If you visit Costa Rica, it’s a must that you try its special dish called olla de carne or its own version of the traditional beef stew. It’s a mixture of special local ingredients such as corn, cassava, and taro root. The result? A filling stew that has a unique flavor.

For this recipe, it yields 12 servings and the cooking time is 1 hour. Below are the ingredients and instructions.

How to Make Olla De Carne

Main Ingredients

8 cups water

2 pounds lean beef

1 cup potato

1 pound cassava, peeled

1 pound carrots

5 corn on the cob

1 pound taro roots, peeled

1 pound sweet potato

3 green plantains, peeled

Salt to taste

Of course, the star of this recipe is beef. To give that rich flavor, combine 1 pound lean beef and 1 pound lean beef short ribs, all cut into 3/4 inch pieces.

Corn is usually an important staple in Central and South America, which explains why it’s included in this dish. Meanwhile, the plantains make the stew more filling to hungry eaters.

All stew begins with carrots, providing that new element and rich flavor. Sweet potatoes offer a sweet flavor while the cassava offers that unique flavor. The starchiness of the taro root also provides a slightly sweet flavor to the stew.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • With a knife, cut the potato, cassava and taro roots into bite-sized pieces. Cut the corn and green plantains into 3-inch pieces.
  • In a saucepan, heat water over medium-high heat.
  • Add the salt and beef and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Add the carrots, corn, plantains, and cassava and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes have passed, add the taro roots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
  • Cover the saucepan and cook for another 25 minutes until all vegetables are cooked.
  • Serve and enjoy with a bowl of rice.

Many people I know serve olla de carne with a sweeter side dish to balance the flavor. Fried foods, such as yucca or nampi are great accompaniments of this dish. You can also serve the stew with beans.

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