Carne Louca (Brazilian Braised Beef Sandwich) Recipe

Brazilian Braised Beef Sandwiches - Carne Louca
Marian Blazes
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 20 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
159 Calories
9g Fat
5g Carbs
13g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 159
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 39mg 13%
Sodium 177mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 13g
Calcium 25mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Carne louca ("crazy meat") is popular Brazilian party fare: small appetizer-size sandwiches filled with tender braised beef with vegetables. The beef is marinated in a vinegar sauce, then browned in a skillet. Onions, tomatoes, and green peppers are sautéed in the same skillet, then everything is simmered in the marinade until the beef is very tender.

Brazilians often cook the beef in a pressure cooker before adding it to the sautéed vegetables, which speeds things up a bit.

Use small, crusty, French-bread style rolls to make the sandwiches.


  • 2 pounds beef chuck (cut into 2-inch cubes)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon coarse spicy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tomato (seeded and diced)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon beef bouillon paste (or 1 to 2 cups beef stock)
  • 2 tablespoons cachaça, rum, or water
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon chile pepper paste or 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional, to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

Steps to Make It

  1. Whisk together the vegetable oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and mustard in a non-reactive bowl.

  2. Add the beef and mix well. Loosely cover with plastic wrap. Marinate beef in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. 

  3. Peel and dice one onion. Cut the second onion into thin half-moon shaped slices and set aside. Cut the green pepper into strips. 

  4. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the beef from the marinade and brown beef on all sides in the skillet (reserving marinade). Remove the beef to a plate and set aside.  

  5. Add the diced onions to the skillet with the reserved marinade. Cook over medium heat until onions are soft and fragrant.

  6. Add the garlic and diced tomatoes and continue to cook until tomatoes are soft and most of their liquid has evaporated.

  7. Add the tomato paste, green pepper, sliced onions, and oregano, and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. 

  8. Add the browned beef back to the skillet along with the beef bouillon and 1 to 2 cups of water, or enough to just cover the beef (or use beef stock instead of bouillon and water). Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer beef for 1 to 2 hours, or until beef is tender enough to be shredded with a fork.

  9. In a small bowl, whisk together the cachaça (or rum), cornstarch, and chile pepper paste or hot sauce until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the mixture to beef and stir until sauce has thickened. Add capers and green onions and stir. Remove from heat.

  10. Let beef mixture cool slightly before filling sandwich rolls. Carne louca keeps well for several days and can be reheated to make more sandwiches.