Carne Con Tomate (Meat in Tomato Sauce)- is a traditional Spanish recipe, usually made with beef or pork and cooked in tomato salsa.
A classic dish from Andalucia Spain
Carne con Tomate- Meat with tomato is one of the most common recipes in any house in Andalusia and find it on the tapas list of almost all bars and taverns.
You can also find this dish under the name of Spanish Beef Tomato Stew, Beef Tomato Stew, Spanish Pork And Tomato Stew, or Carne En Salsa, Carne En Salsa Roja, Carne Con Tomates, etc.
There are many different ways to make it, as it usually happens with popular cuisine dishes. However, this version of the popular recipe is one of the richest I have ever tried.
This recipe will give you instructions on cooking this dish in 3 ways: on the stove, in a Crockpot, and the Instant Pot. You will discover how easy it is to make this recipe using classic or modern methods.
It is delicious and easy to make, and you can serve this meat stew with any side dish you enjoy.
If you are not in the mood for any side dish, get some French baguette or crusty artisanal bread and dip it in the sauce.
Why do we love stews?
And what is the story of this recipe on the blog:
Stews are comfort food for cold seasons and delicious for supper or lunch. I love stews in any form and at any time of the year. In my house, we have them all the time.
There is nothing better than coming home, hungry from work, and warming up a bowl of stew. It makes everything better.
When my daughter lived in Spain, she told me about the Carne con Tomate dish and raved about it. Her friends used to invite her over and serve this dish.
A communal bowl full of stew and some crusty bread, and they would sit down and eat it until their bellies would be full.
It sounded like so much fun. Then, when we visited her, she took us to a restaurant where they served this stew on a hoagie bun.
Here we were in the south of Spain, sitting by beautiful historical sites and eating a sandwich filled with Carne con Tomate!
With sauce dripping down our hands, the only thing you could hear was our chewing sounds.
She even sent me back home to the US with typical Spanish ingredients, so she could make sure my Spanish recipes would be as authentic as possible. (We take these Spanish dishes seriously in this family)
You can make this dish with either beef or pork. The meat is cut into bite-size chunks and browned in olive oil. Both versions are super delicious and economical.
You might see recipes that use only beef in this traditional recipe, but pork often replaces it with great success.
What parts of meat are the most popular?
Beef shank- this is a cut of beef taken from the animal's lower leg. The muscle is very used by the animal, and it has a lot of connective tissue.
This connective tissue is broken down through slow cooking over low heat and results in moist, tender meat with rich flavor.
Chuck beef- it also has a lot of flavors. While not as tender as other beef cuts and can become rather tough if not cooked properly, this cut is perfect to be stewed, slow-cooked or braised to make it more tender.
Pork– If you choose to use pork instead, any kind of pork meat is acceptable. I prefer the shoulder part because it has more connective tissue, which is more flavorful.
Onions and Garlic
I am always flexible with the type of onion I use in my cooking. I always have both white and red onions in the pantry and use them for all kinds of dishes. Remember that red onions are milder and sweeter than white onions, but other than that, both onions are fine to use.
There is no Carne Con Tomate without garlic. Garlic brings flavor and goes very well with tomato sauce and meats.
This is the oil I use for cooking Spanish dishes in particular. Not all olive oils are the same. Quality always goes over quantity, so please buy the best olive oil you can afford because it makes a huge difference in the taste of the final dish.
The traditional recipes of this Carne Con Tomate use sherry wine or Vino de Jerez. We will talk more about this wine later.
Nutmeg (affiliate link)
This fantastic spice is one of the most popular ingredients in Spanish Cuisine, and I encourage you to use it when you make Spanish dishes, for more authenticity. Fresh ground nutmeg is better but use what you have in your pantry.
The bay leaves (affiliate link) are mandatory for this dish. Meat, tomato sauce, and bay leaves are a match made in Heaven, and they cannot give you that specific taste of the dish if one of them is missing.
Salt and pepper
I hate to give you specific amounts of salt because everyone is different, and some of you might look for less salt in their food. Use salt according to your taste and needs and you will be fine.
Some other ingredients that are equally popular and you might find in other versions of Carne Con Tomate:
- Green peppers, Red peppers, Thyme, Oregano, Red Wine, etc.
What is Vino De Jerez?
or Spanish Sherry wine - fortified
Vino de Jerez is a versatile wine that tends to adapt to almost all Spanish dishes. This wine can be classified as one of the oldest and most famous in Spain and Europe. It is produced in Andalusia, a Spanish province, favored by a warm climate and calcareous soil.
Different types of Jerez are equally used in this dish:
- The Oloroso Wine- dry and light on the palate, between 17º and 22º, it has an amber color, attenuated pungent aroma with a hazelnut flavor. It is considered ideal for enhancing the flavors of tuna, meat stews, aged cheeses, and sausages.
- Amontillado Wine- dry and light on the palate, between 17º and 22º, amber color, attenuated pungent aroma with a hazelnut flavor.
- Fino- dry and light on the palate, between 15º and 17º, it is sharp with a delicate aroma of almond.
If you cannot find any of these wines, then use higher content alcohol (from 12.5 percent up) dry wine that you enjoy.
What to serve with this stew
Can I freeze this dish?
Transfer the stew into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. You can also transfer it into a single serving portion and freeze it.
It is best to defrost it overnight in the refrigerator before serving. Heat in microwave or stovetop for a few minutes and stir occasionally.
Can I make this recipe in the Crock Pot/Slow Cooker?
Of course! Follow the same recipe, but start by browning the meat in a separate skillet, sauté the onion and garlic, then transfer everything to the crockpot, add the rest of the ingredients, cover, and cook for 4 hours on "High" or 6 hours on "Low."
Can I make this recipe using an Instant Pot?
Yes! See the instructions below or follow the instructions on your Instant Pot (affiliate link). For tender and juicy meat, I recommend cooking it for about 20 minutes per pound on high pressure (the manual setting), plus 15 minutes of natural release.
Other Stew Recipes
Carne Con Tomate (Meat in Tomato Sauce)
- 2 pounds pork or beef cut into cubes
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup of your favorite white wine or Spanish sherry wine
- 1 cup tomato sauce or tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg powder
- 1-2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon salt or to your taste
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper or to your taste
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
How to make the dish on the stove:
- Cut the meat into bite-size cubes.
- In a medium pot, heat the olive oil.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper.
- Add the chopped meat and brown it on all sides.
- Remove the meat and set it aside in a bowl.
- Add the chopped onion and the chopped garlic to the pot.
- Saute until the onion becomes soft and translucent.
- When the onion is soft, add the tomato sauce and the white wine/sherry or water.
- Add nutmeg, sugar, and bay leaves. Add salt and pepper to your taste.
- Bring the browned meat back to the pot.
- Cover with a lid and let it simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes until the meat is tender.
- Uncover and simmer for another 10-15 minutes until the sauce reduces and thickens.
- Serve simple with crusty good bread, or next to potatoes, rice, or pasta.
- Place oil in the Instant Pot and press the "Saute" button.
- Brown the meat stirring frequently.
- Add onions, garlic, and continue stirring until onions are translucent.
- Add bay leaves, salt, pepper, nutmeg, sugar, tomato sauce, or tomato puree, wine, or water.
- Cancel the "Saute," close the pot and set it on "Stew." (For tender and juicy meat, I recommend cooking it about 20 minutes per pound) of high pressure (the manual setting), plus 15 minutes of natural release.