You’ve been a meat-lover as far as you can remember. As you explore different kinds of meat dishes, something pops up in your mind. You realize that you have yet to answer with finality the question of whether carne picada is the same as ground beef.
With all the terminologies surrounding meat, it is quite easy to mix one from the other. Considering the different kinds of carne picada recipes out there, one can think that it is the same as your regular ground beef.
How exactly different are the two? What are the key characteristics of the carne picada that sets it apart from other types of beef? Continue reading below for the answers.
Carne Picada vs Ground Beef: The Meat of the Matter
Let us first squash the beef and go directly to the meat of the matter. Is carne picada the same as ground beef? Technically, the definition can get blurry.
Carne picada in English means “minced meat.” You can find one in the grocery that looks the same as coarsely ground meat. However, it can also come in the form of very fine strips of beef.
Also, you should not confuse it with mincemeat. Mincemeat is a mixture of spices, distilled spirits, and chopped dried fruits.
Furthermore, “carne pica” means spicy beef. Hence, the cuts you should see should be the flavorful ones. That is if they’re truthful in selling them as carne picada.
Interestingly, this spicy element of the carne picada traces its roots to the Catalan regions. Picada pertains to one of the many characteristics of Spanish culinary techniques and is popular across areas like Argentina. Strictly, picada is a mixture of nuts, garlic, olive oil, and other aromatics that you turn into a pounded paste.
Like regular ground beef, carne picada also cooks quickly. This is because of its thin slices. However, it offers more surface area than ground beef. This makes it perfect for adding flavors and seasoning.
So, are carne picada and ground beef the same? The answer is “yes,” to a certain extent. Though carne picada usually comes thinly-sliced, you can also shred it as you would a lump of regular ground meat.
Can You Make One at Home?
Can you make carne picada at home or should you just get one from the grocery? If you have lots of time to spare, you can create your own. For starters, you need to focus on the essentials.
Interestingly, carne picada is more about the marinade instead of the specific cut of meat. Thus, you may go for a variety of cuts.
From there, you want to slice the beef cuts into thin strips. The key to slicing the beef for carne picada is to slice against the grain. Slicing the meat this way shortens the tissue fibers and muscles of the beef.
As a result, you will enjoy the meat as tender as possible. After slicing, toss the strips into some fresh minced garlic. Mix the two vigorously then add some dry spice mixture.
Your mixture should include ground coriander seeds, ground cumin, and ancho chili powder. You also want to add some salt, brown sugar, ground black pepper, and dried Mexican oregano.
After fusing the meat with the spicy mixture, let it marinate overnight inside your refrigerator.
Carne Picada: The Basic Way to Prepare One
With your seasoned meat ready, you can now take on your first carne picada dish. Since this will be your first time, you should start with the most basic way: pan-frying.
First, you need a large skillet, some olive oil, onions, and bell peppers. You also need some aluminum foil, a large pot, and your carne picada that you marinated overnight.
Begin by heating your skillet on a stove-top burner. As for the heat, you want to keep it in the medium. Add a tablespoon of olive oil into the skillet and let it heat for about a minute or two.
Using the skillet, add your onions and some bell peppers into the olive oil. Saute for at least two minutes until the onions start to turn brown.
Next, you want to add your carne picada into the skillet. Fry the beef for about five to six minutes. Make sure to stir it while ensure evenly cooking. Once you see the meat starting to turn brown on the sides, you can then remove the heat.
Slow-Cooking Carne Picada
Apart from stir-frying, you can also slow-cook your carne picada. Slow-cooking is perfect, especially if you are using Angus beef.
This time, however, you will slice the meat in ½-inch cubes instead of thin strips. Moreover, you will need 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, a tablespoon of chili powder, and a teaspoon of kosher salt.
Additionally, prepare half a teaspoon of ground cumin, half a teaspoon of cracked pepper, canola oil, and 2 cans of diced tomatoes with green chili.
Start by patting the bottom of your meat cubes using a paper towel. you want to pat the bottom part until they are dry.
Next, get a small bowl and combine the cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and flour. Take your heavy-bottom pan and heat the canola oil. Thereafter, sear the cubes over medium-high heat.
You want to sear them in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Continue searing until the cubes turn brown. Stir in the tomatoes and the flour blend into the beef.
Slowly transfer everything into your slow cooker. Turn your cooker into high heat and let it cook for about three hours.
As we mentioned earlier, there are many kinds of beef carne picada recipes out there. There are carne picada tacos, as well as grilled carne picada. Click here for another excellent way of preparing a carne picada dish.
Discover More About Meat Dishes
Now that you know the basics of Carne Picada and how to prepare one, you can start exploring different carne picada recipes and iterations. However, carne picada is only one of the meat dishes you need to try.
We invite you to check our other blog posts and articles. We discuss a variety of meat dishes and how to prepare them at home.