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Aug 15, 2011 09:20 AM

Tacos de guisado (moved from Mexico board)

On a recent trip to Mexico, I became hooked on the tacos de guisado made each day at a local panaderia. My husband (who grew up in Mexico) tried to explain to me the concept of guisado. The best he could do was to say,"They are what your mother would make" (which didn't fully work since my Mother was not Mexican!). We finally settled on a working definition of them being a sort of comfort dish made of whatever your mother would have on hand. Can anyone clarify what "guisado" means?

I've been to Mexico many times and have seen the term in many contexts, and I always understood it to mean "of the day", so it is whatever the cook had decided to make that day. When I look online, I'm seeing definitions such as "beef casserole", which clearly is insufficient, though other blogs do have some nice descriptions.

But is there a working definition that anyone can provide?

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  1. Guisado refers to stews and braised dishes. Here are some photos from Super Cocina in San Diego, CA that specializes in making home-style guisados.

    1. Thank heavens- I originally misread this as "Tacos de Gusano"- but yeah, "Guisado" just means stew in Portuguese, in Spanish too evidently. Anyway, glad to have a name for my taco filling besides "just winging it".

          1. I grew up eating my Mom's guisado and I think your friend has a point when he said, "They are what your mother would make". It's stew- slowly simmered, inexpensive cuts of beef, green chiles (we eat New Mexico chiles fresh or frozen ourselves, never, ever canned), potatoes, onions, tomatoes in a beef stock and the rest is up to you. You can use some tomatillos, cactus, carrots, throw in some hominy, season with your favorite red chile powder, garlic, oregano, cumin, and finish with some cilantro or tortilla strips. There are probably a million variations. I have never heard of a guisado taco- sounds freaking awesome, though! We eat it with tortillas on the side.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LorenM

              They were freaking awesome, and in Mexico City they are pretty common. The place we went to get them many days would have a selection of 8 or 10 different 'stews' to choose from. My favorite was a stewed pollo en mole rojo (the pollo was shredded and very tender), but there were also ones with chicharron, lengua, cochinita, lengua, salchicha, etc. - all in different base sauces. Really great tacos.

            2. It is most similar to brasserie or stewing. It is just a way of cooking, typically done with leftovers or what you have on hand because like battering and frying, if you stew something long enough with enough spices it will taste pretty good.