“Carne” Mechada, or seitan and black beans in tomato sauce (Venezuela)

Venezuela is located in the north of South America. It was the first permanent settlement of the Spanish in South America, but gained its independence as early as 1821 thanks to the revolutionary Simón Bolïvar. He lended his name to Bolivia, but also remains in the official name of Venezuela, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and its currency, the Bolívar fuerte.

Venezuela is an important producer of oil and thus oil prices have had a major impact on its economical security. Like several other Latin American countries, it has seen several dictators and coups, with corruption remaining problematic.

The Venezuelan cuisine has been influenced by Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian ones. There are big differences between the different regions. Besides meat, seafood and cheese, starches like corn, rice, potato and yam are common. The Venezuelans eat the second most pasta in the world.

Popular vegetables include tomatoes, onions, lettuce, plantains, squash, zucchini and eggplant. Especially desserts are very Italian/Spanish influenced, including chocolate mousse, flan, cheesecake and zabaglione, though they also make coconut and pumpkin based desserts. Street food is very popular.

Carne mechada, of course, refers to meat. I used seitan, but some other meat substitute would also work. There are quite a few spices, but the amounts are so small (I made 1/4 of the recipe) that the result is quite a typical tomato sauce – tasty, but nothing special. You could probably greatly simplify the cooking process of the recipe, but this is done similar to the original one.

“Carne Mechada”

"Carne" mechada

1/3 lb/150 g dried black beans
1 lbs/450 g seitan (or other meat substitute), sliced
1 tbsp red wine
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and black pepper, to taste

Mechado sauce

1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 hot chili, minced
0.8 cup/2 dl passata (tomato sauce)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
salt and black pepper, to taste

Soak the black beans overnight and simmer until done, at least an hour. Meanwhile, add the other ingredients from the first section (from seitan to salt and pepper) to a pan, cover with water and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Take out the seitan and strain the stock through a sieve, discarding the spices and onion. Boil the stock until reduced by half.

Moving on to the sauve, fry the onion, bell pepper and chili in the oil for about 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, 1/3 cup/75 ml of the reduced stock, the seasonings, seitan and beans. Bring to boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with rice (I used amaranth). Serves 4 people or so.

3 Responses to ““Carne” Mechada, or seitan and black beans in tomato sauce (Venezuela)”

  1. 1

    Kiva oli nähdä postauksesi Venezuelan keittiöstä.Asuin siellä 2004-2005 ja muistan kyllä että tuota carne mechadaa oli monessa ruokalistassa,mutta koska siinä vaiheessa söin vain kanaa,(nykyään en sitäkään)niin sitä ei tullut koskaan maistettua. Venezuelan keittiössä on monta ihanaa juttua,joita vieläkin kaipaan,etenkin ihanat , mozzarellan tapaiset juustot ja arepa-leivät(tosin onneksi niitäkin voi tehdä jos vaan löytyy esikypsytettyä maissijauhoa.

  2. 2

    Etelä-Amerikan ruoka (meksikolaista lukuunottamatta) taitaa olla kovasti aliarvostettua, ainakin Euroopassa. Jenkeissä kai on perulaisia ja karibialaisia ravintoloita jonkin verran, täällä Amsterdamissakin jokunen brasilialainen, perulainen jne, tietysti argentiinalaisia pihvipaikkoja paljon, mutta venezuelalaisia ei kyllä ole näkynyt. (Surinamilaisia paikkoja täällä on toki pilvin pimein, mutta niiden ruoka tuntuu kummasti lähes identtiseltä indonesialaisten paikkojen ruokaan…)

  3. 3

    Gorgeous recipe! Sounds delicious :-)

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