Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ground Beef Nicaraguan Style - Carne Enchorizada Nicaraguense

Ground Beef Nicaraguan Recipe Baby Corn Carrots

This recipe is a Nicaraguan dish. The name is deceptive - (enchorizada = sausage) because there is no sausage in the dish, it just looks like crumbled cooked sausage. 

I had this dish at my in-laws when I first started dating then boyfriend, and now my husband, back in 1980. It looks similar to my favorite Cuban dish ... Picadillo. Notice I said looks, the taste is completely different, not that there is anything wrong with that!
A few notes about the ingredients. I know what you are going to ask when you read the recipe, why the 85/15 ground beef? Simple ... taste, tradition and you will need the juices the beef expels as it cooks. You can use the leaner cut 93/7 but it will be drier and in my opinion not as rich in flavor.
One particular ingredient used in this dish, that you may not be familiar with, is Achiote paste. Achiote paste is made from the the seeds found inside the pods of the achiote bush and is a common ingredient in Nicaraguan dishes. Here's a link so you can see what the bush, pod and seed look like:
In some cultures it is also referred to as annato. Achiote paste is made by grinding the seed with spices, garlic, vinegar and few other ingredients into a thick paste. It is used mainly for color but I personally love the taste it gives to food, especially grilled meats. If you can't find it, skip it! If you are feeling adventurous you can make your own, read my post on Achiote Paste!

2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
Salt and pepper
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 generous teaspoons of yellow mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium or 1 large onion, chopped
2-3 potatoes, peeled, 1/4" dice 
2 carrots, peeled, 1/4" dice 
7 ears of baby corn, sliced,1/4" coins
1 teaspoon achiote paste (optional)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup beef stock

- Combine beef with 1½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in a large bowl. Do not overwork beef.

- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until it’s softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.

- Increase heat to medium-high; add the beef, stirring to break up any lumps, until the beef is no longer pink, and most of the juices have evaporated. Stir in the vinegar, potatoes, carrots, baby corn, achoite paste (if using) cloves, beef stock, sprinkling of salt and pepper over top and bring up to a high simmer for 1 minute. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer on low for 30 minutes. 

This dish is typically served with white rice, Nicaraguan corn tortillas, boiled or fried plantains and/or "ensalada de repollo" (a vinegary cabbage slaw).


  1. I gotta make this... it was yummy when you made it and now I have to challenge myself to make it myself!
    Plus, love that baby corn!

  2. I use to eat this at a little place in San Juan del Sur, called Bueno Gusto, when I lived in Nicaragua. Could eat buckets of it. Glad I found your site, makin it tomorrow.

  3. Hi Tim! Thank you for commenting. I hope my recipe lives up to what you had in Nicaragua. Thanks for joining the site too! If you can let me know how it turns out.