Ground Meat is a building block for so many dishes in multiple cultures! You have lasagna, burgers, burritos, shepherd’s pie, and the list goes on. Puerto Ricans are no exception and use ground meat for many dishes as well. We make empanadas, pastelón, canoas de platano, and albóndigas (meatballs), among many others. Our ground meat recipe will be the base of many blog post recipes, like our Sloppy Jose recipe. I guarantee, this will be the most flavorful ground beef you have ever had! Whenever I make it I know at least a quarter of it will be gone before I even get it off the stove! Whenever I turn my back, Antonio sneaks a spoonful of ground meat thinking that I won’t catch him! He’ll just stand over the stove and eat half of the skillet before I can even boil some pasta.
Dale, vamo’ a cocinar!
First, select your ground meat with a moderate fat content such as 10-20% fat. We used ground beef but you can use other meats like chicken, turkey, or bison.
Second, bring out a big skillet (10-12″). We make our meat in a skillet to make sure that it has enough space to brown up. Add some cooking oil to your skillet at medium heat. When the oil is hot, add your homemade sofrito and sauté for a couple of minutes. Remember, sofrito literally means sautéed, so it releases the flavor and aroma the most when left to sauté in the oil for a few minutes.
Add half of a can of tomato sauce to the skillet and mix with the sofrito. At this point you can add the ground meat. Use a spatula to start breaking up the meat.
Once the meat starts browning releasing it’s juices, add the second half of the tomato sauce and a teaspoon of chicken bouillon. This is also a good time to add in your seasonings: sazon, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Let the meat continue to brown as you stir periodically.
The key to having flavorful and juicy meat is finding a balance. You have to let the juices be released to develop flavor, but also let the meat brown on the skillet for that seared meat effect. I let it cook in its juices at low-medium heat for at least 10-15 minutes until the meat looks mostly cooked. Then I increase the heat at the very end enough to dry it up a little and let the meat sear. Once the meat has seared for a few minutes, remove it from the heat so it doesn’t turn dry.
And now you have a super flavorful meat base for whatever dish you are whipping up! Or you can just stand there over the skillet with a spoon and call it a day!
- 2 lbs ground chuck
- 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp sazon
- 2 tbs sofrito
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chicken bouillon
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- Add cooking oil to skillet at medium heat and allow for it to heat up
- Add sofrito to oil and sauté for a few minutes until the aromas start to be released. Add half of the tomato sauce can to skillet and mix with sofrito.
- Add in ground meat and mix with sofrito and tomato sauce.
- Once the meat starts releasing its juices add in the second half of the tomato sauce, all seasonings, and the 1 tsp of chicken bouillon.
- After the meat has been cooking in its juices for around 15 minutes and is mostly cooked, turn the heat up to med-high to let the extra liquid dry out.
- Allow the meat to sear on the dry skillet for a few minutes and remove from heat.