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“One of our friends is famous for her Carne Seca; she doesn't dare have a party without including it. The name means "dry meat", although in this recipe is certainly is not dry. The dish is also known as ropa vieja (old clothes) since is does rather look like a pile of rags. Whatever you call it, it makes a marvelous hors' d'oeuvre when served with flour tortillas. Any inexpensive cut of beef may be substituted for chuck in this recipe; brisket or London broil, for example. Carne Seca must be started at least 2 days before you plan to serve it but a lot of it is unattended cooking. The recipe makes plenty when served as hors d'oeuvres and there'll undoubtedly be leftovers. Do notice the variation for Apache Burros at the end. As Martha would say, "they're a good thing".”
12hrs 10mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Place meat in a roasting pan and cover with water. You may add the optional ingredients at this point if you wish. I generally do. Cover the pan and roast it overnight at 250 to 300 degrees.
  2. In the morning drain the meat, reserving the broth and discarding the onion and garlic if used; the meat should be very tender when pierced with a fork. Cool the meat for at least 1 hour or until it can be handled easily.
  3. Using your fingers, shred meat, pulling it apart where the grain allows separation. Pull off and discard all fat, bone and gristle.
  4. Combine the shredded meat with salsa; let marinate overnight.
  5. Next day, add meat to frying pan with a little of the reserved broth and simmer, uncovered, until heated through and most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To serve: Keep Carne Seca warm by placing on a warming tray or serrving in a frying pan set to warm. Accompany with a bowl or platter of 6-inch flour tortillas, cut into sixths. Guests spoon a little of the Carne Seca onto a tortilla wedge to eat.
  7. About those leftovers: This recipe makes a large amount but the leftovers keep well -- up to 4 days in the refrigerator or in the freezer for up to a month. Carne Seca is very versatile: you can use it in a casserole or as a filling for traditional Tex-Mex foods such as tacos, burritos, or taco salad. It can be a fine side dish accompanying a Mexican-style diner or may be the main course, accompanied by pinto beans and flour tortillas.
  8. Variation: Apache Burros. On the main street of Whiteriver, Arizona, on the Apache reservation, the Native-Americans come out at noon-time, sellling foods to other natives and to tourists alike. One of the most popular of the foods is Apache burros which are nothing more than the unadorned shredded meat of step 3 rolled into a flour tortilla. The meat is so well flavored, folks gobble these up.

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