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Liliana’s Asado Negro from Venezuela

asado negro venezuela

”Asado negro is one of the most typical dishes in Venezuela,” says Liliana Hernández, one of our favorite Venezuelan homecooks. The Chicago area-based home cook makes this festive beef for special occasions.

This is her mother’s recipe for asado negro . ”I first learned to make this about 25 years ago when I was still living in my native Venezuela. I remember calling her and she gave it to me over the phone, from her memory. It was not very detailed in terms of quantities—I still have the piece of paper where I wrote down the ingredients she dictated to me . So I had to make it many times over the years, adjusting how much of this, of that, and tasting as I went until I arrived at this version. This is exactly how I remember it tasting when I was growing up. This is the recipe for my mother’s asado negro—a true blessing.”

It is made made from what they call in Venezuela a “muchacho redondo” or eye of round, a lean cut that benefits from low and slow cooking. In this case, it is seared and caramelized with pilloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar that is liquified and poured into molds). Piloncillo is also called: papelón, piloncillo, panela and rapadura.

The so-tender-it-falls-apart-in-your-mouth beef is then sliced and served with a caramelized brown sauce that is very, very dark—but not burnt, although it looks like it is, says Liliana. ”Honestly, you can’t tell from the way it looks how delicious it is. But it is!

“Everyone in Venezuela loves asado negro.”


Traditionally, asado negro is served with a side of Venezuelan-style white rice and sweet tajadas or ripe plantains sliced on the diagonal and shallow fried, says Liliana. ”My mother also served this with ensalada rusa or russian potato and beets salad, to which she adds whatever vegetables she has in her refrigerator.” But rice and plantains are the must-haves.

So Festive, It’s Even Made During Christmas

Asado negro is not a plato típico navideño—a typical Christmas dish, explains Liliana, but many familias decide to make this festive dish during the season, to celebrate being together.

The traditionally Christmas dinner to make in Venezuela is hallacas (the Venezuelan version of tamales)—first and foremostly. (If you have never heard of hallacas, they are made with the same type of toasted corn flour as arepas, stuffed with a filling made with beef, hen or pork, wrapped in banana leaves, and steamed. They take a couple days to make—so are a family affair, as stuffed corn masa dishes across so many Latino countries tend to be—whether you call them hallacas, tamales, pasteles, humitas or something else. Keep an eye out for Liliana’s family recipe for Venezuelan hallacas, coming soon to Familia Kitchen and definitely before Christmas!)

Other Venezuelan holiday table go-tos are: pernil; pavo or turkey; pan de jamón—a type of bread stuffed with ham, olives and raisins; and Christmas chicken salad with diced carrots and peas.

But this asado negro is so delicious, it has snuck its way into the celebratory menu options, says Liliana.
High praise for this rich dish that is a traditional favorite.

”My family gets very happy when I make asado negro. They love it,” says Liliana. She loves making it too. It tastes like childhood for her, her mother’s cooking. And now she is imprinting it onto her sons’ food memories and palate as a dish they too will forever associate with growing up. This asado negro will remind them of home, too.

For more of Liliana’s traditional Venezuelan dishes, try her amazing coconuty-delicious bienmesabe cake, handmade arepas, and her arepas filled with reina pepiada or carne mechada. Plus, coming soon: ensalada Rusa, put-on-everything bright-green guasacaca sauce for meat and chicken dishes, and Christmas hallacas with pork.

Intrigued? For a step-by-step guide to making this asado negro, check out Liliana on her YouTube channel Mi Show de Cocina where she is working my way through favorite Venezuelan dishes.

Ready to try Liliana’s asado negro for your next family feast?

Liliana’s Asado Negro from Venezuela

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Liliana Hernández Cuisine: Venezuelan
Servings

8 to 10

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

3

hours 

20

minutes

Ingredients

  • 4.5 lbs 4.5 eye of round beef or “muchacho redondo“

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 olive oil or vegetable oil, to sear the meat

  • 1 cup 1 piloncillo or papelón (unrefined whole cane sugar), in small pieces

  • 1 1 onion, minced

  • 1/2 1/2 red or green bell pepper, chopped

  • 2 cups 2 tomatoes, chopped and seeds removed (blanche and remove the skin, if you have time)

  • 2 2 bay leaves

  • 3 tsp 3 salt, or to taste

  • 2 cups 2 red wine

  • For the Adobo or Marinade
  • 1 Tbsp 1 salt

  • 1 tsp 1 black pepper

  • 1 cup 1 onion, minced

  • 6 cloves 6 garlic, grated or pressed

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 oregano

  • 2 Tbsp 2 olive oil or vegetable oil

Directions

  • The Day Before: Marinate the Beef
  • Mix the marinade ingredients together.
  • Place the beef in a bowl and thoroughly cover it with the marinade.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • Sear the Beef
  • Let the marinated beef sit on your counter for about 1 hour to reach room temperature. Remove as much of the marinade as possible from the meat and set aside for later use in your sauce.
  • On medium-high heat in a heavy pan or Dutch oven, warm the oil. Sear the meat on all sides, starting with the section that has a nice juicy layer of fat. It will take about 5 minutes to sear this first side. Turn the meat and sear the other sides, about 3 minutes each, until the beef is golden brown all over.
  • Stir in the piloncillo pieces and let them dissolve in the hot oil.
  • Roll the meat in the sugar and oil mixture so that it is fully covered on all sides. Remove the meat and set aside.
  • Lower the heat to medium. Add the wine and deglaze the pan’s caramelized-oil mixture and brown bits. Reduce the sauce for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Make the Sauce
  • Stir the leftover marinade set aside earlier into the caramelized wine sauce.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients: onion, bell pepper, tomato, bay leaves and salt. Stir the mixture until all ingredients are well combined.
  • Return the meat to the pan, cover, and lower the heat to simmer.
  • Cook the Roast
  • Cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours.
  • Check the water level every 30 to 40 minutes to make sure the liquid is bathing the sides of meat and keeping it moist. Add a little bit of water or beef broth as needed to keep the liquid high enough. (Alternative: if you prefer to use a pressure cooker, as Liliana does, pour the sauce from the pan into your cooker. Add the meat and a little bit of water, cover and cook for 45 to 60 minutes.)
  • You’ll know the meat is ready when it is fully tender. Take the meat out of your pan or pressure cooker, tent with foil and set aside.
  • Strain the Sauce
  • Strain the pan sauce through a colander. Remove the solid vegetables and set aside.
  • Return the silky smooth sauce to the pan and continue to reduce on very low heat.
  • Place the strained vegetable solids in a blender. Add ½ cup of the pan sauce and pulse until the mixture is smooth.
  • Return the blended sauce to your pan. Stir and let the sauce reduce for a few final minutes while you slice the meat.
  • Slice and Serve Your Asado Negro
  • With a sharp carving knife, cut the asado into 1/2-inch slices. Do this carefully to keep the tender pieces intact.
  • Return the slices to your pan and let them fully soak in the beautifully reduced, thick brown-black sauce.
  • Gently line up the slices of asado negro on your serving plate. Spoon a generous amount of the black-brown sauce over them. Serve hot—with Venezuelan-style white rice and sweet, fried ripe-plantain tajadas.

Notes

  • Plan ahead when making this festive beef dish so loved in Venezuela. The meat will need to marinated in the fridge for a full 24 hours before you start cooking.
  • You want the meat to be nicely seared and brown-black—but not burnt, or your asado negro will have a bitter flavor.
asado negro 2
You can see Liliana make her mother’s recipe for asado negro step by step on her YouTube cooking show, Mi Show de Cocina where she is working my way through favorite Venezuelan dishes.

Photo: Michelle Ezratty Murphy

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