New Year's Eve supper: Carne con papas

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano
Congresswoman Grace Napolitano Kitty Felde/KPCC

A lot of folks celebrate a low-key New Year's Eve at home with friends and family. Looking for a cozy family meal to serve before midnight? We coaxed an old family recipe out of a Southland Congresswoman.

Tamales are the traditional holiday food in most Mexican American families. Congresswoman Grace Napolitano says she doesn’t have time to make them anymore. But during the holiday break, when she’s surrounded by children and grandchildren, the Democrat from Norwalk gets out the big cooking pots.

"Maybe I’ll make the rice and beans, I may make soup, I may make Carne con Papas, which is my children’s favorite," Napolitano said.

Literally, that's meat and potatoes, but Napolitano says it's a basic Mexican stew.

"It’s finger licking good. Let me tell you, I have to make the big pots because one is not big enough for my family," she said.

An alternative to champagne this New Years Eve? The Congresswoman recommends Mexican hot chocolate – the kind with the cinnamon. She uses the brand that comes in “hockey pucks” that you melt in hot milk.

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano's Carne con Papas

Find your coffee grinder. Put in and grind:
¾ tsp Cumin
½ tsp Black pepper

Next: Get 2 lbs meat – any variety, though the tougher the cut, the longer you have to cook it. Cut into bite-size one inch cubes.
(You can also substitute ground beef, which you break up with a wooden spoon)

Put some lard or bacon drippings in a pan, over medium heat, and add the meat to brown.

Add 1 tsp garlic salt

Once browned, add 1 bunch green onions, minced.

Mash 8-10 garlic gloves in a blender with just a little water until they are a paste, then add your ground spices. Add to the browned meat and onions.

Add 4 cans chicken broth and some water and 1 large serving spoon of chicken bouillon powder. Add 1 medium size can Hunts tomato sauce.

Simmer for an hour, covered, until the meat is nice and tender.

Then add 10 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes.

Simmer on low.

If you like more of a stew than a soup, continue to cook until the potatoes fall apart and make a thick broth.

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