Rés Guisada (Braised Beef)

Carne de rés guisada (Braised beef)

Thanks to all those childhood years spent watching imported Mexican television shows, I learned early that cantinas were bars, something to do with moustachioed bandidos with big sombreros drinkingtequila and drawing pistols with lightning-fast speed. Had it not been for these countless hours of, hmm… er, “educational” TV I would have made it to adulthood thinking that the word cantina always referred to the then-ubiquitous aluminum stacked lunch box in which our weekend lunch of rice, beans and res guisada (braised beef) arrived from the local fonda.

Known also as “miner’s lunchbox” and “tiffin lunch boxes”, they have been used worldwide for a long time. Regardless of who we should credit for the invention of such a magnificent piece of equipment, the fact remains that we made it our own.

Rés guisada (Braised beef)

Long before anyone came up with the idea of mass-producing Styrofoam plates, food “para llevar” was served in cantinas. Each family had one, its size depending on how big the family was. “Fondas” (Dominican mom ‘n pops restaurants, now usually called ‘comedores’) would have a list of customers that ate their fare everyday — or as was our case, on weekends. It goes without saying that what was on offer was none other than La Bandera Dominicana.

Every morning, customers would drop off their cantinas (which, for convenience, had the family name painted on top) and would pick it up sometime before noon. The delicious lunch would arrive served in strict order: habichuelas at the bottom, meat in the middle and rice and fritos verdes and salad on top. The ultimate convenience.

Carne de rés guisada (Braised beef)

In this age of disposables the venerable cantina is now considered déclassé, a pity really, as proven by the mountains of Styrofoam plates flung everywhere, creating more and more pollution and waste.

It is refreshing to know, however, that at least in small Dominican towns cantinas are still alive and well.

Carne de rés guisada (Braised beef)

On the days when Aunt Clara’s Kitchen is closed we buy our lunch in the neighborhood fonda (although nobody calls them that nowadays, perish the thought). I think I am going to start taking my cantina from now on, for the sake of the environment.

Who knows, I might start a new trend. The worse that could happen is that my friends won’t want to be seen in my company as I carry my cantina with pride.

Buen provecho!

Aunt Clara
Carne de Rés Guisada (Dominican Braised Beef)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Res Guisada is one of the components of the traditional Dominican meal: La Bandera Dominicana (The Dominican Flag). As it is part of the everyday lunch it's usually prepared with tougher (cheaper) cuts of meat. Its preparation is a bit long as the meat has to become tender by a long cooking process.
Serves: 6 servings
  • 2 lbs of beef (round or skirt) cut into small pieces.
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • A pinch of sun-dried oregano
  • A pinch of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (corn, canola or peanut)
  • 1 red onion cut into slices
  • 2 tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into small pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 sprig of cilantro, chopped
  1. Rinse the meat with cold water and add the lime.
  2. Season with oregano, pepper and salt.
  3. In a pot heat the oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the beef and brown.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and simmer over medium heat until the meat is very tender (it may take from 30-60 minutes), adding water by the tablespoon when necessary.
  6. Add onion, tomatoes, pepper and garlic, cover and and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through, adjust water if necessary.
  7. Add the tomato sauce and half a cup of water, simmer over low heat to produce a light sauce. Add the cilantro.
  8. Serve with arroz blanco, a side dish (or salad) and beans.
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{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Amy Kiefer November 16, 2014, 7:50 PM

    We go to the DR 2x’s a year and love Dominican food. I would love to be able to make it back here in the states. I tried this recipe and my house here smelled just like our house in Santiago. Better yet the Carne de Rez Guisada was awesome and my husband loved it! Thank you!!!!

  • Cynthia Rice September 18, 2014, 8:52 PM

    I’m Dominican and now living in a suburb of IL (originally from NYC – Dominican Mecca)… not many of us out here. I’ve mastered the pollo guisao based on your recipe and am so excited to now try the carne de res guisa’. Wish me luck.

  • Ambar March 8, 2014, 10:12 AM

    Thank you!!!!! I’m Dominican and I love the food but I don’t know how to cook nor do I like cooking… “Dominican Cooking” is my must-go place before my husband and I embark in any cooking adventure! Aunt Clara makes us look as if we were professional chefs!! We love you! :)

  • Virginia March 24, 2012, 10:44 AM


    Can a slow cooker be used for this recipe? and Don't we usually add potatoes and carrots to carne guisada?

    • Aunt Clara March 24, 2012, 4:00 PM

      I have never seen it like that, but it wouldn't surprise me that some people have other versions of it.

  • Janet Rivera January 17, 2012, 10:32 PM


    What do you mean by "When the meat is tender reduce water". Can you be a bit more specific please?

    Thank you

    • Aunt Ilana January 18, 2012, 4:11 AM

      Hi Janet, thanks for your question. It means to remove the lid (increasing the heat slightly if necessary) so that some of the liquid evaporates without letting it get too dry.

      • Janet January 18, 2012, 7:13 AM

        Thank you:)

  • Victoria January 10, 2011, 1:49 PM

    It would be very helpful if the preparation and cooking time of this recipe as well as all the other recipes on this site were mentioned.

    • Aunt Clara January 10, 2011, 1:52 PM

      Hi Victoria,

      We used to have the cooking times in the old format. For now check the category list to check recipes by the cooking time.