This Portuguese carne assada from David’s VERY Portuguese Mama Leite, is a traditional Azorean braised beef dish made with meltingly tender meat, small red potatoes, chouriço, and onions.
This is my mom’s version of the traditional Azorean dish, a Portuguese carne assada em vinha d’alhos. Actually, it’s not quite her version. I’ve tweaked it a bit by searing the beef first for extra flavor, something Portuguese cooks usually don’t do. It has something of a spicy kick, which is common in the islands. Have a chunk of chewy bread nearby to mop up the molho (sauce).
☞ READ THE ARTICLE: LOST IN THE ATLANTIC: THE AZORES AND ITS HEARTY CUISINE
Oh, and one last thing. Momma Leite talks about “brown potatoes” when she discusses her recipe on our podcast. What she means by that is the potatoes end up absorbing the molho and hence have a brownish blush.–David Leite
Slow cooker variation
To make slow cooker carne assada, marinate the meat as directed in the recipe. Brown the meat in a Dutch oven, and then the onions and garlic, as instructed in the recipe, transferring them to the slow cooker after browning.
Pour in the marinating liquid and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours, then stir in the chouriço, potatoes, and carrots, and cook until the vegetables and meat are tender, 2 to 3 hours more. If you are short on time, the carne assada can also be cooked on HIGH for 4 to 6 hours, adding the vegetables and chouriço for the final 2 hours of cooking.
Slice the beef and chouriço and arrange them on a platter, surrounded by the vegetables. Drizzle the sauce from the slow cooker over the meat and vegetables. If the sauce is thinner than you prefer, let it simmer in the slow cooker, uncovered, until slightly reduced.
Instant Pot or pressure cooker variation
To make Instant Pot carne assada, marinate the meat as directed in the recipe. Use the sauté function of your pressure cooker to brown the meat, then transfer it to a plate and brown the onion and garlic, as directed in the recipe. Pour the marinade and water into the pot, then set the roast on top.
Secure the lid of your pressure cooker and bring it to HIGH pressure. Cook on HIGH pressure for 15 minutes per pound of meat, about 1 hour total. Rapidly release the pressure, then stir in the chouriço, potatoes, and carrots. Return the pressure cooker to HIGH pressure and cook for 20 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then fully release the pressure, and remove the lid.
Slice the beef and chouriço and arrange them on a serving platter with the potatoes and carrots. Drizzle the sauce from the pressure cooker over the meat and vegetables. If the sauce is thinner than you prefer, use the simmer or sautè function to reduce the sauce to your desired consistency.
What can I use instead of chuck roast?
If you have trouble finding beef chuck roast, a cut we like for its compact, uniform shape, deep flavor, and tenderness in pot roast and stews, there are a few more common but equally good alternatives. Namely, a top-blade roast or a bottom-chuck roast. They’re both boneless, uniformly shaped cuts from the chuck that will work nearly as well, as the meat is similar in texture and flavor.
What kind of meat is chuck roast?
A chuck roast is cut of beef from the shoulder and neck area and could be labeled chuck roast, boneless chuck, chuck shoulder, shoulder steak, or chuck shoulder pot roast. A bit fattier than beef round or brisket, chuck has a richer taste but higher in saturated fats. Can’t win, right?
- If you are halving the recipe, use the full amount of liquid suggested in the recipe.
- If your potatoes are larger than 1 1/2 inches, cut them into smaller pieces to ensure that they cook through.
- Leftover carne assada can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat or in a 350°F oven until heated through.
- This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
Portuguese Carne Assada
- 8 garlic cloves crushed and peeled
- 1 (26-ounce) bottle dry red wine
- 3 tablespoons double-concentrate tomato paste (or substitute 4 1/2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon chopped oregano leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes or more to taste
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1 (4-pound) boneless chuck roast tied
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or more as needed
- 2 large yellow onions coarsely chopped
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 pounds Portuguese chouriço linguiça, or dry-cured smoked Spanish chorizo, cut into several pieces
- 1 1/2 pounds golf-ball size red potatoes peeled (or not!)
- 1/2 pound baby carrots
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnish
- In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the garlic, wine, tomato paste, oregano, bay leaves, both types of paprika, the pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the beef, turn to coat, cover, and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or, preferably, overnight, turning the beef several times.
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and crank the heat to 325°F (163°C).
- Remove the bowl from the fridge and transfer the beef and garlic cloves to a plate, reserving the marinade. Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper.
- In an ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil. When hot, sear the beef until nicely browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to the plate. Do not wipe out the Dutch oven.
- Reduce the heat to medium. If the pot is dry, drizzle in a little more oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes more.
- Pour the reserved marinade and water into the pot and bring to a boil. Nestle in the beef, cover tightly, and put it in the oven to braise, turning the meat and basting it every 20 minutes or so, until almost falling apart tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
- Add the chouriço, potatoes, and carrots to the Dutch oven and continue to braise the meat, covered, for 30 minutes more.
- Transfer the beef to a bowl, ladle some of the cooking liquid over the meat, and cover with foil to keep warm. Bump up the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C), slide the pot back into the oven, and roast the vegetables and sausage in the remaining cooking liquid, uncovered, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, 15 to 30 minutes more.
- Transfer the vegetables and sausage to the bowl with the meat and skim any fat from the sauce in the pot. If the sauce seems too liquidy to form a sauce, place it over medium heat and simmer it until it’s reduced to the desired consistency. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
- To serve, slice the chouriço on the diagonal into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces. Center the beef on a platter, remove the string, and arrange the sausage and vegetables around the roast. Ladle a bit of the sauce on top, sprinkle with parsley, and pass the rest of the sauce on the side.
- Scaling the recipe–If you are halving the recipe, use the full amount of liquid suggested in the recipe.
- Potatoes–If your potatoes are larger than 1 1/2 inches, cut them into smaller pieces to ensure that they cook through.
- Storage–Leftover carne assada can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat or in a 350°F oven until heated through.
- Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I thought this carne assada was a delicious and flavorful roast. I used a Casa del Toro Cabernet/Merlot blend and marinated the roast overnight.
The roast has tons of flavor from the paprika, wine, and garlic. I will definitely make this again without the sausage just to please the house critics. (My tasters liked the dish but didn’t care for the addition of the sausage.)
I tested this recipe in a pressure cooker (Ninja Foodie.) I halved the size of the beef because I have a family of 2, and this will feed us for at least 2 more days! I did not halve any of the other ingredients, because generally speaking, it’s better to have more of those than less when it comes to serving!
This recipe was tested for a slow cooker. I followed the directions using a Dutch oven, placing the browned meat into the slow cooker heated to high while the onions and garlic cooked. I added the marinade/water to the onions/garlic and brought it to a boil in the Dutch oven prior to pouring it over the meat in the slow cooker.
The liquid was initially enough to cover the meat, so I set the slow-cooker timer for 3 hours and flipped once halfway through. I then added the carrots, potatoes, and chorizo and continued to cook for 1 hour more. At this point, the meat was fork tender and the carrots and potatoes were cooked perfectly. With a 2-person household, this made plenty of leftovers, and I found it even better the next day. And the next.
Overall, the recipe was a hit. It was traditional enough with its red-wine braise to suit my, ahem, dated palate, and the spicy, kicky twist was delightful to my 11-year-old son. It’s savory deliciousness paired with spicy heart-warming intensity. Beautiful.
I love braises. Comforting, versatile, economical and one of my favorite cold weather meals. This recipe for Carne Asada promised to be all of that. Warm and smoky with the two paprikas, richly flavored with the addition of a full-bodied red wine and lots of garlic.
My challenge was to get those flavors with a shortened cooking time in the Instant Pot. Since there were only two of us to cook for I halved the meat, used the same amount of everything else though, (potatoes and carrots are my FAVORITE part).
After the potatoes were done I removed the meat, which completely fell apart. Not being able to slice it, I decided to shred it.
The liquid in the pot was too thin, I ended up making a roux with 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour in a small saucepan. I then whisked some of the liquid from the pot into the roux and then added it all back into the pot. Voila! Within seconds it was a perfect consistency. I added the shredded meat back into the pot, added a few splashes of tabasco and stirred it all together.
To serve, I removed some of the potatoes and put them on the bottom of the soup dishes, and smashed them. I then ladled the stew over them. It was delicious. Smoky, subtle, with a nice hit of garlic.
I specifically tested this wonderful recipe in the slow cooker. It worked wonderfully in the slow cooker but keep in mind slow cookers vary a lot so I attempt here to provide the range of temperature that MY slow cooker, a KitchenAid model, operated on.
I set it for 8 hours at “HIGH” and kept a thermometer in there to track it. At this setting, the cooker heats the mixture to just below boiling and remained in the 197°F to 209°F range. The meat was very tender at the end of the cook.
If I am to use the slow cooker again, I might go for a slightly shorter timeframe, maybe 6 hours at HIGH so that the meat can be more sliceable.
The recipe is wonderful and a delicious variation on the classic red wine braised beef with all the notes of smoky paprika in there. We will be making it again.
Portuguese carne assada is a wonderful mix of meat, vegetables, spices, and wine. If you love slow-cooked meat with a hint of wine flavor, this recipe is to die for.
Cooking the roast in the slow cooker allows for a wonderfully cooked meal at dinner time with very little hands-on effort. You may choose to put the vegetables in at the beginning for a complete set it and forget it experience, or add them halfway through if you like them on the crunchier side.
This roast goes well with a side of Jasmine or wild rice.
This Portuguese Carne Assada is as hearty as it is delectable. Plan ahead and budget some time and the result will be a delightful and savory dish.
It’s not that the recipe is exceedingly complicated but, a fair amount of time is needed to allow the meat to marinate. A minimum of four hours is preferable and using a jaccard will also help to impart more flavor into a roast this size. In addition, the wine is a major contributor to the overall flavor profile of the dish so, it is important to deliberate and choose accordingly.
This recipe was tested using an Instant Pot. The potatoes and carrots were added during the last segment of the cook (approx. 25 mins) so they wouldn’t be overdone. The sausage was also an enjoyable component and further elevated the taste of the dish.
This is a fantastic family-style recipe that is sure to put smiles on the faces of those gathered around the dinner table.
I made the Portuguese Carne Asada in a slow cooker, and the results were amazing. The dish is really quite simple – not a lot of ingredients – but it packs a flavor punch.
I marinated the beef overnight, and I would recommend that. It just gives the flavors a nice, long time to blend and marinate together. I seared the beef in a Dutch oven then did the onions and garlic as per the recipe.
My crockpot was very full. I would recommend a 7- or 8-quart pot for better and easier cooking. I transferred some of the braising liquid to a saucepan and boiled it for 15 minutes or so to thicken it up.
As I said, the flavors were really amazing. I’ve never had a beef dish with chorizo, and they are a surprisingly good combination. The potatoes were the perfect vessel to soak up the delicious sauce.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This Portuguese carne assada is an international twist on what could be likened to a standard pot roast dinner but with way more zip and flavor. It will require a full afternoon in the kitchen but still allows you time to catch up on a favorite book or show in between checking the meat. I highly recommend making this on a cloudy Sunday in autumn as your belly will be fully satisfied for the week ahead.
I used a bottle of Pinot Noir from A to Z Vineyards in Oregon and regular tomato paste. I marinated the meat for 2 hours. I had enough liquid to entirely cover the meat so no turning of the meat was necessary. The sauce was a nice consistency, not too thin or thick and no additional simmer time was needed. This meal will serve 12 and will be a great meal to have as leftovers during the week.