Venezuelan Carne Mechada

Spiced shredded beef with achiote bell peppers and tomato

Serves 6-8
1 (2 lb.) flank steak
1 onion, quartered
1 large fresh bay leaf
2 cups beef stock, low fat /sodium

2 tbsp. Canola oil (infused with 1/2 tsp.achiote seeds)*
2 cups diced onion
1 cup julienne red bell pepper
3-4 small cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a deep skillet, combine the beef, quartered onion, bay leaf, and beef stock and bring to a quick boil. Then adjust the heat to low and braise the beef, covered, until it is very tender and shreds easily, about 1 ½ – 2 hours. Remove beef from the pan and place it on a cutting board to cool. Cut meat into 3-4 inch chunks and shred it. Reserve broth in a separate container.

In the same skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and red bell peppers and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and sauté 2 minutes. Season and taste. Lastly, add the shredded meat and the reserved broth and cook for about 10 minutes or longer to thicken the sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.

*Heat oil for 1 minute. Turn the heat off. Add 1/2 tsp. of achiote seeds and allow them to infuse the oil with a deep orange color for about 2-3 minutes, or longer. Remove the seeds and discard.