Caribbean Beef Stew (Carne Guisada)

High angle view of beef stew on table

 Michelle Arnold/Getty Images

  • Total: 3 hrs
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
566 Calories
20g Fat
43g Carbs
54g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 566
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 135mg 45%
Sodium 1460mg 63%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 11g 38%
Protein 54g
Calcium 247mg 19%
*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 guisada means "stewed meat" in Spanish, but the simple translation doesn't do this dish justice. Even the toughest cuts of beef will fall apart with the low, slow simmering action of this Dominican stew. The juices from the vegetables cook down into a thick sauce that's delicious, making a perfect, warming meal on a cold winter's night. 

Tips and Variations

  • Serve the stew alone or with white rice, tostones, and a tossed salad.
  • "Tougher" meats such as boneless beef chuck are fine for this recipe. There's no possibility that it won't melt in your mouth when the stew is done. 
  • Ajíes dulces are small sweet chili peppers. You can often find them in Spanish and Latin American markets. You can leave them out if they're not available to you locally, or substitute pimientos.
  • This beef stew is traditionally prepared in a cooking pot called a caldero, but you can use any heavy kettle. 
  • For a Puerto Rican touch, use substitute 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce with 2 tablespoons sofritoa tomato-pepper-garlic-onion-herb sauce. You can find sofrito in most large markets. 
  • Some regional versions of carne guisada use chicken or pork instead of beef. You can experiment to find the variation your family likes best or to accommodate anyone who prefers not to eat beef. 


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 large cubanelle or green bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
  • 4 ajíes dulces, small sweet peppers (seeded and chopped)
  • 1 large onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar (distilled)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 15-ounce can peas
  • 1/2 pound potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 12 Spanish pimento-stuffed olives 
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Brown the stew meat in the olive oil for about 20 minutes in a large soup pot over medium heat.

  2. Add the next 10 ingredients: the cubanelle pepper, ajíes dulces, onion, garlic, cilantro, vinegar, oregano, tomato sauce, bay leaves, and salt.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour. The juices from the vegetables and tomato sauce should cook down into a thick sauce. You can add a little water if the sauce seems to be getting too thick.

  4. Turn the heat to medium after 1 hour. Add the last seven ingredients: the carrots, peas, potatoes, olives, capers, salt, and pepper to taste.

  5. Reduce the heat to low when the stew begins to boil. Continue cooking over low heat for 1 more hour.

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