes” when she discusses her recipe on our podcast. What she means by that is the potatoes end up absorbing the molho and hence have a brownish blush.–David Leite

Slow cooker variation

A black platter filled with slow cooker carne assada--beef chunks, carrots, potatoes, and sausage in a red broth.A black platter filled with slow cooker carne assada--beef chunks, carrots, potatoes, and sausage in a red broth. : Elie Nasser

To make slow cooker carne assada, marinate the meat as directed in the recipe. Brown the meat in a Dutch oven, and then the onions and garlic, as instructed in the recipe, transferring them to the slow cooker after browning.

Pour in the marinating liquid and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours, then stir in the chouriço, potatoes, and carrots, and cook until the vegetables and meat are tender, 2 to 3 hours more. If you are short on time, the carne assada can also be cooked on HIGH for 4 to 6 hours, adding the vegetables and chouriço for the final 2 hours of cooking.

Slice the beef and chouriço and arrange them on a platter, surrounded by the vegetables. Drizzle the sauce from the slow cooker over the meat and vegetables. If the sauce is thinner than you prefer, let it simmer in the slow cooker, uncovered, until slightly reduced.

Instant Pot or pressure cooker variation

A white soup bowl filled with Instant Pot carne assada--beef chunks, carrots, potatoes, and sausage in a red broth.A white soup bowl filled with Instant Pot carne assada--beef chunks, carrots, potatoes, and sausage in a red broth. : Dana Vanhove

To make Instant Pot carne assada, marinate the meat as directed in the recipe. Use the sauté function of your pressure cooker to brown the meat, then transfer it to a plate and brown the onion and garlic, as directed in the recipe. Pour the marinade and water into the pot, then set the roast on top.

Secure the lid of your pressure cooker and bring it to HIGH pressure. Cook on HIGH pressure for 15 minutes per pound of meat, about 1 hour total. Rapidly release the pressure, then stir in the chouriço, potatoes, and carrots. Return the pressure cooker to HIGH pressure and cook for 20 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then fully release the pressure, and remove the lid.

Slice the beef and chouriço and arrange them on a serving platter with the potatoes and carrots. Drizzle the sauce from the pressure cooker over the meat and vegetables. If the sauce is thinner than you prefer, use the simmer or sautè function to reduce the sauce to your desired consistency.

Recipe FAQs

What can I use instead of chuck roast?

If you have trouble finding beef chuck roast, a cut we like for its compact, uniform shape, deep flavor, and tenderness in pot roast and stews, there are a few more common but equally good alternatives. Namely, a top-blade roast or a bottom-chuck roast. They’re both boneless, uniformly shaped cuts from the chuck that will work nearly as well, as the meat is similar in texture and flavor.

What kind of meat is chuck roast?

A chuck roast is cut of beef from the shoulder and neck area and could be labeled chuck roast, boneless chuck, chuck shoulder, shoulder steak, or chuck shoulder pot roast. A bit fattier than beef round or brisket, chuck has a richer taste but higher in saturated fats. Can’t win, right?

Helpful tips

  • If you are halving the recipe, use the full amount of liquid suggested in the recipe.
  • If your potatoes are larger than 1 1/2 inches, cut them into smaller pieces to ensure that they cook through.
  • Leftover carne assada can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat or in a 350°F oven until heated through.
  • This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.

Portuguese Carne Assada

A platter of Azorean carne assada--chunks of roasted beef, carrots, and sausage on a white plate.A platter of Azorean carne assada--chunks of roasted beef, carrots, and sausage on a white plate.

This Portuguese carne assada from David’s VERY Portuguese Mama Leite, is a traditional Azorean braised beef dish made with meltingly tender meat, small red potatoes, chouriço, and onions.

Prep 1 hr 10 mins

Total 6 hrs 30 mins

  • In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the garlic, wine, tomato paste, oregano, bay leaves, both types of paprika, the pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the beef, turn to coat, cover, and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or, preferably, overnight, turning the beef several times.

  • Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and crank the heat to 325°F (163°C).

  • Remove the bowl from the fridge and transfer the beef and garlic cloves to a plate, reserving the marinade. Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper.

  • In an ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil. When hot, sear the beef until nicely browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to the plate. Do not wipe out the Dutch oven.

  • Reduce the heat to medium. If the pot is dry, drizzle in a little more oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes more.

  • Pour the reserved marinade and water into the pot and bring to a boil. Nestle in the beef, cover tightly, and put it in the oven to braise, turning the meat and basting it every 20 minutes or so, until almost falling apart tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

  • Add the chouriço, potatoes, and carrots to the Dutch oven and continue to braise the meat, covered, for 30 minutes more.

  • Transfer the beef to a bowl, ladle some of the cooking liquid over the meat, and cover with foil to keep warm. Bump up the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C), slide the pot back into the oven, and roast the vegetables and sausage in the remaining cooking liquid, uncovered, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, 15 to 30 minutes more.

  • Transfer the vegetables and sausage to the bowl with the meat and skim any fat from the sauce in the pot. If the sauce seems too liquidy to form a sauce, place it over medium heat and simmer it until it’s reduced to the desired consistency. Remove and discard the bay leaves.

  • To serve, slice the chouriço on the diagonal into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces. Center the beef on a platter, remove the string, and arrange the sausage and vegetables around the roast. Ladle a bit of the sauce on top, sprinkle with parsley, and pass the rest of the sauce on the side.

  1. Scaling the recipe–If you are halving the recipe, use the full amount of liquid suggested in the recipe.
  2. Potatoes–If your potatoes are larger than 1 1/2 inches, cut them into smaller pieces to ensure that they cook through.
  3. Storage–Leftover carne assada can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat or in a 350°F oven until heated through.
  4. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.

Serving: 1servingCalories: 702kcal (35%)Carbohydrates: 21g (7%)Protein: 48g (96%)Fat: 41g (63%)Saturated Fat: 16g (100%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 168mg (56%)Sodium: 1173mg (51%)Potassium: 1134mg (32%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 4304IU (86%)Vitamin C: 11mg (13%)Calcium: 69mg (7%)Iron: 7mg (39%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Recipe © Momma Leite. Photo © 2022 Adam DeTour. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.

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